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Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson (Book Review)

Title: Christmas at Harrington's
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell/Baker Publishing Group


My synopsis:  Lena Markham had just gotten out of prison after serving an 8 year sentence for a crime that she didn't commit.  She had been convicted of embezzling from her church's missionary fund - where she was the accountant and the pastor's wife. After being arrested, she listened to her husband when he told her that he was handling it and that she would be released soon - she even signed over her grandmother's inheritance when he said he needed it to set up the real embezzlers.  Turns out he was the real embezzler and he let her take the fall - and then ran off with the church's money AND her inheritance.

Not wanting to return to her hometown - where she no longer had any family or friends, her social worker arranges for her a place to stay in New Haven, Minnesota - as well as a job at Harrington's - the local department store.  Upon arriving at Harrington's, she is told there are no jobs and that people have actually been laid off.  But she seems to be having some luck, as Ms. Harrington and her daughter Cassidy are just leaving.  When Cassidy sees her, she thinks Lena would make a perfect Mrs. Santa - an idea she dreamed about just a few weeks before.

Things go well for about a week, and then a woman from Lena's hometown comes in with her daughter to see Mrs. Santa.  She recognizes Lena and it isn't long before she has spread the word that Lena is a convicted felon and shouldn't be allowed to work with children. Ms. Harrington has no choice but to fire her, or risk loss of business due to bad publicity. 

My thoughts:  This is a great story for Christmastime!  It is also a great story about forgiveness when someone has done something wrong - and how Jesus will forgive us also, as well as telling the truth - even if it hurts.  It is a very quick read at only 167 pages, and it truly is a feel-good story.  It made me so angry when people immediately were against Lena when they found out that she was an ex-con.  Made me wonder how I treated people if I knew something negative about their past. I really liked the way that Lena wove together Jesus' birth with Santa during a storytime she was asked to do at the library.  It was also a good lesson to not gloss over the real reason of Christmas, even for young children - that they CAN understand about Jesus' birth and that He is the reason for the season!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Donna at Baker Publishing.~

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody's website at www.melodycarlson.com.

“Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”




Christmas at Harrington's
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, Nov 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1925-8
167 pages

1 comment:

tracysbooknook.com said...

I thought Christmas at Harrington’s was a charming little read. Melody Carlson is a truly heart-warming author.

You can see my thoughts on this book here:
www.tracysbooknook.com

-Tracy

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