Series or Stand Alone: Book five in the Christmas Hope series
Release Date: October 2009
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Author Site: http://donnavanliere.com/
My Rating: 5/5
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Synopsis: [from donnavanliere.com]
When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love. Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she’s often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she’s forced to use. When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious “Christy.” Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is “above” working at Wilson’s. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for. The Christmas Secret is a novel for anyone who wants to see how love is a gift that keeps giving back; that hope is a treasure that never runs dry, and that faith is a miracle that is reborn with each new day.
Earlier this year I read and reviewed a non-fiction book titled Finding Grace that Donna VanLiere wrote. I enjoyed Donna's "voice" and the style in which she wrote but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed her fiction writing as well. I suppose you could classify her books as Christian/Inspirational reads. I myself have never really gravitated toward the genre. However, reading THE CHRISTMAS SECRET was honestly just a lot of fun and it gave me a nice and, yes even warm feeling when I finished the last page. I was totally immersed in the characters and their lives and I'm definitely going to be catching up on this Christmas Hope series.
Another genre I don't really read is Holiday books and there's no real reason why. I've just never been that interested in being uplifted and such with a book or even movies during the Holiday season. Call me Scrooge =) So THE CHRISTMAS SECRET surprised me again when it never once bothered me that the story was based around the Christmas season and even had an uplifting message at the end.
The story is about Christine Eisley, a young single mother of two small children just trying to get by each day. She works as a waitress doing the best she can to provide for Zach and Haley while trying to avoid any confrontation with her ex-husband. A real gem, he seems to have nothing better to do than harrass Christine and use their children as pawns to make their lives difficult. Add in the fact that he never pays child support and you've got yourself an ex-husband that was born to make life miserable.
After an elderly woman has a heart-attack in front of Christine's house, Christine gets fired from her job for once again being late to work. To make matters worse, her landlord decides that now is a good time to tell her that she will have to move out soon since she is so behind in her rent. What more could go wrong right before Christmas??
Meanwhile Jason Wilson is struggling to find a job in the accounting world and reluctantly accepts a sales job offered to him by his grandfather who owns a department store. Right back in his home town, Jason feels that his new job is beneath him and his grandfather sets out to fix Jason's attitude problem and teach him what life should really be about. Jason is given the task to find the mysterious "Christy" woman who saved his grandfather's bookeeper after she had a heart attack. This mission turns out to be much more than Jason could have imagined.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed seeing all the intricate and delightful twists and turns in the plot that Donna provided for her characters. I remember smiling quite a lot and even feeling my heart break for Christine and her troubles. But as I said before, all is not lost... Donna didn't let me down after making me fall in love with her characters. Warm and endearing, THE CHRISTMAS SECRET will stay with you for some time after you turn the last page.