Sunday, December 6, 2009

Review: The Christmas Secret

Summary: 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. -- St. Martins Press

I hope you aren't getting tired of all of the Christmas books that I've been reading and reviewing, but I just finished another one and I really, really liked it -- THE CHRISTMAS SECRET by Donna VanLiere. Maybe I was just in the mood since I read it on my bus trip to New York to see the Rockettes, but I don't think so. I absolutely loved his novel and it was the perfect read for this time of year.

THE CHRISTMAS SECRET tells the story of a young mother, Christine, who doesn't seem to have much going right in her life lately. She is a single mother of two very cute kids, but her ex-husband is a dead-beat dad; and she is struggling to keep her job and pay the bills. When she is late for work yet again (this time because she stops to help an unconscious woman), she loses her job and then gets evicted from her apartment. She has no one to help her watch her children, and she doesn't even have any money for Christmas gifts. It's a pretty pitiful existence for Christine to say the least!

Now, I don't want to make it sound like this is a depressing story because it really wasn't. Of course, my heart went out to Christine and her children, but I think all of their problems just made the ending that much sweeter! Throughout the course of the book, Christine realizes that there are many kind and generous people who come to her aid (there are even a few secret ones!) She also begins to realize a lot about herself, her faith and her family. It is just a very sweet story that made me feel all happy inside!

There are many supporting characters in this book that I also liked including Mr. Wilson, the owner of the department store, Betty, the owner of a cafe, and Gloria and Miriam. However, I think I most liked Mr. Wilson's grandson Jason -- although that wasn't always the case. When the book begins, Jason is an arrogant man who thinks he is too good to be working in his grandfather's store. I liked how he grew up and became a real man; and I also loved how he realized what's really important in life.

I can't recommend THE CHRISTMAS SECRET enough if you are looking for a feel-good Christmas book! I loved the story and and the characters, and I can definitely say that this book touched my heart. Since I enjoyed this novel so much, I am planning on going back and reading Ms. VanLiere's Christmas book trilogy -- THE CHRISTMAS SHOES, THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING, and THE CHRISTMAS HOPE. I have heard so many good things about Ms. VanLiere's books, and I want to see for myself!

And if you don't have time to read all of these wonderful Christmas books during the busy holiday season, I have another option for you. The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing and The Christmas Hope have all been made into movies and will be shown on December 13, 2009 on Lifetime! I am definitely setting my Tivo! Here's the schedule:

4:00: The Christmas Shoes
6:00: The Christmas Blessing (Acquired - LMN Premiere - one telecast only)
8:00: Christmas Hope (Premiere)
10:00: The Christmas Shoes (encore)
12:00am: Christmas Hope (encore)

You can also visit Lifetime's website for a giveaway of THE CHRISTMAS SECRET!

Thanks to Anna from Authors on the Web for sending me a copy of this book.


Sandy Nawrot said...

What a wonderful sounding book! I'm not always in the mood for these types, but is really what you need this time of year!

bermudaonion said...

I just love stories like that - especially this time of year. I'm also totally jealous, that you went to see the Rockettes in New York and that you can read while riding a bus.

Jenny Girl said...

I am not normally into holiday books, but this sounds wonderful. A nice uplifting read. Thanks Julie.

Are you sick of Christmas books yet? lol

Anonymous said...

I never get tired of Christmas stories!

Tami said...

I enjoyed this book, too. I'm not usually a fan of sappy-sweet stories, but you just have to have a few at Christmas. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

I got a screener of The Christmas Hope. Okay. I really like Madeleine Stowe though so it was nice to see her doing something. Nice story. Obviously very Lifetime.