Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.
Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.
When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Four and a half stars: A delightful holiday tale that will warm your heart.
Lauren clocks out, finishing her shift at the grocery store. She has worked here for four years, but she doesn't really have friends, nor does she feel like she fits in. In fact, Lauren has never felt like she belonged. She has been in and out of foster homes since she was a little girl. Now the holiday season is here and the only thing Lauren wants for Christmas is to find a family of her own. One night after work, she takes an aimless drive in her car, ending up in Grandon, a small town an hour away. She witnesses a car accident that sets a chain of events in motion. Lauren soon finds herself volunteering at a center for young children, and unexpectedly making new friends. Will Lauren finally find her place?
What I Liked:
- The Christmas Town is a delightful book perfect for the holiday season. I adored the characters, the story, the cozy small town setting and all the feelings in this one. This is the feel good read of the season, one I would highly recommend for those who want a good holiday book.
- The characters make this book shine. I couldn't tell you who I loved the most. There is Ben, the sweet teenager with a disability who works as a bagger at the grocery store. Ben is special because he is kind, and he is determined to spread cheer to each and every person who comes through his line. Gloria and Miriam, two older ladies, who are best friends, completely cracked me up. I loved their antagonistic relationship and their big hearts, they made me giggle. Lauren is easy to like as well as she desperately searches for a place to call home. I adored the characters in this one.
- I loved that the story was all about kindness and goodwill toward fellow men. This is a tale all about people who give to others without strings or intentions of getting something in return. This is a perfect read for the holidays as it is a reminder of all we can do to help others, even if it is something simple like a kind note or word. I liked that this story was all about getting back to the basics at Christmas, and that it didn't focus at all on the Christmas chaos.
- I appreciated that this one was not a romance. There is a hint of a potential romance, but it doesn't completely develop. It was so refreshing to read a Christmas book that wasn't all about a Christmas romance. Instead this one was all about kindling new friendships. Definitely a different type of Christmas book.
- I loved the small town setting of Grandon. It was nice to encounter a small town where everyone tried to look out for one another, and it wasn't full of the gossip that you sometimes get in a small town setting. It was cozy and delightful.
- The ending was sweet and nice. Most of the story lines were done up and it ended at the perfect feel good moment. This is a great book to grab for a wintery afternoon when you need to kick back and take a break from the holiday craziness.
And The Not So Much:
- I was disappointed that there were a few smaller story lines that were never concluded. I was left wondering about the fate of Lauren's father, not that I really cared, but he was brought up a couple of times, and I thought something more would come of it, especially when Lauren drove by his old house. It was a strange undone part of the story. I was also curious as to what was up between Miriam and Travis? Finally, what happened with Lauren's mother that night?
- The ending was very fast, and I felt like it ending almost a bit abruptly. As I stated, I was left wondering about a few of the small story lines, and I wanted to see Lauren really get settled.
- There were a few times in the story where there were some aside interjections that had some religious undertones. They weren't anything that overtook the story or disrupted the story, but for those of you who don't like Christian books, this one has some slight religious undertones.
The Christmas Town is a nice, feel good read packed with holiday cheer and nice messages perfect for the holiday season. This is a book all about friendship and goodwill to others. I loved the characters and the themes. If you are wanting a good read for the Christmas season, this is one to try.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.