By Melody Carlson
First published: 2006 by Revell
Read: 30 Nov - 1 Dec 2012
The people of Christmas Valley always celebrate Christmas to the fullest extent. The mayor plays Santa, every business is holiday themed, and there's a nativity for the kids each Christmas Eve. This town knows Christmas. But this year nothing goes according to plan. Shepherd's Inn is full of strangers, Mad Myrtle is causing problems, and a young couple with a baby due any minute rolls in to the middle of town in their Partridge Family-style bus. It's hardly the holiday Christmas Valley wanted--but it may be just what they need. This charming novella is sure to become a new Christmas tradition for readers who love a great holiday story.
This was such a delightful little Christmas story! In many ways it reminded me of the Harmony series by Philip Gulley which I love, with its small-town charm and quirky characters. It's the perfect way to spend a few relaxing hours in this otherwise stressful holiday month.
The main character is Edith, the pastor's wife who runs Shepherd's Inn. This year none of the couple's grown children are coming home for Christmas, so Edith decides to keep the inn open over Christmas in the hopes of making the holidays feel less lonely. Before long the inn is filled with guests, the most notable being old Myrtle, who's set on stirring things up in Christmas Valley.
Yes, the story is somewhat predictable and because it's so short we don't get to know some of the characters as well as others. But it's still an engaging story and it almost had me in tears towards the end. I admit to being a big softie at this time of year but I really enjoyed this tale and I wouldn't mind spending more time in Christmas Valley, perhaps during another season.
I've never read anything by this prolific author before, but this certainly won't be the last book by her I read. In fact, I think I'll start Christmas at Harrington's right away.
Bottom line: A delightful Christmas story that I'm sure I will re-read for many holidays to come.
Melody Carlson online: Website