Book Review: Christmas at Harrington’s
Written by Melody Carlson
Reviewed by Nora St Laurent –
Back Cover: Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life after false accusations landed her in prison, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret? This tender story about fresh starts will charm readers as all of Melody Carlson’s Christmas offerings do. Full of redemption and true holiday spirit, Christmas at Harrington’s will be readers’ newest Christmas tradition.
Review: Since I’m a huge Melody Carlson fan, I was thrilled to receive this review copy of Christmas at Harrington’s. Melody knows how to tell a story to prepare your heart and mind for Christmas. Reading this book is the perfect way to start the holiday season. This novel opens with Lena Markham heading to New Haven for a fresh start.
Lena quickly adjusts to this new town and finds herself helping out a neighbor by watching her daughter, Jemima, as she looks for a job. Lena discovers an unexpected job herself as Mrs. Santa for Harrington’s Dept store. Who’d-a–thought, her new life would begin as Santa’s wife. Not what she had planned, but the pay wasn’t bad and it was the only job in town.
As Lena played Mrs. Santa, she listened to the children and their Christmas wishes. She adored the children. Lena’s numb heart started to feel again. She realized, “Even though some people kicked me down, there where a lot who didn’t.” There are good people, many encouraged her even when they found out about her past. Lena was heart broken and lost her desire to fight for what mattered to her most in life.
When Lena told the Christmas story to Jemima and the kids, the message and hope was touching their hearts and hers. Lena said, “Santa has asked me to come here and talk to you, to remind you about Jesus’ birthday…I had told you earlier about how it’s impossible to be good all the time, remember?…God understands that. And that’s why he sent his Son to forgive us and teach us to forgive others. Doesn’t it feel good when someone forgives you for making a mistake?…So Santa and I want you to remember that when you’re thinking about Christmas.”
I love Melody Carlson and the stories she writes, and this one is no exception. Melody has unforgettable characters that I cared about from the beginning and the story line got my attention as it was very unusual. I had to see where all this would be leading. I hurt for Lena and the spiritual journey she had been on up until this point. It was heart breaking and fascinating all at the same time. This author has a unique way of writing a story that the reader can connect with, and then leave like they’ve just spent time with good friends. This is a meaningful, touching story that will become your families’ favorite; you’ll want to read it again and share with friends. Thanks Melody, for a story that touches the heart and shows the love we need to show each other all year long…not just at Christmas!
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