Holiday Reviews

The Return of the Light

[openbook booknumber=”1569246173″][rating:3/5]

In The Return of the Light Carolyn McVickar Edwards assembles twelve legends, folktales and fairy tales told about the “return of light” that occurs at the winter solstice. I should have read this in December but when I came across it earlier this month I couldn’t help checking it out from the library. I wanted to know more about the roots of the older traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice before it was taken over by the Church. I didn’t really find that, but I did find several different takes from around the world on just what happens during the solstice, the shortest day of the year, and their explanations for why the sun goes away, and more importantly why it comes back after.

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A Christmas to Remember

[openbook booknumber=”0425211843″]

[rating:3/5]

Lillian Warwick is a curmudgeony old woman who suffers a bad fall and is forced into the care of her daughters and granddaughter. After the fall she finds herself reliving old memories of times gone by and remembers her own history and past mistakes. Will acknowledging the pain in her past allow her to acknowledge the reality of her future? Lucy Bates is a nurse in training at the hospital where Lillian was admitted. She too has some big decisions ahead of her as she struggles with thoughts of quitting nursing school and going back to waitressing full time. She isn’t helped in this by her less than supportive husband, who undercuts her commitment and confidence at every turn. But, with the coming of the Christmas season and following New Year both of these women, and their families undergo a transformation worthy of the spirit of the holiday season.

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The Christmas Blessing

[openbook booknumber=”1591451310″]

[rating:1/5]

This book is a sequel to the New York Times Bestseller The Christmas Shoes. I had no problems picking up the storyline though as it cut back and did back story constantly throughout The Christmas Blessing to cover pertinent areas for this new book. The book is about the star of The Christmas Shoes a little boy named Nathan that wanted to buy shoes for his mother dying of cancer. In The Christmas Blessing Nathan is now all grown up and, in the wake of his mother’s death, is now a third year medical student and is facing some difficult decisions. He is wondering if this is really his calling, and is having a tough time during a rotation in cardiology at a nearby hospital. While there he meets a young woman who has conquered her health problems, or so she thinks, and a little boy dying of them. Can these two give him the hope he needs to push towards his dreams?

As a warning, I will say that this turned out to be a Christian novel, with a lot of discussions of faith, some bible quotes, and prayer. Some people like to know these things before getting into a book. So, consider yourself warned. It wasn’t enough to turn me off of the book, at least not the Christian angle alone, though I will say I did find a lot of the arguments and discussions about faith and death to fall terribly flat. It was preaching to the choir.

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Skipping Christmas

[openbook booknumber=”0385505833″]

[rating:4/5]

Nora and Luther Krank are sick of celebrating Christmas. Well, Luther is, and he talks Nora into his point of view. They are tired of the crass commercialism, the crowds, the yelling, the stress, and the exorbitant price ($6,100!) of celebrating Christmas. So, when their daughter Blair leaves for a year to join the Peace Corp Luther decides they are going to skip Christmas. And, to talk his wife into it, he sweetens the pot by saying that instead they will save their money and, at half the cost, go on a cruise that sets sail Christmas Day.

So while everyone else eats too much turkey, ham, duck and more the Kranks go on a diet. While everyone else is racing around the mall stressing about shopping and gifts and last minute deadlines, the Kranks take naps in tanning booths, preparing for ten long days in the Caribbean sun. While their neighbors decorate and string up lights and lug forty pound light up Frosty’s onto their roofs, the Kranks sit back in front of the fire and relax. Their neighbors are shocked and stunned, some outraged, others jealous and consequences soon start to arise. The Kranks soon discover that skipping Christmas might not be so easy to do after all.

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