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?
What's one of the ways I know that the holiday season is soon upon us? By reading a Christmas novella from Melody Carlson. For the last few years, she's written a new Christmas read each year to help readers get into the holiday spirit. They've all been different but all achieve the same goal: bringing a little Christmas cheer and letting the reader know what is the true spirit of Christmas.
This was a sweet Christmas story. I thought it was a nice spin to focus on people who play Mrs. Claus as opposed to reading about Santas all the time. Reading about former FEMALE convicts is also a topic I rarely see talked about in Christian fiction so that was a nice change of pace. I enjoyed reading Lena's story and seeing how she made an impact in people's lives. Starting from her meeting a new friend on the bus to those at the house she is staying at, to the diner she ate at and the children she meets while working, Lena manages to touch the lives of everyone she meets. Even though she thinks lowly of herself, it's obvious that others don't feel that same way.
I was actually a bit surprised of the outcome that happened to Lena's ex-husband. I was totally prepared for him to get away with everything and for Lena to just have to keep suffering for all the wrong doings that had been subjected to her. It made me sad that her parents died before ever discovering the truth about what really happened. Even if she had made peace with herself, I wouldn't be surprised if Lena will always feel some hurt that her parents chose not to believe their own daughter.
Overall, this book is a sweet read. While a little predictable at times, I still enjoyed it mainly because it's written very well and I found myself sucked into the story. I wish that there could be more to the story and we could find out out what will happen to Lena in the future. For now, it's a great way to get into the holiday mood and also a fun way to give Mrs. Claus her due.
Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson is published by Revell (2010)
This review copy was provided by the publisher