What else would I be reading this week but a heartwarming Christmas story? I won this book from the author by commenting on a blog post and couldn't wait to start it. I've previously read "Mulberry Park" the first novel set in the fictional town of Fairbrook, and loved it.
Judy Duarte writes wonderful Christian romances. Or maybe they're women's fiction with strong romantic elements. Regardless of what genre you classify them in, they're stories of families and love and faith. They're books that, like "It's a Wonderful Life", are filled with hokey good things. And, just like I watch "It's a Wonderful Life" at least once every Christmas, I love reading stories by Judy Duarte.
In this book, we follow the stories of a number of characters. There's Carly, a single mom with two boys and serious financial trouble. Josh is troubled by the problems of growing up and having to take care of his younger brother, Mikey. He'd rather hang out with his friends. There's Lynette, who tries to play matchmaker for Carly, but finds herself attracted to the very man she's picked out for Carly. Grant isn't particularly interested in a relationship, but agrees to the date with Carly. Susan is just looking for any man so she won't be alone. She has her eye on Grant as well, but Max, the other bachelor in the neighborhood, would also work for her. Max, whose wife left him, has taken a year's leave of absence from his job as a probation officer to write a novel. He writes nights and sleeps days and is seen as a bit odd since when he does come out of his house during the day, it's usually in his bathrobe. And there's Maggie, the cousin who has shown up to watch Helen's house while she's away on a cruise, and touches the lives of all of the characters by her gentle suggestions.
We follow these people through their ups and downs and learn to care about them as they care about and for one another. It's a story of Christmas wishes and the power of prayer. And the perfect read for the week before Christmas.