The Christmas Portrait by Phyllis Clark Nichols (Charisma House)
The Christmas Portrait describes how a 10-year-old girl encounters the first Christmas after her mother’s death. Told from a child’s poignant-yet-resilient perspective, longtime Texas Baptist Phyllis Clark Nichols’ lovely novel is layered, subtle and profound.
Children will adore the book’s vivid imagery, family warmth and will-she-or-won’t-she mystery. Young Kate Harding, the narrator, offers a child’s-eye view of hard situations and eternal uncertainties that perplex even grownups. She also provides a child-sized heroine—a compelling proxy for children learning to consider loss, disappointment, hope and courage.
Adults will appreciate these themes as well, but view them from a different plane. They will recall themselves as children as they enjoy Kate’s paradoxical uncertainty and optimism. They also will relate to the adults in this story who each come to grips with their own sense of loss in the death of Kate’s mother—their wife, daughter and sister.
All readers will revel in Kate’s plucky resolve and generous compassion. This book is destined to become a Christmas classic that accompanies readers through the holidays and leads them into the New Year pondering the strength of faith, family and future.
Marv Knox, editor