Book Reviews

Posted: 12/15/06

Book Reviews

The Christmas Angel by Katherine Duhon, (Vantage Press)

In this children’s book, Katherine Duhon relates the story of a typical brother and sister eagerly waiting for Santa. Except this year, Milly and Tommy must see the bearded gift-giver in person. They want Saint Nick to bring back their momma’s smile after their daddy’s death.

When the jolly fellow fails to appear, the young boy and girl don coats, caps, mittens and muffs, and slip out to search for Santa. The two lose their way as the snow slows their steps and the wind whistles through the trees. But God’s Christmas angel helps the children learn a lesson in patience and the healing of time.

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Black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations of the wide-eyed children add interest to The Christmas Angel, a story of love, hope and the magic of Christmas.

Once Upon a Christmas by Lauraine Snelling and Lenora Worth, (Steeple Hill)

The cover of Once Upon a Christmas suggests the perfect way to enjoy two romantic novellas—curled up in front of a twinkling tree sipping rich hot chocolate or spicy tea. In “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Lauraine Snelling introduces single graphic artist Blythe Stensrude, who’s ready to remove the holidays from her calendar. Busy with burgeoning business, Blythe hasn’t the time even for de-signing her church’s Christmas program as promised. However, Harley, the only male in her life, has other ideas. The dog has his eye on Matty, and the two bassets manage to introduce their masters via tangled leashes. Just when the blossoming relationship be-tween Blythe and Thane Davidson seems destined for a merry Christmas, Thane becomes guardian of his 3-year-old niece. Readers agonize with Blythe as she struggles to overcome her fear of motherhood to grasp the love God sent.

Lenora Worth sets the shorter selection, “’T’was the Week before Christmas,” in the Louisiana bayous. Matriarch Betty Jean Melancon, a former state senator who raised five sons and has 14 grandsons, dotes on her only granddaughter. Elise Rachelle Melancon arrives early at the family estate to help her widowed grandmother prepare for the family gathering. But Mamere has a different project in mind—polishing a handsome local to win back his gone-off-to-LSU-and-gotten-too-good-for-him girlfriend. The 25-year-old oil executive grudgingly takes on the impossible task to surprising results, at least to everyone but Grandmother Melancon.

These Christian romances from award-winning authors offer a relaxing evening or two in the midst of the hectic holidays.

The Christmas Angel by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer, (Cape Light Novels)

Thomas Kinkade not only paints beautiful canvases; along with best-selling author Katherine Spencer, he draws wonderful word pictures. In The Christmas Angel, Kinkade and Spencer spin a holiday story set in Cape Light as three plot lines meander through the pages. On her morning jog, Mayor Emily Warwick, who as a young girl gave up now-grown Sara for adoption, discovers a baby left in her church’s crèche. After becoming Jane’s foster parents, Emily and her husband, Dan, struggle with the real-life issues of jobs, age, adoption and changing relationships.

Meanwhile Sara, whose search for her birth mother led her to Emily, struggles with her future and whether it includes romance with the ready-to-be married Luke. And Pastor Ben struggles with discouragement and doubt as his congregation seems more concerned with the annual Christmas fair than offering help and hope to the poor of Wood’s Hollow, a short, winding road away.

With the plots sometimes converging and sometimes diverging, The Christmas Angel shows the honest ups and downs of Christian life and how God uses real people as his Christmas angels. This happy-ending story leaves the reader ready for the next Cape Light novel.

All reviews are written by Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president, Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, Waco.

News of religion, faith, missions, Bible study and Christian ministry among Texas Baptist churches, in the BGCT, the Southern Baptist Convention ( SBC ) and around the world.
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