Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

I'm back from my mini-vacation with my family! (They came over, I had a vacation). I wish they didn't go back, but while I'm nursing my tears, enjoy this review.

What Christmas series of books would be complete without Melody Carlson? This time, I managed to get my hands on one of her Christmas novella's.

Christmas at Harrington's has an interesting premise. Lena, the protagonist, is a recently ex-convict. Deciding not to go back to her hometown, she travels to the town of New Haven, where she hopes to make a fresh start. And somehow, she manages to get a job at Harrington's as Mrs Santa, make friends, and melt down her barriers a little. But, someone from New Haven knows her secret and outs her.

But while Lena may feel ostracised, she finds out who her true friends are, and some new friends in unexpected places.

The book is sweet. I liked the whole cast of characters, and I thought for such a short book, it had a decent back-story and plot. There is definitely a message of forgiveness, and letting go of bitterness, but I didn't find the book preachy at all.

And one thing I liked was how there was no romance until the last chapter, and then, only the promise of it. If a romantic relationship was added, the book would have to be a lot longer, and there is always the risk of side-lining the real plot. So I'm glad that this didn't happen.

A slightly deeper theme in the novel is about how there is also corruption in the Church. I can't say much without giving out the plot, but you should know that the reason Lena was in jail was her husband's fault, and he was the Church's pastor. So Lena's issues are a little different from most. I suppose this is something that could have been explored further, but it might have made the tone of the book a little more serious. However, if this wasn't Christmas themed, I'd love to read a full length novel to chew on this topic.

This short novella is perfect to read if you want to get into the Christmas spirit.

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