Two heart warming Christmas stories from one generation to another generation. We go from 1947 to present day.
Red Kettle Christmas
A very heart warming, Christmas story. Two people who come from different past meet on Thanksgiving and God directs their way to find hope, forgiveness and love. You will enjoy getting to know both Mike and Karen as they open up about themselves. You can probably find your self in some of both of their characters. It is always nice to read a good christian book that deals with imperfect people who seek God's will even in hard times and difficult circumstances, even if that was not the first path taken. I have only read a couple of Ruth's books however I have truly enjoyed them both and look forward to reading more.
As the family has grown and grandchildren are on the scene we reconnect with the Wolzak family. I always love reading more into a story and here is another part of the story. It played out different in my mind then the writer has written, however she has done a wonderful job and helps us remember the true meaning of Christmas. She keeps you wondering till the last couple of pages. I would recommend this book to anyone who has liked the Love finds you series and Christmas stories.
The Best Christmas story Since â€œA Christmas Carol"
November 10, 2013
Age: Over 65
Imagine it's December 19th, 1843 and you've just bought a first day, first edition of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". You open to the front piece and learn that it is a â€˜ghost story'. Maybe you are surprised and feel that this will be something very different in Christmas stories. Even if you felt this at the time, you could not have known that you were about to read an â€˜instant classic' that for the next 170 years would never go out of print.
Could you have thought then in December 1843 that this little novella, "A Christmas Carol" would have packed so powerful a punch that it forever changed the world's view of Christmas? I like to think that I would have seen the greatness in "A Christmas Carol". But that is something I will never know.
I do know I felt that way after reading "Red Kettle Christmas". Like, "A Christmas Carol," this novella is different from all the other Christmas stories I've read before. This is not a book written to be a Christmas story. This is a classic story that takes place at Christmas time. This is another example of the author's pioneering venture into â€˜romance realism' - a subgenre of romance in which serious topics are dealt with that traditional publishers almost always avoid. Her "Winter's End" dealt with hospice, and "Try, Try, Again" with adultery, "Running on Empty" with pedophilia. These books have been critically acclaimed. "Running on Empty" is a runaway success.
"Red Kettle Christmas" deals with the shame and public ostracism that came with being an unwed mother in 1947. Not only is the heroine an unwed mother, who was rejected and sent out into the world by her parents, she is also a nurse who works and lives in a Salvation Army hospital home for other unwed mothers.
This is not a typical romance theme nor is this a typical Christmas story. "Red Kettle Christmas" is a powerful trip back into the past. Today, in some communities, up to eighty percent of mothers are unwed. It's the norm. But it was not so long ago when this was not the case. In 1947, when "Red Kettle Christmas" opens, the â€˜greatest generation' was coming back from the war and the world was in ruins. Mankind had never seen so much uncertainty as to the future. The atomic bomb made it possible for man to destroy life on earth. Many at this time saw unwed mothers as a sign of the final collapse of civilization itself. It was not the unwed mother herself who was the problem. No, the unwed mother was seen as the canary in the mine who signaled immediate danger ahead.
Like Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", "Red Kettle Christmas" is of social significance. It is one thing to help a poor homeless person at Christmas. It is quite another thing to help someone who society highly disapproves of, someone who poses a risk to society itself, and someone who is thought to have brought this â€˜evil' upon herself because of her lack of morality. "Red Kettle Christmas" takes you back in time and gives you a Christmas story that has much of the gravitas that has made "A Christmas Carol" a classic that the public loves and still reads today.
I'm sure that not many readers at the time thought of Dickens' little paranormal Christmas novella as being literature but the elements were clearly there. It wasn't like other Christmas stories. It had social significance. And it had one of the best happy endings ever. The same is true for "Red Kettle Christmas" - in fact, Herne's story has a surprise combination of happy endings! While the happy ending is not as powerful as that found in "A Christmas Carol," no other story is either.
The second novella, "Manhattan Miracle," is actually a continuation of "Red Kettle Christmas" in the present. I was so happy to learn that the second story would kept the warm glow of "Red Kettle Christmas" going a little longer. I didn't want to let go. I think everyone will enjoy Anna Schmidt's novella. Together these two stories make a bundle of Christmas Joy that readers will find a "Cornucopia of Reading Enjoyment"!
Be still my heart -- I'm sure I heard the Hallelujah Chorus in the background as I finished this book. It is that good. That's moving and uplifting and down-home Christmasy good. Both stories start with Macy's Thanksgiving parade and that sets the mood perfectly. Both stories have adorable little girls who know the true magic of Christmas and how to share it. Another excellent way to set that special mood. But though there are similarities in these two novellas, each author's distinctive voice creates a unique and heart-warming read.
In "Red Kettle Christmas", Herne's characteristic writing style swept me into the heart of post World War II New York City from the very first page. I love the way characters come to life at her fingertips. And I love how she portrays life and loss realistically, but always laced with hope. This novella has all the makings of a classic Christmas read.
Fast forward to present day and we get to read about the next generation of Wolzaks in Schmidt's "Manhattan Miracle". Interesting to jump decades and land at the very same place and the very same time. Love that link between the two stories. This is another touching read that gave me goosebumps at the Hollywood worthy finale.
If you love reading Christmas stories, "Love Finds You in the City at Christmas" should definitely find it's way to the top of your TBR list. It's guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season.