The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere, is a delightful little read for not just the Christmas season, but for anytime during the year.
Here is the book's description:
"From the author of The Christmas Shoes comes a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women, but one that will change each of their lives forever.
Gretchen McCray has recently moved into an apartment with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. She and her children are building a life together in a new community when a mysterious young woman, Melissa Summit, moves into the apartment next to them. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself.
One day, a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen's door for assistance. Melissa's mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother's apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help, but the apartment is a gut-wrenching shamble of a home.
There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers she has a brother and a sister that she never knew about. Even more shocking, she begins to uncover family secrets that show her who she really is.
Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?"
I found this book to be a nice, easy read and enjoyed the ending the best. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, only because at times it seemed to drag on a bit. I think the author was mainly able to keep my interest via the writing the story through the eyes of either Melissa or Gretchen with each new chapter. After sticking with it and reading this book over the course of a few evenings while relaxing with a nice cup of tea, some of the - what others might consider to be - "boring" details showed their significance once the story came to a close. If you are stuck in the house due to a snow fall and want to curl up with something to read and a cup of something warm to drink, I would recommend this book. If you are looking for something that will keep you on edge with the constant questioning of "what's going to happen next?" â€” then I suggest you read something else. Otherwise, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, I give this book either a 6 or a 7.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Melissa's mother dies, leaving her with a messy apartment to clean, a life full of rotten memories, and a note. That single note leads her to find that she is not alone, as she once thought. Instead, her life, her existence, her thread in the tapestry of life is connected to two others, a brother and a sister. With the help and support of her neighbor Gretchen, Melissa sets out on a journey to find her siblings and ends up finding herself as well.
I had a hard time getting into this book. The story line is something I cannot relate to. But, I did enjoy it, once I got through the first couple chapters. The author switches from Melissa to Gretchen, telling the story from both woman's perspectives. I like this style of writing, as it gives the reader a variety of responses to the same situations.
This is the story about a mother of two children, Gretchen Daniels, who moved into a condo to be nearer to her elderly mother. Just as they are getting settled in a knock is at the door. The man is looking for Gretchen's neighbor Melissa McCreary. He leaves a message with Gretchen to tell Melissa that her mother has died and she needs to clear out her apartment. Gretchen delivers the message and Melissa is not tearful about the news. Melissa did not have a very good relationship with her mother and Gretchen feels sorry for Melissa and offers to help her with her mothers apartment.
A short time latter Melissa calls on Gretchen to help with the apartment. The apartment is a mess and it doesn't seem as if there is anything of value there but a few photos and a note that Melissa will find helpful in discovering answers to her family.
Gretchen has a good relationship with her mother and she also tries to become a friend to Melissa. She invites Melissa over to her house and tries to make her feel like part of her family.
Can these two women who are so different find it in theirs hearts to forgive and find hope and trust.
This was a good book I enjoyed reading it. DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Not much to add to the other reviews. I liked the Christmas Shoes and sequel. The next one ... and this one? It's hard to say what really bothers me about this book. It's an enjoyable read but a perturbing scenario. No doubt this happens in real life as well, but what a bummer for the 'children' who were thrown away. Melissa's turn-around attitude surprised me - it seemed sudden, snap-of-the-finger? (Yeah, I took that expression straight from the book though out of context.)
For some reason this book seems to throw in some Christianity as an afterthought. Or could Ms. VanLiere be wanting to broaden the market: Appeal to those who usually would not read Christian fiction?
It's o k but I am still undecided if I want to put this story with my keepers, with re-reads, or just give it away.