The year in 1894 and the place is Stirling, Scotland. It is the day before Christmas. Margaret Campbell, a teacher in Edinburgh, has been home visiting her parents and brother. But it has not gone well. Her younger brother Alan had been injured when a youth, some twelve years ago, and is wheelchair bound. He has become a bitter man.
Meg has had enough of his tirades and escapes the house, anxious to take the train back to Edinburgh. The snow is heavy but the train finally leaves.
On the train she meets a handsome man she finds out is Gordon Shaw, the very man who, in a drunken state, injured Alan.
Gordon is attracted to Meg and she to him. And then the train is stopped by a drift of snow and the two are forced to walk back to Stirling - and to a very awkward situation.
I have come to really like the Christmas novellas. (I've read all of Anne Perry's.) And this is a good one. There are many issues dealt with in this story. How long is the past to direct the present? Should forgiveness ever be withheld? Is it ever right to lie when the truth would hurt so much?
An added plus is that you learn a great deal about the Victorian Christmas traditions and celebrations, and about curling.
The book was a little predictable, or was it just great foreshadowing by Liz? Nonetheless, a fine holiday read.
A Reader's Guide is included at the end of the novel. (So is a recipe for Scottish shortbread.)
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Take a trip to Scotland with Liz Curtis Higgs in her new book A Wreath of Snow. I've always wanted to visit Scotland (even though I'm Irish) and so I tagged along. I found a wonderful story that drew me in and made me sympathize with Margaret, root for Gordon and hopeful that there will be a sequel so I can find out what happens next. (Hint Hint)
This is a wonderful story about 2 individuals hurt spiritually and emotionally by a terrible accident years before when Margaret's brother is injured in a Curling accident caused by Gordon. I could feel the emotion and the sorrow near the end of the book when Gordon does the right thing and confesses to what happened and loved the ending of the book. Sorta... I wasn't ready to end the story.
A Wreath of Snow would be a great Mother-Daughter or book club read but if you don't have anyone to read it with grab a hot chocolate, latte, a warm afghan and curl up by the fire. It's a great book to read during a blizzard.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to have a positive review and no money exchanged hands.
I usually read one Christmas Novella every year. It is usually one that someone asks me to read. They are not my favorite genre mostly because they are not long enough. A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs has that problem. It is a delightful Christmas book that is just not long enough.
I love Liz's books. Fiction, non- fiction it doesn't matter, I love her writing style. She has a beautiful way of delivering a punch that is given in such a gentle matter that you don't always notice you have learned something.
Meg is heartbroken that she will not be spending Christmas Day with her parents, but her brother's cruel treatment of her had become intolerable. She just wanted to get back to Edinburgh into her beloved townhouse and relax. A chance to have a peaceful Christmas instead of one filled with the tension of her parents' home.
So starts this little book with a message of forgiveness. It doesn't last long, but it was such a joy to read and put me in the Christmas spirit, which for early October that is not a good thing. This book is just a story of what the true meaning of Christmas is; the story of forgiveness, the story of family and the story of hope.
You can enjoy this book and get into the Christmas spirit early or you can wait until a lovely snow fall, wrap up in a quilt with a cup of hot chocolate and disappear for a little while into Scotland in 1894.
Gordon Shaw was drunk years ago, when he threw a curling stone and injured a young boy. A few years later he left home, shunned and alone.
Years later Gordon finds himself again in his hometown, Stirling, praying to get in and out before anyone recognized him. He almost made it. He is on the train bound for Edinburgh when he thinks the lady sitting across the aisle from him looks familiar. He finds out her brother is the one he injured.
He has been dying to make things right for this family. It's Christmas Eve and he's sure he has a God-given chance to accomplish that. He befriends the girl, Meg, but he can't seem to get his full name out, a name that he is sure will make her turn her back on him.
I'm telling you one more thing about the book, except to say the author, Liz Curtis Higgs, has done it again! I tell you, I can't get enough of her books. Liz is definitely one of those authors I just know I'll love whatever book she pens.
A Wreath of Snow, by Liz Curtis Higgs, is a Victorian Christmas novella, set in 1894 Scotland. You can see in the graphic above that cover is stunning. The book is hardback, published by Waterbrook, Multnomah Press.
I can not think of a single thing I didn't like about the book. I try and keep all "romancey" type books away from my 12 year old, I know she's getting to that age, but I'm not wanting to open the door wide for her yet with the whole boy/girl meet/fall in love, scenario yet.
However! While this book is a romance story, the romance is so light as to almost not even be noticed, I would give this book to her to read and not have a second thought about it.
I don't usually read Christmas-themed books, but A Wreath of Snow's beautiful, wintery front cover and the teaser on the back made my decision!
With her brother's bitterness overshadowing what should be a joyful time, Meg tries to cut her Christmas visit home short. Unfortunately, snow...and a stranger...change her plans. But secrets are hidden by more than just the not-so-stranger and will make this Christmas one to remember!
A Wreath of Snow is a short, quick read, but full of emotion. The characters struggle within themselves to extend mercy and forgiveness to those around them. With snow, Scottish brogues, and a little curling, A Wreath of Snow is the perfect story for a cozy-up kind of afternoon.
It's only November, but after closing the book, I was in a Christmas-y mood! If my children had begged to put up the tree, they may have convinced me that day! ;-) Instead, using the recipe that Liz includes in the back of the book, I gathered up some butter, sugar, and flour and whipped up a batch of Scottish Shortbread. Mmmmm! You can find the recipe on my blog acookingbookworm DOT com.
*I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine.*