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Christmas Bells, by Jennifer Chiaverini
A teacher in present-day Boston is stunned by somber news as she prepares for a Christmas concert at church. But when she discovers the full story of Longfellow's famous 1863 poem "Christmas Bells," it speaks across the generations to bring her hope---just as it did for a nation in the midst of the Civil War.
Number of Pages: 288
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.
In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.
Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow’s family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow’s patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. “Christmas Bells,” the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn.
Jennifer Chiaverini’s resonant and heartfelt novel for the season reminds us why we must continue to hear glad tidings, even as we are tested by strife. Reading Christmas Bells evokes the resplendent joy of a chorus of voices raised in reverent song.
"Brings history to life." Parade
"Chiaverini stitches together a series of lightly interlocking contemporary vignettes in an intriguing way and manages to tuck away all the ragged edges in the emotionally satisfying conclusion...A gentle exploration of tragedy, hope, the power of Christmas, and the possibility of miracles." Kirkus
"Chiaverini…hits all the right emotional notes in this heartwarming story."
"Chiaverini writes a heartfelt story of Christmases past and present."
"Both the historical and contemporary stories are moving, with vivid and sympathetic characters, and they mesh together smoothly and naturally."
Historical Novel Society
Praise for Jennifer Chiaverini
"Historyand its colorful characterscome alive." USA Today on Mrs. Lincolns Dressmaker
"Jennifer Chiaverini imagines the First Ladys most private affairs through the eyes of an unlikely confidante." Harpers Bazaar on Mrs. Lincolns Dressmaker
"[A] must read book . . . Chiaverini has a knack for finding fascinating, if unheralded, women in historyshe favors the Civil War eraand shining a light on them with readable historical novels." New York Post on The Spymistress
"The book will appeal to anyone who loves a novel filled with the appearance of numerous fictional accounts of and appearances by the figures who shaped Americas history during the period of the Civil War." Bookreporter.com on Mrs. Lincolns Rival
"[Chiaverinis] depiction of the essential decency of some of our nations early leaders is a high point."Booklist on Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule
"In addition to simply being fascinating stories, [Jennifer Chiaverinis] novels go a long way in capturing the texture of life for women, rich and poor, black and white, in those perilous years." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Mrs. Lincolns Rival
"Jennifer Chiaverinis latest bestseller will thrill Civil War buffs and anyone who loves reading about American history and the contributions of women to the momentous events that formed this country." Bookreporter.com on The Spymistress
Tami5 Stars Out Of 5A Christmas Favorite!December 1, 2015TamiQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5I really enjoyed this book! There are two stories running parallel. One is the historical story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the events leading up to his writing the "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." The other story is of the same scene told from each character's point of view. It reminds me of the saying about being kind because you don't know what's going on in others' lives. This book gives the reader that look into all the back stories of the characters as they come together for choir practice and sing the Christmas Bells song.
The story-telling is excellent and the author does an excellent job of conveying each character's feelings and making them real and relate-able. It is a perfect Christmas book! A book of hope, people helping each other in times of need, and happy endings! It's now one of my Christmas favorites!
ThereadmasterDavenport,IowaAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5enjoyableOctober 2, 2015ThereadmasterDavenport,IowaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This has been one of my favorite books by Jennifer Chiaverini. I loved how she went back and forth between the two time periods. I am not usually fond of this type of writing but this was very well done. I loved all the characters and loved how the poem was worked in to both storylines. I received a copy of this ebook from Firsttoread for a fair and honest opinion.