In A Wreath of Snow, Meg Campbell has returned to her family's home for Christmas, but finds her brother's bitterness and demanding nature unwelcoming, and she decides to spend the holiday alone in her cottage instead. However, the train she is traveling on becomes unable to reach its destination, and the passengers are forced to walk back through the snow to the station they originated from. During this time, Meg finds herself engaging a fellow male traveler and reveals some of her hurtful past in conversation, only to find out too late that the stranger knows more of her past than she realized. Gordon hasn't meant to hurt Meg, he only means to make up for the hurt he has caused her family in his youth. Can Meg and her family make room for his apologies and extend forgiveness? Can Meg trust the man who made her feel comfortable spilling her own secrets when she finds he's been hiding some of his own?
Although it's a bit early to be reading holiday stories for me, this one was a good story that just happened to take place at Christmas. Although gifts are exchanged, and the timing plays a part in the setting, it was an enjoyable read even now. The characters were charming, and the setting was believable. It was definitely a light, quick read that would make an enjoyable Christmas gift, or a lovely afternoon in a comfortable chair with a hot cup of tea.
The story was almost too quick for the depth of the hurt and betrayal and lies that were woven within it. The conclusions of healing and forgiveness came too quickly to really understand the characters' journeys to the place where they could understand what had brought them there and how it had changed them.
I give this book 3 stars - a light read where many will enjoy the quick conclusion, but that, for my tastes, I would have enjoyed getting deeper into the characters' lives and transformations.
I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.
"A Wreath of Snow" is a Christian historical romance set in 1894 in Scotland. It's a novella, so it's a short, quick read and events move forward relatively quickly. It's a nice, sweet story where secrets and lies have brought deep hurt but there's a chance for the truth to bring healing.
The characters were complex and realistic, and I could sympathize with the main characters. Due to the shortness of the book, though, we don't get to know the characters really well. The romance "worked" for me, and there were enough historical and setting details to bring the story alive in my imagination.
There was a Christian element that was woven into the story about forgiveness and telling the truth. I didn't feel that it ever got "preachy," though. There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those looking for a short read that ends with hope and healing.
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
A Wreath of Snow-Beautifully Charming and Delightf
November 1, 2012
A beautiful, delightful and charming story wrote of tragedy, forgiveness, hope, love and acceptance, wrapped in Gods enduring grace and forgiveness. Taking place in Scotland in the 18th century the author captures the time effortlessly. You are immediately taken back to a simpler time, and launched into the lives of these well developed characters. You connect with the family dynamics. Her main characters are complex and carry the weight of unforgiveness like a heavy load on their backs. It makes the pain fresh and they live the experience over and over again. You feel Allen's pain from his tragedy and how it continued to develop; not only into a physical pain, but an emotional and psychological one as well, yearning for the approval and undivided attention of his father. You experience the struggles of Gordon Shaw and Meg as they both strive to deal with their emotional pain from past hurts and also learning to love and forgive as our God loves and forgive. A lesson we all can be reminded of from time to time in our lives.
This book was a fast read, but a wonderful one that I would highly recommend. This author writes about a period time gone by when the value of family were strong and home and honesty were gifts to be treasured. Liz shows through her characters. Forgiveness is a gift from God to set us free from the pain of the past. God gives us many chances to be set free from the chains that hold us back from really receiving all he has for us. It's the greatest Christmas gift of all. It's one to be passed on for sure!
From the book:
"Wrapped in a cloud of steam, the engine rolled to a stop, the screech of metal against metal filling the frosty air. Snow blew across the railway platform and around Meg's calfskin walking boots. The weather definitely was not improving.
She ordered tea with milk and sugar, eying the currant buns and sweet mincemeat tarts displayed beneath a bell jar. Later, perhaps, when her appetite returned. At the moment her stomach was twisted into a knot.
"Anything else for you?" the cashier asked as she handed over the tea, steaming and fragrant.
Meg was surprised to find her fingers trembling when she lifted the cup. "All I want is a safe journey home."
"On a day like this?" the round-faced woman exclaimed. "None but the Almighty can promise you that, lass."
"I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review."
A Wreath of Snow is a Christmas novella by Liz Curtis Higgs.
The year is 1894 as Meg runs through the snowy streets towards the train station. Her brother Alan with his temper had made it too uncomfortable to remain at her parent's home for the holiday. The accident he endured as a boy has turned him into an angry person.
Meg has no idea what will occur as she steps into a train car. One of her fellow passengers is the man who caused the terrible accident that has changed her family's life.
Walk these steps with Meg to a revelation that will change her life!
Liz Curtis Higgs' Christmas novella, "A Wreath of Snow," is a heartwarming holiday tale with themes of love and reconciliation. It is the perfect length for the busy holiday season, but does not fall short of expectations, like many short novels. Higgs treats readers to a fully developed plot, that is well thought-out and progresses at a pleasant pace. Both main characters, Margaret and Gordon, carry shackles of guilt from a shared tragedy. As circumstances cause their paths to intersect once again, their wounds are unexpectedly reopened. The shared conflict creates a cohesive plot, and Margaret's and Gordon's personal experiences add extra interest.
True to her style, Higgs incorporates historical detail that makes the Scottish setting come to life. Although Christmas is a couple of months away, this novella put me in holiday spirit. Its meaningful messages will resonate even more with readers around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although snow blankets the Scottish village of Stirling, "A Wreath of Snow" will leave you with that warm and content holiday feeling.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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."