Book Review: Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life after false accusations landed her in prison, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret? This tender story about fresh starts will charm readers as all of Melody Carlson's Christmas offerings do. Full of redemption and true holiday spirit, Christmas at Harrington's will be readers' newest Christmas tradition.
I actually had high hopes for this novel simply because the cover was so pretty, so it was a bit of a letdown that I didn't love it. I think it felt toooooo predictable. Most of these stories are naturally predictable, you expect that, but Christmas at Harrington's was just too much. A wonderful gal with an abusive father who happened to be a pastor and then she marries another pastor who turns out to be a skeeze, she ends up in jail, released before Christmas, heads to this small town where a kindly person has lined up a job for her and she ends up playing Mrs. Santa Claus. It was all just entirely too unbelievable for me to get fully involved in the story.
One the plus side, a scene where I was sincerely about to role my eyes turned out all right in the end. When Lena reads as Mrs. Santa at storytime at the small library in town, she chooses the story of baby Jesus' birth. Not politically correct at all, but the end of the chapter made it seem there wouldn't be any repercussions. I worked in a library. I know when you share anything religious, there can be repercussions. The next chapter had her defending her storybook choice and being verbally attacked by some of the parents. Now that is realism in a library setting. That was the one moment where the story felt real.
Don't get me wrong. I liked Lena fine. This one isn't a romance, so that was nice, and I loved the three little girls in the story: Beth, Cassidy, and Jemima. The characters themselves were quite nice and loveable, but I just never fully bought the story. Oh well, maybe next time.
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