Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

"One year ago on Christmas Eve, William died. For Emma, the hit-and-run driver killed more than her husband; he killed her joy in life itself. Now, as Christmas approaches again, Emma Jensen finds herself sinking into a depression that nothing can breach; not her job, not her love for her children, and certainly not the season. Money is tight, and emotions are taut, and this year Christmas will be a meager, empty, and painful experience. Only six-year-old McKenna believes in miracles and the magic of Christmas. The rest of the family knows that Christmas can never be the same. But when a mysterious package and an ornate letter arrive on the doorstep, things begin to change. Each day, a package and a letter signed Santa arrive for the family, and together they come to understand that the joy of Christmas does not have to be lost forever, and that God s love can heal any wound, no matter how deep. The Santa Letters will take the Jensens on a journey through a Christmas experience that will have the power to heal them all."

Every year I find a new Christmas book to add to my collection, so when I was asked to review this, I knew what the book would be for 2008. This story tugs at the heartstrings and gives the reader reason to look inside at their own feelings toward the holidays. The principles in the letters are timeless and something every family should take the time to review and remember.

As for the story, I was a little disappointed in the lack of anything other than the letters to drive the story forward. Everything goes along smoothly once the letters start arriving. The kids came across as a little too perfect, especially after suffering the loss of their father. I expected to see more conflict that had to be resolved. The letters seemed to take up a good portion of the book. It would have been nice to see more real conversation between the characters and more description of what the family did when the letters came. Much of the story seemed to take place in the letters and in Emma's thoughts rather than in the characters interactions with each other.

Despite this, the book is pleasant and is a good reminder of all the things we take for granted in our lives and would be a nice addition to any Christmas library.

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