Monday, December 5, 2016

A Christmas Story for Those Who are Hurting

Sophia, an elementary school music teacher and director of the children’s choir at St Margaret’s Catholic Church, isn’t feeling much like Christmas. She’s just gotten the word that her teaching position will be eliminated at the end of the school year. Lucas, accompanist for the choir, is in love with Sophia, but afraid to tell her and be rejected.

Alex, a boy who sings in the children’s choir, isn’t feeling much like Christmas, either. His father, a member of the National Guard, has been deployed to Afghanistan. Alex hasn’t heard from his father in a while, and he misses him. It won’t feel like Christmas without his father.

Each story is told in a chapter from the point of view of the affected person. All fit together because of their interactions in St. Margaret’s. When the novel opens, the choir is rehearsing “Christmas Bells” a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose house is located not far from the church.

Longfellow was also experiencing tragedy when he wrote the beautiful poem. His story and that of his family are told in interleaving fashion with the modern stories. The novel illustrates the wonder of Christmas where hearing the bells and feeling the spirit of the holiday can ease suffering.

This is a lovely book. The Christmas theme shows the beauty of the holiday where suffering people can begin to see the light of hope. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it as a treat for the holiday.

I received this book from Dutton for this review.