Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday Salon - Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
Most holiday stories have happy endings, and Melody Carlson's Christmas at Harrington's is no exception. But, this novel is a little unusual in its main character, an intriguing departure for these seasonal novels.
After eight years in prison, Lena Markham has been released. Instead of heading home to Indiana, she told the social worker she wanted a new start. With the promise of a place to live and a job at Harrington's Department Store, Lena took the bus to New Haven, a small town in northern Minnesota. She had hoped for a seat by herself, but a well-dressed woman from New Haven, Moira Phillips, took the seat beside her, and proceeded to talk to her, and invite her to church. As a former pastor's wife, and the daughter of a Bible-thumping strict father, Lena was a little reluctant to accept that invitation.
The boarding house where Lena ended up wasn't quite what she expected, but she quickly made friends with a little girl, Jemima. That friendship would change more lives than just theirs. And, Jemima led her back to Moira Phillips, and a few clothes, including a red coat, that enabled her to go to Harrington's with confidence, knowing she had a promised job. But, in the bad economy, Harrington's had to lay people off. Fortunately, Ms. Harrington's daughter, Cassidy, saw Lena in that red coat, and suggested she become Mrs. Santa at the store. And, it's a successful job, until Lena's past comes back to haunt her.
Melody Carlson's story is about a woman beaten down by people and life, who, with the help of a little encouragement and faith in God, finds the courage to move on. And, I have to mention that one of those people who cheered Lena on is a librarian who accepts her despite her history. Christmas at Harrington's is a story of hope and faith, a perfect little novel for the holiday season.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.