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.

Melody Carlson's website is

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson.  Baker Publishing Group, ©2010. ISBN 9780800719258 (hardcover), 176p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Book Bird Dog said...

Glad to see there is still hope, even in books! Have a great week.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Book Bird Dog. Of course, there's always hope! Particularly in books. (smile) Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Kris said...

Sounds like a different, but good!, holiday novel.

Lesa said...

It is different, Kris, with a lead character who isn't typical. said...

I thought Christmas at Harrington’s was a charming little read. Melody Carlson is a truly heart-warming author.

You can see my thoughts on this book here:


Lesa said...

Thank you, Tracy. I thought it was charming as well.