Publication Date: November 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian Fiction/ Inspirational/ Christmas
Pages: Hardcover, 168pp
(Received for an honest review from Revell Books)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, IndieBound
Melody Carlson on the WEB: website, facebook
Excerpt from The Christmas Shoppe
The small town of Parrish Springs is not quite ready for Matilda Honeycutt. A strange woman with scraggly hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks. Matilda keeps busy stocking and arranging her new shop on the town's quaint and lovely main street. When rumors start to fly about what might be going on behind the papered-up windows and the locked door, the image-conscious residents start looking for a way to get this woman and her wares out of their town before Christmas.
But Matilda Honeycutt has a little something for each one of them sitting on those cluttered shelves, just waiting to be discovered.
Just in time for the holiday season! The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson is a heartwarming story that readers won't soon forget. Carlson has written a new Christmas novella for the last few years running and I was excited to receive this one. Carlson has a knack for translating the Christmas spirit directly into her books. She is able to conjure up feelings of nostalgia and Christmas memories from years long past and I think readers enjoy that kind of sentiment this time of year. It is a time of peace and joy, family and tradition and Carlson's writing exemplifies all of that and more.
In The Christmas Shoppe readers are quickly reminded of that age old lesson, "Never judge a book by it's cover!" There is a lot more to Matilda Honeycutt than meets the eye and the townspeople of Parish Springs were quick to judge her. She had scraggly hair and an unkempt demeanor. She didn't wear the right kind of clothes or talk about the most fashionable subjects. Her shop appeared to be nothing more than a junk store and people were not impressed. But once they began to filter into the Christmas Shoppe, they found exactly what they were seeking, even though they didn't understand that they had been looking for it.
Matilda is a character that reminded me of Debbie Macomber's, Mrs. Miracle. She mysteriously appears out of the blue and sets about making Christmas special for the town of Parish Springs. Carlson portrays her in manner that readers will wonder if she was really an angel in disguise or someone meant to teach them that the spirit of Christmas isn't found in fancy presents and exorbitant amounts of money. I liked the fact that Carlson gave her such a mysterious attitude, readers can almost imagine the twinkle in her eye.
One of the things that I find most interesting about Carlson's Christmas novella's is that they aren't romances. This time of year readers are inundated by piles of Christmas romance books and there are so many to choose from they hardly know what to read first. But when a book like this comes along, it's a given that is going to be good. It isn't driven by romance or sex. It's about family and hope and the Christmas story and what it means and I really felt that was something I needed to hear this Christmas. If she didn't write to touch anyone else, it certainly touched me!
I recommend this one to readers who need a touch of the Christmas spirit this year. With the economy in shambles and Christmas presents being harder and harder to come by, the treasures in Matilda Honeycutt's store, were all the more precious. A great Christmas read, with a heart felt message!
The Christmas Shoppe is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Melody Carlson is the popular author of more than 300 books, including The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's. She was recently nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market. She lives with her husband in Oregon.