Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.
Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.
When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?
Wonderful, heartwarming novel!
The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere is a novel that will linger with you long after you finish reading it. The novel starts in November of 2010. Lauren Gabriel (20) gets off work from Gordon’s Grocery in Whitall where she is a check-out clerk. She does not wish to go home and deal with her roommate. Lauren decides to take a drive and ends up about an hour away in Grandon. She stops at Clauson’s to get something to eat when she realizes she has not had anything to eat in a while. Lauren heads for the check-out and notices that one line is significantly longer than the other. The manager is trying to encourage people to move to the short line, but they want to wait for their slip from Ben. Lauren was going to get into the short line until she heard the comment. She decides to wait and see what the other are talking about. The check-out boy bags her groceries and then puts a slip of paper into her bag. Lauren exits the store and reads her message. It states it is a great day because Lauren is a part of it. Lauren was astonished. No one had ever told her such a thing in her whole life. Lauren goes back into the store to talk to the young man. His name is Ben. Ben gives each customer a different message based on the person. Ben felt the message he gave Lauren was for her. Lauren had a rough childhood. Her father, Victor left when she was four years old. Lauren’s mother was arrested when Lauren was eight. Lauren ended up in foster care bouncing from home to home until she was eighteen. After receiving Ben’s message, Lauren decides to advertise on Craigslist for a family for Christmas. Lauren soon ends up back in Grandon. After witnessing a car accident, Lauren meets Stacy Engler. Lauren ends up volunteering at Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who are having a hard time (a place of hope and help). Read The Christmas Town to see how Lauren gets her family for Christmas and a new take on life.
The Christmas Town was a delight to read. I did not want this story to end. The writing is masterful. Donna VanLiere does a wonderful job at weaving the people and events together into one heartwarming novel. It is very clever how everything fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The Christmas Town has engaging characters. It also has a small town where people help each other out (they care for each other). I give The Christmas Town 5 out of 5 stars. One line in the novel is very special (and my favorite). It read “miracles occur in the most unlikely of places and in the most unusual ways.” This is one of the novels that you will continue to think about long after you finish it (you will also be left with a smile on her face)! This is by far my favorite novel by Donna VanLiere.
Filled with delightful characters.
The variety of people in this Christmas story is fantastic. They range from strong outspoken ones to those with either health or emotional limitations. They worked well together and the story is sweet and very inspirational. It displays the best of people of all walks of life coming together and supporting each other.
At times the point-of-view seemed awkward to me. This is a new author to me and it may just be that her writing style is different than what I’m used to reading.
I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.
Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
This is a wonderful story about Lauren Gabriel who has lived a very lonely sad life. During the holidays it is especially difficult to be alone so this year she decides to advertise for a family to spend the holidays with. One night she is inexplicably drawn to the small town of Grandon. After witnessing an accident she finds herself drawn into the activities of the town and as a volunteer at a center for single moms and families in need of help. The small town and it's residents call to her heart and Lauren is beginning to think she may have finally found her "home". When two of the women who have befriended her turn out to be the only ones who have positively responded to her ad for a family she knows without a doubt this is where she is meant to be.
A fabulous book that I highly recommend.