A Christmas Message
by Anne Perry
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: Nov. 1, 2016
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The year is 1900, and Victor Narraway is giving his wife, Vespasia, an unforgettable Christmas present a trip to Jerusalem. Vespasia is enchanted by the exotic landscape of Palestine, and charmed by a fellow traveler the Narraways meet at their hotel in Jaffa. But when the man is murdered over a torn piece of ancient parchment he was taking to Jerusalem, Victor and Vespasia risk their lives to finish his mission. Pursued by a shadowy figure with evil intent, they embark on a dangerous yet ultimately enlightening pilgrimage to the holy city.
A Christmas Message is a suspense novel set in 1900 in Palestine. A man is murdered in Jaffa, where our hero and heroine are staying briefly before taking a train to Jerusalem. They discover that he slipped them an ancient document in a foreign language and asked them to deliver it to a shop on the Via Dolorosa on Christmas Eve. They set out for the train, and the killer is after them.
Then the story gets really surreal. I kept expecting the heroine to wake up and discover it was all a dream. The descriptions of the people and the landscape seemed based more on symbolism than reality. The 39 mile trip from Jaffa to Jerusalem came across as a long, dark journey across a flat desert (even though they started out in daylight, Jerusalem is in the hill country, etc.). Almost everyone they met were inhuman beings (or at least not normal human beings) who spoke cryptically or philosophically. Not what I was expecting.
So the story turns out to be a spiritual journey. They concluded that we need to follow our inner guiding vision (the true "star of Bethlehem") and you should love God whatever way you wish, shouldn't condemn people who follow another religion as everyone will get the eternity promised by his religion, and all you need to do to gain God's forgiveness is forgive others.
There were no sex scenes. There was a very minor amount of bad language.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.