Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

book cover

Christmas at Harrington's
by Melody Carlson

ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-1925-8
Hardback: 176 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: Oct. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Sometimes the best gift is a second chance

Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret?

Reading Christmas at Harrington's, a story full of redemption and true holiday spirit, will be your newest Christmas tradition.

My Review:
Christmas at Harrington's is Christian general fiction. It's got the heart-warming ending expected in a Christian Christmas short novel, but it dealt with a subject I think most people haven't even considered: how tough it is for those released from prison to find a person willing to give them a job. In Lena's case, it hurts even worse because she's innocent. She was set up by her pastor husband to take the fall for his theft. So Lena hides her past to get a job, and she makes some friends. But someone that she knew "from before" wants to make sure "she pays for what she's done" even though she's lost everything and served her time.

The characters were engaging and dealt with realistic troubles. (There was also a mom and a young daughter trying to make it after running away from an abusive husband and a single mom who was dealing with potentially having to close her store and with her teen daughter having cancer.)

The Christian element was mainly Lena comparing the hard, legalistic God that she grew up with (parents & husband) to the caring, forgiving God that her few, new friends showed her by their actions. She has to decide whether or not to take a chance on trusting people and God again.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this heart-warming, enjoyable book.

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 from Chapter One
The slate-colored sky matched Lena's spirits as she sprinted toward the bus stop. "Don't be late," Mrs. Stanfield had warned earlier. "The bus leaves promptly at 5:15 and there won't be another until tomorrow morning."

Lena hadn't planned to be late. But with two hours to spare, she had ducked into the public library to use the restroom and escape the elements, then found a comfy easy chair. While reading a recipe for cranberry cake in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens, Lena had dozed off, lulled by the warmth, the flickering fluorescent lights, and the sweet, musty smell of books. If not for the librarian's nudge, since the library closed at six, Lena would probably still be sleeping.

Instead, she was running down the sidewalk with the icy wind in her face and her purple parka flapping wildly behind her like a parachute. She waved her arms, calling frantically to the bus driver. "Wait! Please, wait!"

"You were cutting that mighty close," he told her as he opened the door for her. "Hurry up, lady, I've got a schedule to keep."

"Thanks," she gasped breathlessly as she handed him her wrinkled ticket. "I really appreciate--"

"Grab a seat--now." He jerked his thumb backward.

As the bus lurched forward, Lena found an empty pair of seats near the back and quickly ducked in. Scooting next to the window, she clutched her handbag in her lap with trembling hands. That had been close. But she'd made it.

Read more from chapter one.


apple blossom said...

Sounds like my type of book thanks
I love the cover

Genre Reviewer said...

Glad I could help match you up with it! Yes, the cover is great. And the woman on the cover looks just like how Lena is described in the novel, which is nice.

justpeachy36 said...

I have this book up for review this week as well. I enjoyed it very much. Melody Carlson is a great author. I have read several of her books....

MarthaE said...

Sounds like a sweet read. Thanks.

Genre Reviewer said...


I've also read some of Melody Carlson's other books and, like you, enjoyed them. That's part of the reason I requested a review copy of this one. :)


You're welcome. Thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to comment. 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: