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Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

Reviewed by Deena Peterson

"...a wonderful holiday tale of forgiveness and redemption, as well as the true meaning of Christmas."

I believe I've read every Christmas novella Melody Carlson has written, but I can honestly say that this is the best... and I've read a LOT of Christmas stories! Melody was recently nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, and you'll know why once you've read this sweet story.

"Christmas at Harrington's" is a wonderful holiday tale of forgiveness and redemption, as well as the true meaning of Christmas. Lena Markham simply wants a fresh start. Recently released from a nearly decade long ordeal, she's beginning her life from scratch in a new town with very little to her name.

A chance encounter on the bus ride to New Haven, Minnesota finds Lena with her first new friend, an older woman with a huge heart. Moira Phillips takes a seat next to Lena and before long has learned things Lena swore she'd never speak out loud.

Turns out Moira is also from New Haven, and Moira's friendship will prove both invaluable and providential for Lena. Her new home at the local boardinghouse sparks another friendship with a single mom and her six-year-old daughter, two relationships that will restore Lena's damaged sense of confidence.

Her job at Harrington's department store yields surprises of its own for Lena, and it would seem life is finally favoring her. But when a person from her past appears and works to take away all Lena has gained, where will she turn?

So much is packed into this short story... and you'll come away so much richer for having read it! Every character is full and rich, adding depth and... well...character to the story!

Lena stole my heart from page one, and I was rooting for her all the way. Cassidy was a treasure, and her story melted my heart and warmed my soul. Even Sam grew on me... eventually! I'd love to tell you all the themes I picked out in the story, but that would ruin the suspense for you.

Just trust me when I tell you Melody Carlson has written her ultimate Christmas novella... Light a fire (or turn up the thermostat!), curl up with your favorite comfort beverage, and spend some time celebrating "Christmas at Harrington's" with Lena! I'm giving this one the Golden Bookmark for Excellence in Story and voting it "Best Novella of 2010"!

Yup, it's that good! In fact, I can see it on the Hallmark channel now...

Deena PetersonDeena Peterson is the mom of 8, with an active two-year-old grandson! She's also a pastor's wife, worship leader, Bible study leader, and homeschool mom. She stays so busy she meets herself coming and going! Visit her at her blog A Peek At My Bookshelf.