Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fiction Review: The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

I enjoy reading books by Melody Carlson because of her simple writing style and her ability to create the beginning of a good story. That's why I try to read her Christmas books each year. "The Christmas Blessing" is yet another feel-good, holiday story that can be ready in a day or two.

However, I'm getting tired of Carlson's neglect of any real character development. She is brilliant at setting up stories - in this case, a single mother and war widow (of sorts) leaves her baby in the manger of the father's parents, fearing for the child's life, but also fearful of admitting the child's true origins. But just when the opportunity opens for a show of redemption and love, Carlson brings her novella to a heartening and complete, but shallow conclusion.

The grandmother of the baby is portrayed as a woman with a somewhat hard heart, dealing with the loss of her son and unwilling to believe her son would steer away from the righteous path. Amelia, the mother of the child, struggles with her self-worth and unpleasant family background. The child's father is in a prisoner of war camp. And the grandfather is a strong, Christian man, in the perfect setup to lead his family under Christ. But we barely see the beginnings of the relationships and issues here. There's so much missed potential! The book description says, "Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?" But the answer never really comes.

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

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