by Andrea Renee Cox
The last book I read in 2014 turned out to be one of my favorites for the year. Where Treetops Glisten is a collaboration novel that features the Turner family. The prologue introduces you to the family from the grandmother’s point of view, which I found to be sweet and a wonderful way to begin the book.
The storyline moves forward nearly a year to begin the first official story, White Christmas by Cara Putman. In it, Christmas of 1942 certainly will be different for Abigail Turner. Her two siblings, Pete and Merry, are off helping with the war effort, which leaves Abigail to wonder how she may help others this holiday season. Jackson Lucas faces dark times for the holiday. On the brink of losing his family’s farm, he’s desperate to find answers and a way to assist his mother and sisters back home, while working hard in Lafayette, Indiana. When Abigail and Jackson meet, the question will be: Will they be able to open up to each other enough to help solve one another's problems?
After that, we step into I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Sarah Sundin. This story sees Pete Turner return home on furlough, and he struggles to find feeling again after the difficult things he’s seen and done in the war. Can healing come to him in the form of a little girl, who searches for her daddy? Or will little Linnie’s mother, Grace Kessler, discourage any further contact with Pete when she realizes he’s her childhood bully? When their separate lives have no other option but to collide, both Grace and Pete must compromise and learn to adjust their perspectives if they’re ever to find the doses of healing they yearn for.
The third full tale in this compilation, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Tricia Goyer, travels overseas with Meredith “Merry” Turner. She works as a nurse on the front lines of the war, but the toughest battle she’ll face is the betrayal that broke her heart. It becomes impossible to shove aside thoughts of her lost love when she thinks she sees him in the midst of the Netherlands where she’s posted. Will her heart ever find solace so far from home?
Lastly, there is an epilogue, which is, again, in the point of view of the grandmother. These bookends (prologue and epilogue in the grandmother's POV) were such a darling touch to frame the features in that I was blown away by the beauty of the entire setup.
Earlier in 2014, I discovered Cara Putman when I read Shadowed by Grace. As you may remember, I absolutely loved that book. Well, when I found out she’d teamed up with Tricia Goyer, I knew I couldn’t resist such a treat. Cara immediately brought to life the time period that served as a backdrop for World War II in Where Treetops Glisten. Her research must have been quite thorough, for I felt completely immersed into the lives of Abigail and Jackson, and sometimes tripped my way back to reality when real life called for my attention. If Shadowed by Grace made me an instant fan of hers, her novella, White Christmas, ensured I’ll be a lifetime cardholder (a nod to former times when members of clubs held cards stating their membership).
I’ll Be Home for Christmas was my first sampling of Sarah Sundin, and I’ve got to tell you, it took my breath away. The character journeys all wove together perfectly, making me laugh and bringing tears to my eyes. There’s an innocent quality to her work that is difficult to bring across in novels and even harder to describe. This woman had a challenge ahead of her with Pete’s journey, but she pulled it off with grace, talent, and a big dose of faith, which I love seeing in books. She’s definitely on my list of authors to keep my eyes out for.
Tricia Goyer has yet to disappoint me with her historical fiction novels, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is no exception. The thing I find most satisfying about her books is how she seamlessly knits God and faith into her characters’ lives. Even when they struggle to find the footing of their faith, her characters seem to emanate whatever scrap of it they’re clinging to. The journey to strengthen their faith often helps me to bolster my own faith, as well, which is something I greatly appreciate in Christian fiction novels. When fiction meets reality … that’s where I feel most at home.
If you haven’t yet read Where Treetops Glisten, now would be the time to spend that gift card money you got for Christmas. This book deserves five stars for certain, and that’s what it’s getting from me. This book easily hit my top five favorites list for last year, and I’m hoping it will hit your top ten for this year too.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
What do you think of collaboration or compilation books (books with more than one story in them, often written by more than one author)? Are you a fan or not? What is it about them that you do or don’t like? If you haven’t given them a try before now, what’s holding you back?
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