Seven years ago, Gloria Bailey suffered a devastating family tragedy that almost took away her faith completely; as it was, Gloria's idyllically happy life was shaken down to its very foundation. Since then, she has struggled to comprehend the reason why her life was turned upside down; and to somehow find the strength of will to carry on. Each Christmas she places a card inside an envelope on her tree, acknowledging and solemnly restating a promise she had made to her husband just before his death.
Now, having moved from her small town and all the painful memories it held, she is slowly building a new life for herself by helping those in need. Whether it's a young mother who can't pay her electricity bill or a family who needs some extra food, Gloria always finds a way to be of service. She seems to have found her life's purpose again, and Gloria is - if not living the type of life that she had once envisioned - at least living a tentatively pleasurable life.
Gloria's faith is also slowly being rekindled; faith in herself and faith in others. Then, there is Miriam Lloyd Davies, Gloria's elderly neighbor. Gloria is convinced that Miriam is a thorn in her side: a constant annoyance that Gloria does her best to avoid at all costs. Miriam is constantly critical; a disapproving and mean-spirited neighbor who looks with suspicion at all the good things that Gloria does. When a twist of fate makes the women roommates instead of neighbors, it is the ultimate test of patience and faith.
Chaz McConnell has a really good job as head of security for Wilson's Department Store, but he is also terribly lonely; returning home each night to his empty apartment. He longs for a wife and family of his own but also realizes that the choices that he has made in life have alienated him. He soon befriends a young boy whose mother has fallen on hard times, allowing Chaz the chance to have the sort of life he once thought impossible.
In The Christmas Promise: A Novel, the lives of all these characters collide and we learn that the past is never far behind, even as we move ahead. And when we are forgiven much, we love much. In this warmly humorous and deeply poignant story, we are reminded that the ultimate Christmas Promise is the promise of second chances.
I had read and enjoyed one of Donna VanLiere's previous books, The Angels of Morgan Hill, back in February of 2012. In my opinion, The Christmas Promise: A Novel was really quite good; a quick and engaging read that I enjoyed very much. I found this to be a feel-good story; touching and sweet and truly heart-warming. The story's plot may have been slightly far-fetched, but I still found it enjoyable. I give this book a B+!
I just discovered this author when I read The Christmas Hope. This book was really well written, a page turner and a fast read. It takes you through each of the characters lives and somehow they all intertwine and I truly liked each character. I will definitley add more of her books to my collection.