Consider this a bonus review. I hadn’t planned on posting during Christmas week, but I read this book and wanted to share it with you.
Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. At Christmas, the final decoration Marge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering.
Yet a message delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery letter found in a Bible put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known.
It’s December, 1945. All over the country, something special is in the air. The war is over, families are reunited. It really is “Peace on Earth.” The first two paragraphs are a great description of the excitement as children pour out of the school building on the final school day of the year. But in the third paragraph we meet a sixteen year old in ill-fitting clothing with no reason to be happy. He acts tough, but inside he’s hurting. His family hasn’t been reunited; his father won’t be coming home. Now his mother works hard just to keep food on the table, while everyone in town calls his father a hero. This is Jimmy Reed, and he doesn’t care that his father posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor; he just wishes his father had never gone to war.
The Christmas Star had me hooked from those opening paragraphs. As the story developed, it reminded me of both It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. It’s a nostalgic look back at a magical time. I could see it unfolding like a black and white movie, to be watched while the snow falls outside. We have the troubled young man possibly heading into a situation with no way out, the good girl he wants to impress, bad guys, the random farmer with a tale to tell, and a humble bus driver with reasons of his own for disliking the season but who has chosen a different path to take.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a commercial Christmas and have a hankering for the Christmases of times past, I heartily recommend this novel. I read the e-version of it in one evening, so it won’t take long but it will stick with you.
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: October 2012
Page Count: 224
I downloaded my free copy of The Christmas Star from Abingdon Press on the NetGalley website. I was under no obligation to write a review.