Meet Arlene Santana, a vibrant wife and young grandmother whose life suddenly takes a confusing and often laughable turn into a new reality framed by a severe brain injury. As one holiday after another speeds by, Arlene takes comfort in the amusing old people who surround her in the rehabilitation center and one special friend who relates well to Arlene. But when will her husband, whose love is more real to her than anything, come to visit her? Treasure this Christmas novella from bestselling author Lori Copeland that demonstrates the healing power of true love.
I don’t believe I’ve read anything by Lori Copeland previously, but this is the season for Christmas novellas and as good a time as any to sample something by her. The more I read the premise of Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, however, the more I steeled myself for tears at the end. It was a good plan and, I suggest, if you’re going to read this that you do the same.
The first person narrative starts on Christmas Eve when Arlene and Jack take off in a private plane to visit their son and his family. They’ve a new grand-daughter named Ella and Arlene can’t wait to see her. Throughout the narrative, Ella’s age will be an indicator of both the passing years and Arlene’s state of mind. After that night, time is marked by the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Arlene’s recollections show us how peculiar the mind is. She’ll remember various events from the past she and Jack shared, but her mind will rarely remember any events after that night.
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem has both heartbreaking twists and lighthearted moments. Arlene has a small group of friends who encourage her and infuriate her in various measures. She becomes a sounding board to her sons and their wives in times of crisis. The state of Arlene’s health is indicated with small hints and the ending is both ambiguous and very clear. It’s not the Christmas story I was expecting when I first came across it, but it’s a beautiful story nevertheless.
Thank you to Barbour Publishing for my complimentary electronic copy of Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was necessary.
Have you read Beautiful Star of Bethlehem? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (an imprint of Barbour Publishing)
Publication Date: 01 October 2015
Page Count: 192