Faith Readers Group Review: The Christmas Note

Laughter, the smell of coffee brewing, a hint of chocolate in the air, and a mystery cake! What a great way to start off the new year with the Faith Readers women’s book club. Debra teased us on the facebook page and offered up a prize if we could guess what she was bringing. The hint: It’s from the book.

No one guessed it. 🙁 BUT…we still got to eat it! Hummingbird cake! Yummo and she even told us the story behind the Hummingbird cake.  

Our December pick was The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere. Many of her books can be found as Lifetime TV movies. After reading this book, we know why! It was made for a warm, fuzzy holiday flick.

It’s the kind of book you can cozy up on the couch with a quilt, a cup of coffee, hot tea, or cocoa and smile.

As we discussed the book, some of the comments were comical, some serious, others insightful. Here are a few:

Could you identify with any of the characters?
 “I could identify with the mom. She was a good mother, but she wasn’t Suzie Homemaker. They had cookies, but they were slice and bake. I can handle that.”

“I could sort of relate to Gretchen, but I don’t know if I could be as nice as she was when Melissa kept acting so rude. In fact, that would be the point I told the kids, ‘We don’t talk to the neighbors keep moving.'”

What character did you least identify with?

“Melissa because she came from such an abusive background. My heart broke for her.”

“Gloria, the mom’s friend. She was kind of out there. I’m not sure anyone acts like that.”

A few shook their heads. “No, we know people like that.”

What theme did you take away from the book?

“God’s hand is at work no matter happens in your life.”

“Sometimes you have to look back to see where God was.”

“I think she got her point across, but she overdid it. I mean one or two coincidences are fine. But every time you turned a page it was a new one. Not believable.”

“Yeah, that was ridiculous.” 

*Note to writers: Pay attention to these reviews! They aren’t from writers who joined a book club; they’re die-hard readers and they know what they like. I make notes every month! Don’t put too many coincidences in your  work! And by the way, they’re totally right! There were waaaaay too many!

Our rating out of 1-5:  
3 1/2 stars

Our next book for the month of February is in the romance category. We’ve voted on Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones.

Here’s a peek at The Christmas Note

“Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into a condo with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. As they build a life together in their new community, they notice a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, who lives next door. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help Melissa, but the apartment is a gut-wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished, but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers secrets about her family that she never could have imagined. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?”
Have you ever read a Christmas novel? Any favorites?  

14 thoughts on “Faith Readers Group Review: The Christmas Note

  1. Love your note to writers, what a great resource! I'll watch the coincidences:) Can't wait to hear about Save the Date–it's on my TBR pile. We'll see if you beat me to it. Ya'll sound like you have so much fun, makes me want to start a group at my church!

  2. I love reading about the books your book club reads! Two comments stuck out to me. This one, as a Christian:

    "Sometimes you have to look back to see where God was."

    So true.

    This one, as a writer:

    "I think she got her point across, but she overdid it. I mean one or two coincidences are fine. But every time you turned a page it was a new one. Not believable."

    Duly noted and filed away. 🙂 Save the Date is SUCH a blast, by the way! I bet you'll love it.

  3. I recently finished writing a synopsis for a novella for a Christmas collection. It was so much fun! The other authors and I had a blast coming up with ideas and figuring out how all the stories would work together. I hope it works out.

  4. I'm not a huge CHristmas fiction reader – usually 'cause I'm so busy that time of year I don't have time to read. Then comes January and I'm out of the Christmas mood. Sigh.

  5. I enjoy Christmas books. Your club looks so fun–what a great way to unwind and enjoy friendship and literature (and treats).

  6. Your group sounds like so much fun. I wish we had something like that here. maybe I should start one….

  7. I second Jaime! Don't do much reading in December. I keep hearing great things about Save the Date!

  8. That's a good way to review a book, first as a Christian and then as a writer. Being writers, we tend to look for mistakes, plot devices, etc. and miss the message.

    I didn't read any Christmas-themed books last year. Yesterday, I saw a title that I wish I got my hands on. Oh, well. May buy it for this year!

  9. I didn't make time for any special Christmas reading this year. My loss.

  10. Jess, I love Christmas novels and, yes, I've read a ton! (They definitely get me in the spirit at Christmas time.)

    One of the queens of Christmas story-telling is the superfab Debbie Macomber.

    Your group sounds like a blast!

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