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The Christmas Secret

by Donna VanLiere

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2751780,931 (3.86)3
When struggling young single mother Christine Eisley saves the life of an elderly woman working in Wilson's department store, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love.
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English (16)  German (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This was just okay. Nothing particularly outstanding about the writing style mechanics or word choices. It was told partly in first person and partly in 3rd which I don't like and find a bit of a cop out. If you can't tell the whole story in 1st person then just use 3rd.

The story was nice and I guess you could call it heartwarming but it really had nothing new to say. It was predictable and overly full of coincidences.

There were some nice moments and it was a pleasant story. If you're looking for some lessons and some pleasant people helping each other. It fits the bill. ( )
  Luziadovalongo | Jul 14, 2022 |
I know. It’s sappy sweet. Some of the characters are less than desirable. But it’s Christmas! And I have a love of all things Christmas. The town and residents are so sweet you might need to check your blood glucose levels. Christy is a struggling single mom. She comes to the aid of an elderly woman and it sets off a train of events leading to a happy ever after.
This book has been made into Hallmark movie. Yes, I watched it. Yes, I enjoyed it. Even more so since it did follow the book. If you watch Hallmark Christmas movies than you probably have seen it.
I would recommend this book to Christmas lovers who enjoy sugary sweet romances. ( )
  Wulfwyn907 | Jan 30, 2022 |
I can always count on Donna VanLiere to give me a heartwarming holiday read, and The Christmas Secret is no exception. I've absolutely fallen in love with the nameless small town where all her Christmas Hope books take place and would love to live there. The residents of the town really bring it to life, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. They're always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need, and I love how all their lives intertwine into a beautiful, intricate web. Every time I read one of Ms. VanLiere's books, I'm reminded of the It's a Wonderful Life principle that each of our lives touch so many others, we are simply part of a much larger picture and not an island unto ourselves. I also enjoyed the fact that The Christmas Secret is a little more upbeat than some of the earlier books in the series that dealt with heavier topics. This one even has a wonderfully serendipitous little romance, which as a romance lover, I thoroughly appreciated. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better book to put me in the holiday spirit.

The author continues her tradition of alternating first and third person POVs. In this book, the first person narrator is Christine, a struggling single mother of two young children. As the story opens, Christine loses her job as a waitress due to circumstances outside her control. She's been late to work several times due to unreliable babysitters and is given one last warning. The next day, her car is trapped in her driveway by the car of a older woman who has had a heart attack at the wheel. Fortunately, Christine is able to save the woman's life, but her heroic effort is lost on her boss. Luckily, she manages to find employment at another restaurant, but her life has otherwise become one huge instance of the old adage “when it rains, it pours.” She's constantly threatened by an ex-husband who isn't paying child support, but who dares to call social services on her. She's being evicted for not keeping up with her rent, and then, all the Christmas gifts she buys for her children are stolen from her car, not to mention, the car breaks down. Poor Christine just can't seem to catch a break, but in spite of being desperately in need herself, she generously takes time to talk with and monetarily help another woman who is a regular customer at the restaurant.

The primary third person narrator is Jason, who is the grandson of Marshall Wilson, owner of the iconic Wilson's department store that has become the centerpiece of the town in these books. While in between jobs, Marshall invites Jason to come work for him in his store. In Jason's mind, it isn't the ideal job, but having nothing better to do while waiting for his headhunter to call, he agrees. Jason is a young accounting major who has a slightly overinflated sense of self-importance. He comes from the city and doesn't really pay much attention to the people around him. I love the lesson his grandfather teaches him with his repeated quizzes that business is not just about the numbers but the people. By the time Jason is finally able to answer the questions correctly, I think he's learned his lesson well. Marshall also encourages Jason to volunteer at Glory's Place, a program that assists single mothers and their children. I think Jason was a bit surprised to find how good he is with the kids. The thing I liked most about Jason though, was the gentle way he flirted with Christine every time he came into the restaurant. Initially, she gives him the cold shoulder, because she thinks he's there playing spy for her ex-husband. In spite of her stand-offish-ness, Jason never gives up on trying to get her to go out with him, until slowly but surely these two start to fall for one another even though neither knows the other's real name. Through all of his experiences with the store, the kids, and Christine, Jason gradually comes to realize that he wants more out of life than what he's been pursuing up to that point. He wants a forever kind of love like his grandparents shared.

A few of the secondary characters get their own POV scenes. Marshall is struggling with a life-changing decision. Gloria ([book:The Christmas Promise|831253]) returns along with her best friend, Miriam. The two of them become a support system for Christine. Patricia Addison ([book:The Christmas Hope|307143]) is the social worker who looks into the allegations of child neglect brought by Christine's ex-husband. Many other characters from past novels in the series have briefer supporting roles, or at the very least, are seen in the background. I've always loved how Donna VanLiere can pull together multiple story lines into one big whole. There are certain subplots that the reader is kept in the dark about throughout the entire book, but when all is said and done, they all converge into a perfect ending that could easily be tied up with a bow. I think it's this cohesive sense of oneness that makes this little town feel so warm and close-knit. The Christmas Secret was another great read in this already wonderful series. I'll certainly be looking forward to continuing with the series and eventually re-reading it for many Christmases to come. ( )
  mom2lnb | Dec 27, 2021 |
This is the story of Christine Eisley and her children. I had a hard time getting into the book at first but the more I read the more I liked it. A truly heartwarming Christmas story with good editing and good character development. Many surprises in the book which although starts out depressing and hard to read ends up being a great story of hope in your fellow man and the idea that a community has to look out for its own. Really enjoyed this book after I got into it and loved the ending. ( )
  CrystalToller | Mar 5, 2019 |
The Christmas secret by Donna VanLiere
Story follows a woman, Kristy with teo children and an ex husband who doesn't pay child support. She's sturggling through holiday season to not only support them but keep her job and kids watched while working at the department store.
Also story follows a man-a relative of the owner of the department store and he's not quite adjusted to the work he's asked to do.
She ends up losing her job, DCYF visits and things are not going at all. Things get worse before they get better.
Like how the story combines the same people and there is joy during the season... Jason has to find the woman he had fired because she saved Judy's life-but she had been late for work. Love hearing of GLoria's Place, such a worthwhile place and things they do for others there.
Amazing how everyone is connected, love hearing about the secret.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Sep 7, 2018 |
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Epigraph
We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the secret sits in the middle and knows. --Robert Frost
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For Angela Gentry, who gets up each day and believes.
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I didn't know my father; it's how my mother wanted it or maybe what he wanted.
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When struggling young single mother Christine Eisley saves the life of an elderly woman working in Wilson's department store, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love.

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