Sunday, December 25, 2011

"The Christmas Note" by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Note
by Donna VanLiere
208 pages

Short Version: After recently moving in to a condo with her children, Gretchen offers to help her neighbor clean out her mother's apartment and a friendship starts to unfold.

Why I Read It: I won this book on BookTrib and it arrived at my house just in time to read for Christmas.

The Book: From Goodreads
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?

My Thoughts: I had a little bit of trouble really getting into this book in the beginning. Each chapter has a different narrator, either Gretchen or Melissa. I like having different view points, but the way it was written seemed a bit impersonal. I was not really feeling the emotions the characters were feeling. Gretchen is dealing with her husband not being around and Melissa is coping with the death of her alcoholic mother. Those were both big parts of their lives but I could not get how they were really feeling. Once Gretchen and Melissa start interacting more I started to like the book a little better. Melissa made a transformation throughout the book. In the beginning she was very anti-social and stayed to herself all the time. As Gretchen came into her life this started to change and she came to have friends and even family. There were a few twists and surprises I was not expecting which I liked. Overall it was a good book for getting into the holiday spirit. It reminded me of family and the things that are important, not only this time of year but all the time.

3/5 Stars

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