I enjoy reading Christmas books. It's nice to retreat from the swirl of holiday madness to spend time reading; it refuels me. Last year among my Christmas reading was THE CHRISTMAS SHOES. It was an escape read that had enough sentimentality to bring me to tears and strong characters I could visualize. (For the record, I missed the movie when it aired.)
It was the story of a young boy named Nathan whose mom was dying of cancer. He wanted to buy her a pair of pretty shoes for her last Christmas as he knew this would make her smile. On his shopping trip he realized he did not have enough money to buy them, and Robert, a kindly stranger stepped in to buy them on his behalf. Robert was experiencing his own challenges at this point and this small purchase made him re-think his choices. In these few moments both Nathan and Robert learn about the power of giving and of faith.
In THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING readers catch up with Nathan and Robert again. With the wonderful way that VanLiere writes and recaps the story, readers of THE CHRISTMAS SHOES will feel like they are catching up with extended family on an annual holiday visit. Those who are picking up with VanLiere with this book will have the pieces filled in.
Nathan is now a third year medical student. He chose this profession after watching the suffering that his mom went through; he wanted to help others. Nathan loves medicine and healing, but while he is on a hospital rotation in the cardiology unit he questions whether he is cut out for this career choice.
Two patients --- a young woman named Meghan Sullivan and a young boy named Charlie --- touch Nathan and share with him the power of love in the healing process. Lessons his mother shared with him in notes written before her death enhance the book and allow VanLiere to move the story along at a good clip.
Robert, who had purchased the shoes for Nathan, is now a very successful attorney. He will cross paths with Nathan and Meghan and wrap up their stories quite nicely.
THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING is sweet and emotional. It's a perfect holiday gift to give or get.
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald on October 28, 2003