Title: The Christmas Town
Author: Donna VanLiere
Format: Digital ARC, 240 pages
Publication Details: October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): General Fiction; Christmas
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.
Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.
Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.
When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?
I feel like I was a little bit mislead by the title of this book as I was expecting a story about a lonely woman who is taken in by a crazy town that loves Christmas or something to that effect – you know the type. The Christmas Town wasn’t really that, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Christmas Town is actually about twenty year old Lauren who has been in and out of foster homes all her life but is now living independently and working at a grocery store. The one thing Lauren wants is a family to spend Christmas with so she puts an ad on the internet.
In the mean time, she befriends a lady who was involved in a car accident which leads her to a charity-run community centre where she is thrust into the melee of a big event.
The Christmas Town is a nice, light read and I enjoyed the story. But it didn’t feel particularly festive which is what disappointed me about it. Lauren was an interesting protagonist but her character was a little bit too plain for me. I would have thought that someone who had been through everything she had would have more depth to her. She felt too simple.
The cast of characters she meets in Grandon are nicely balanced and varied but no one stuck out. I also found it quite farcical in places with all the missed meetings and misunderstandings.
I did however enjoy that the story wasn’t what I had expected from the cover, and liked the feel-good community spirit that was at the heart of it. If you’re looking for a quick, light read but not one that will throw Christmas in your face, give this one a try.