In Donna VanLiere's The Christmas Secret, Christine Eisley is an overworked single mother of two children who’s trying desperately to make ends meet and hold down a demanding waitressing job. Her former husband’s no help. He makes no effort to pay child support payments and has the gall to frequently call child protection services on Christine.
You know the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished?” Well one day, on Christine’s way to work, her life changes for the worse when she takes the time to help someone in need.
Will Christine find purpose in the challenges she faces? Can she regain her childhood sense of wonder during the Christmas season?
Trying to read a book with many characters during the Christmas rush, a chaotic time of the year, can be a daunting task. Therefore, for a minute, I had trouble keeping straight all the characters as they were introduced into the story. But let me tell you, it’s well worth the effort. Once you do, the story flows. I liked how this story somewhat resembled the six degrees of separation theory. Each character linked to another character but only we, as readers, see the connection.
The Christmas Secret isn’t marketed as Christian fiction, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Christine question and struggle with her faith. Christine’s relationship with God felt real and tugged at my own faith where I question God’s purpose for my life.
My favorite characters were Betty, the diner owner, and Marshall, the owner of Wilson’s Department Store. Their commitment to really see and listen to people touched me. They recognized and tried to meet the needs of hurting people without judgment.
Donna VanLiere writes a Christmas book every year. I will be on the lookout next year for her next offering.