The Christmas Note [NOOK Book]


Donna VanLiere?s Christmas books have enthralled millions of readers. Now she delivers a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women?a friendship that will change each of their lives forever.

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, ...

See more details below
The Christmas Note

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99 price


Donna VanLiere’s Christmas books have enthralled millions of readers. Now she delivers a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women—a friendship that will change each of their lives forever.

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?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"VanLiere fashions a charming tale for the holiday season."
--RT Book Reviews
"The Christmas Note is a delightful story, highly recommended for any time of the year."
"Very enjoyable and has just the right amount of Christmas in it. I recommend it for sure. And I can't wait to read more from Donna VanLiere!"

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429989411
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 224,920
  • File size: 229 KB

Meet the Author

Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. Her much-loved Christmas Hope series includes The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies for CBS Television; The Christmas Secret; The Christmas Journey; and The Christmas Hope, which was adapted into a film by Lifetime. She is also the author of The Angels of Morgan Hill and Finding Grace. VanLiere is the recipient of a Retailer's Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, and a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year. She is a gifted speaker who speaks regularly at conferences. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and their children.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


All things must change to something new, to something strange.

November 30

I look out the window and wait, wondering what will happen today. Life is weird. Just when I think I’m making heads or tails of it, when I’m getting used to today, along comes a new morning. The kids are running through the con do screaming, listening to their own voices echo off the naked walls. As Ethan checks out every closet and cupboard space, his face is fixed in a wide, transforming smile, just like his father’s. Emma is like me, more cautious as she looks, envisioning where her things will go. Her eyes flame out fiery blue from her olive face as she swings her favorite stuffed animal, a bunny named Sugar, around her bedroom. When I was six, I had a stuffed dog named Henry. He’s somewhere in the moving boxes. Ethan says that now that he’s six he doesn’t need a stuffed animal anymore, but I noticed he brought Friska the one-eared dog in the car with him. Seems all of us, no matter how old, have a hard time letting go sometimes.
The clouds look upset, puffing the sky up in a solid wall of gray. I hate moving when the trees have dropped their leaves. Everything’s drab and bare and the feeling of emptiness chokes me. But that’s today. Tomorrow will be different. “The truck is here!” I yell from the living-room window. My cell phone rings and I see that it’s my mother. “It just pulled up,” I say to her. “Bring your crew anytime.”
I haven’t lived near my mother since I left for college sixteen years ago, but Kyle and I always wanted to live closer to our parents; the trouble was always which one. Kyle’s parents are still living in the small Oklahoma town where Kyle was raised, but I’d have to travel too far for work as a hygienist if we moved there. My parents are divorced. They decided when Jeff and I were teenagers that they couldn’t live together anymore and it took me years to forgive them. I loved them always, but sometimes I couldn’t stand to talk to either one of them because of what their decision did to our family. Dad lives in a town in Arizona near his children from his second failed marriage and enjoys his grandchildren there, but my mom doesn’t live close to either Jeff or me. Not that she needed us; Miriam Lloyd-Davies stands just fine on her own, but I thought Emma and Ethan should be closer to her, three-blocks-away close, to be exact.
Ethan bolts past me and stands on the front stoop; it’s not big enough to be called a porch. The builder planted some nondescript shrub in the spot by the door in a halfhearted attempt to make it feel homey. The garage door for the adjoining condo opens and I notice a car turning into the driveway. Ethan waves at the driver like he’s been expecting her all day, and she pulls slowly up her drive, watching the moving men open the back of the truck, revealing all of our prized possessions. She stops her car and opens the door, staring at the movers without a hint of expression on her face. “Hi,” I say, crossing my arms over my chest against the cold.
“We’re moving in today,” Ethan says, stepping closer to her. “What’s your name?”
“Melissa.” She’s not heavy or thin, pretty or ugly. Her brown hair looks as if it was cut impatiently and her coat is too big for her. I can just see the tips of her fingers peeking from the sleeves.
“I’m Gretchen,” I say, stepping next to Ethan. “My daughter Emma is in the house.” She nods and I know she couldn’t care less.
“Emma’s eight,” Ethan says. “Two years older than me. My dad was in the army. We have all sorts of medals that he won.”
“Oh,” Melissa says, dragging the O out and raising her shabby brown eyebrows and puckering her lips in that way people do when they don’t approve of something: the soup, the new boyfriend, the performance of the car, the politician, or the way a new bra fits.
“All right,” I say, turning Ethan toward the moving truck and away from Miss Personality. “Let’s get busy.” She doesn’t offer to help or ask any questions of where we came from or how we ended up here, and from behind me I hear her garage door closing. I lead the men into the condo and point out where each box should go; in order to make today easier I had marked them with “kitchen,” “bathroom,” “bedroom 1,” “bedroom 2,” and “living room” as I packed up our former home.
Mom’s car pulls in behind the truck, and she and her best friend Gloria step out. Mom is wearing black slacks and a soft green sweater. “Please tell me you’re not unpacking boxes in angora, Mom,” I say, walking toward the car. Ethan slams himself into her legs, and Gloria, although it’s only been twelve weeks since I was here scoping out a place to live, greets me with one of her I-haven’t-seen-you-in-twenty-years hugs. She’s outfitted in what a normal person moves in: jeans and a lightweight cotton shirt.
“No matter what you’re doing,” Mom says, reaching for me, “there’s never any reason to dress like a ruffian.”
“That’s what we are,” Gloria says, looking at me. “Ruffians.”
I’m still amazed that my mother and Gloria became best friends. Mom is all English with soft edges to her words and wardrobe, and Gloria is Georgia born and bred with fire in her soul and clothes from the thrift store, but they are good for each other. Gloria was widowed for more than a decade before marrying Marshall Wilson two years ago, but somehow she and Mom still find time to prowl around and work together at Glory’s Place, Gloria’s center for single moms and their children.
Another car comes to a stop behind Mom, and four young guys step to the curb. I greet each one of them but know I won’t remember any of their names ten minutes from now. My mind is inside each of those boxes and where the contents of each one needs to go. “Where’d you find all those guys?” I ask, watching them run up the ramp of the truck.
“Your mother still has a way with men,” Mom says, kissing the top of Ethan’s head.
Gloria laughs, walking to the house. “She put an ad in the university paper and said she’d pay for an hour’s worth of work.”
Mom trudges behind her, whispering through her teeth. “You make it sound so tawdry, Gloria!”
The truck is unloaded in less than ninety minutes with all the extra hands; the college guys even set up the beds for me and moved the furniture pieces into place. When they left at noon, they were carrying two pizzas Mom had ordered for them and a wad of cash. “I could have paid them, Mom,” I say, unloading a box of glasses into a kitchen cupboard. If I can get the kitchen set up, the beds made, and some clothes put into drawers, I’ll feel great about today.
“Nonsense. I told you. This was my gift. This,” she says, from the living room, “and a new sofa.”
I can’t see her but imagine her face pinched up into slight disgust. “We don’t need a new sofa. That one’s comfortable.”
“Well then, I’ll help with schooling for Ethan and Emma.”
“They’ll go to the public school, Mom. Taxes pay for that.” I can hear her sigh. “Hey, Mom! Why don’t you load up the kids and go get lunch for all of us?” She’s trying so hard to be positive and not step on my toes or say something that upsets the children that she’s driving me crazy. I’m relieved to get her out of the house for a while.
“She’s worried,” Gloria says. “The explosion and—” She turns to look at me.
“I know,” I say, not letting her finish. I’m worried, too, but not in the sick-to-my-stomach way. I’m cautious or anxious; I don’t know. I stopped believing a long time ago that life fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces are there; it just takes years, a lifetime, or sometimes beyond that life before the pieces make sense. I’m just trying to put together the ones that fit today.
“For all her faults … and Lord knows she has a lot,” Gloria says, making me smile, “deep down Miriam’s a person.”
I break down another box and lean against the counter. “I need to find a job, Gloria.”
She stops and stands, grunting as she rises. “I know you do, babe, and I’ve already got the word out. The good news is people always need clean teeth.”
“The bad news is the local dentists already have their hygienists. I’ll have to look at the next town or two over.”
Gloria wipes her forehead with her sleeve and small gray ringlets bob around her face. “Well, thankfully, people always get mad and quit or get fired or take a leave of absence to have a baby and then decide they don’t want to work anymore. So let’s hope somebody gets fired!”
I look around at everything that needs to be hooked together, like the TV and DVD player, the computer and printer, and all the stuff that goes with it to get Internet access. “I need my dad to come help me with a lot of this stuff that I don’t know how to do.”
Gloria snaps her head up to look at me. “When’s the last time Miriam’s seen him?”
“My college graduation.”
She laughs and swipes the hair out of her eyes. “That’ll be good!”
I hadn’t really thought of Dad and Mom seeing each other again when we decided to move to Grandon, but Dad will come visit the kids and me and Mom and Dad will be forced to be civil or hostile to each other. I can’t think about that right now. All I know is that I need my dad.
We work until seven and my body is sore. I can’t imagine how Mom and Gloria feel. Gloria looks as if she walked through a car wash, and Mom’s honey-colored bob has been shoved behind her ears and her black slacks are sagging, ready for the dry cleaner. The kitchen is organized and Mom has stocked our fridge and freezer with food for the upcoming week.
The kids give big hugs good-bye and I help them find their pajamas in the drawers. “How long do we have to share a room?” Ethan asks, picking out his red jammies with the big football on the front.
“Until I don’t know,” I say, looking through Emma’s chest of drawers.
“This room is too crowded,” Emma says, balling up her blue jeans.
“Don’t wad those up, please. Lay them at the end of your bed so you can wear them tomorrow.” I pull a purple nightie over Emma’s head and pull her long hair out of the neck hole. “This room isn’t too crowded. You’ve got room for your beds and you each have a chest of drawers.”
“There’s no room for us to play,” Emma says.
I sit on the edge of her bed and look at them. I am exhausted. “I think we’re all tired and it’s easy to be negative when you’re tired. Let’s eat some soup and call it a day.”
The kids are overtired and I calm Emma down from a long crying jag at dinner. “I miss Daddy,” she says, tears streaking her face. I cry along with her and hold her on my lap while she finishes eating.
When I put them to bed I run my thumb back and forth over each of their foreheads, trying to rub out or smooth away any worrying thoughts that are crowding their minds. We say our prayers—well, I say them for the kids because I know they’re beyond tired at this point—but I pray out loud as they snuggle deep into their blankets. I kiss them and fall into my own bed after a quick shower; it feels like my body is humming, still pulsing after a busy day. These plain-as-cracker walls are so empty. Kyle always helped hang pictures. If left to me, these walls might be forever barren. I see the box marked “bedroom photos” and sit on the edge of the bed, opening it. I remove the newspaper wrapped around two framed photos of Ethan and Emma’s baby pictures and I set them on the dresser. I unwrap the next frame and it’s a picture of Kyle and me at Niagara Falls before we had the kids. He’s holding me from behind, resting his chin on my shoulder because I’m so short. I smile, looking at him: so handsome with his thick, brown hair and sharp green eyes. “I miss you,” I say, tapping the picture.
Although it’s late, I pick up my cell phone off the nightstand and check one final time for texts and e-mails. I need to call the phone company tomorrow to get us hooked up with Internet and phone service ASAP so I can set up the computer. I spend an hour writing an e-mail because it takes me forever on the tiny cell phone pad. The muffled sounds of yelling creep through my walls, and I set the phone on my nightstand, listening. Our neighbor is shouting, but it seems to be one-sided, into the phone no doubt. I lie down and stare up at the ceiling, holding Kyle’s picture to my chest and waiting for her to hang up so I can get some sleep. The shouting ends and I wonder what she’s doing over there now? Pacing the floor? Raiding the refrigerator? Breaking something? It’s all part of the process. I know it well. Now I’m just tired and praying and thinking of Kyle and waiting for tomorrow.

Copyright © 2011 by Donna VanLiere
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 25, 2011

    Highly Recommended - feel good story!

    The Christmas Note is a story about two neighbors that seem to have nothing in common. One is a military mother that is raising her two kids alone. The other is a single woman that seems to want to stay to herself. Due to a tragedy and needing to inform the single woman that her mother has passed away, they become great friends and even more. There are a few unexpected twists and turns in this book that added an excitement to the book. I have read the other books in the series and love Donna's writing. I would strongly recommend this book to others and am going to pass it on to the friend that recommended her series to me!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Good Christmas book

    This was a good, easy Chrismas book to read. It is very short though. I would have liked it to be a little longer to really get to know the characters better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2011

    Wonderful story of forgiveness, hope, and redemption

    I just finished my first book of the Christmas season, The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere. What a wonderful, uplifting story to usher in the Advent season!

    Gretchen Daniels and her two young children have just moved into a condo near her mother to build a new life for her and her family. On her second day in her new home, a wearied and impatient man knocks on her door looking for the daughter of one of his apartment tenants who has died. He leaves the information with Gretchen and leaves it to her to break the news to Melissa, her quiet and timid single neighbor, that she has one week to clean out her mother's apartment.

    Gretchen offers to help Melissa clean out her mother's apartment. As they work side-by-side, Gretchen finds a note written to Melissa. A note that will change her life forever. As she tries to make sense of the incomplete note and its implications, Melissa only remembers her mother's drinking and carousing nature during her growing up years. What could her mom offer to her.... after her passing?

    An unlikely friendship forms between the two women as they encourage each other through life's challenges. Just as Melissa lives alone and always keeps to herself, Gretchen is awaiting the time when her wounded soldier/husband is able to return home. He was critically injured on September 15th in a bomb blast in Afghanistan while playing kickball with the local children.

    Click HERE to reach Chapter 1 and 2!

    This is a story of forgiveness, hope, and redemption. I loved how Donna weaves God's faithfulness through the storyline... Melissa's loving neighbor when she was a child, Mrs. Schweiger's daily prayers for her, and Gretchen's willingness to "come alongside" her during her darkest days.

    This is a wonderful book to remind each of us to really 'see' our neighbor and to walk with those around us through their valleys and rejoice with them on the hilltops. At first I was taken aback by how Donna VanLiere wrote each chapter from the point of view of either Gretchen or Melissa. As I continued reading, I loved the way that each chapter gave you and insight into their thoughts, feelings, and motivations of each person. Just like an aside in theater, it drew me into the story... these are not just characters in a book, but "friends" you can relate to.

    The Christmas Note is the newest edition in the Christmas Hope Series. For other books in the series, click here. I am looking forward to reading them all!

    My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    I received a complimentary copy of The Christmas Note Thomas Nelson Publishers
    and the BookSneeze program for my honest review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2011

    highly recommended

    Really enjoyed this book a fast read. Wonderful ending!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    I only wish it was longer!

    Sweet little book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A sweet Christmas story

    The Christmas Note is one of several books in a Christmas series. It doesn't have to be read with the other books, although after reading this one you are likely to go looking for the others.

    Gretchen and Melissa become next door neighbors right before Christmas. Both are dealing with their own brand of grief and loss. But neither would have imagined that the other could be of any help.

    If you like predictable, but sweet Christmas stories (and I do) than this book is great. There were several unexpected little twists in the book, but everything ends neatly and the way one would want it to. It will cheer your heart and make you thankful for the things you have this Christmas.

    I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Add 4

    Join The Comedy Club if u want some good fun join at comic first result ***COMEDIANS ONLY***

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An uplifting, tear-inducing story that reinforces your faith in

    An uplifting, tear-inducing story that reinforces your faith in human beings and their innate goodness is all found in this book. The characters are continually growing and creating new impressions as they develop and grow through the difficulties and experiences in the book, and while the importance of God and faith is never downplayed, it also does not become just a testament to Christianity. With two major points of view, and two very different lives that collide in the most providential of ways, the book will have even the most confirmed skeptic questioning the next coincidental happening in their own life. Truly a perfect book for the season, a great continuation of the series of Christmas stories by Donna VanLiere.

    **I received a hardcover copy of this book from the author for Book and Trailer Showcase eMagazine reviews. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Christmas Letter

    Loved this book. Can't wait for the next book. I have read the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Heartwarming Christmas Story

    Throughout the year and especially around this time, we look for hope. THE CHRISTMAS NOTE by Donna VanLiere is an enchanting story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption. It¿s a reminder we never know what¿s around the next corner for us or how our lives can impact others. Greetchen Daniels and her 2 children move into an apartment to be closer to her mother, Miriam. Moving in, the family encounters one of their neighbors, Melissa McCreary. Melissa is a loner and has very little to say to the noisy new neighbors. A man searching for Melissa winds up at Greetchen¿s door. Since Melissa isn¿t home, he wants Greetchen to tell her that her mother is dead and she has a week to clean out her apartment. Not wanting to get involved, but feeling she has to help, Greetchen informs Melissa and offers to help with the cleaning. Through a chain of events, the women find hope and uncover long-forgotten secrets that impact both their lives. The cast of supporting characters add charm, humor, and additional layers to the story. There are surprises along the way that will delight and enhance the story. Author Donna VanLiere does a wonderful job narrating the story. She gives warmth and compassion to the characters. She also gives each character their own unique voice. The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere, Read by Donna VanLiere, MacMillan Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1427213266, Unabridged, 4 Discs, Listening Time: 4 Hours 30 Minutes

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Great Christmas REad!

    This book intrigued me from the very beginning. After reading the back cover, and finding out this author also wrote "The Christmas Shoes", I knew it was one I had to read! If I were to pick my favorite character, I'm not sure I could narrow it down! Gretchen: I love the interaction and relationships she has with her children. She may be a stressed out mom wearing too many hats, but she will always be there for her kids! She is also another example of one never being too old to want the best for your parents. Her mom and dad may be divorced, and living in separate areas of the country, but she can be soo sneaky in trying to bring them back together! Melissa: I actually like her stand-offish attitude, she came from a tough childhood and had to learn to survive on her own. Over time, with the right friends, she learns to open up, relax, and enjoy the company of others. She has a lot to learn about family and friendships. Miriam and Gloria. I loved these 2 ladies! It was hard to believe they have only known each other for a short time, they seemed as if they have been life long friends! Their friendship is a great example of how opposites attract and can compliment each other! Ramona: Miriam's dead beat of a mother (and I use the term "mother" lightly!). This is the one character I did not enjoy. From what we know of her, she would be an example of someone who should not receive the "Mother of the Year" award...or even be nominated for it. No, we do not know her background, or much about her life, but her attitude toward motherhood and parenting are enough to make me dislike her! While this book was a slow start for me, it didn't take long to pick up speed! I found myself enjoying most of the characters, cheering them on, and before I knew it, I had reached the end of the book! I give this book 4 stars and highly recommend it for your Christmas reading! **I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.**

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Christmas Note

    Gretchen Daniels and her two children Ethan age six and Emma age eight move into a condo to be close to Gretchen's mom Miriam ,who lives just three blocks away.Gretchen is just waiting for the day when her husband Kyle return home after being injured overseas while serving in the army. They meet their next door neighbor Melissa, who seems to keep to herself. After living for one day in the condo the landlord shows up at Gretchen's door looking for Melissa with the message that her mother has passed away and he is giving her one week to clear out her mothers apartment. Gretchen offers to help Melissa with the task and finds a note written to Melissa from her mother, a mother whom Melissa didn't have a very good relationship with. The note Gretchen finds will change Melissa's life, and the friendship that forms between the two women becomes something they both need. While I would consider "The Christmas Note" a novella, that I was able to read in just a few hours, it wasn't short on story or characters, and the Christian message of God's faithfulness really touched me. There were so many things to like about this story, the characters were easy to connect with, and Gretchen's story of looking for a job as well as missing her husband was very easy to imagine, and also was very timely. I liked the way the author allowed us not to only get the point of view of Gretchen but also allowed us to experience Melissa's thoughts and feelings as well. If you enjoy stories that will put you in the mood for the holidays, filled with love, faith and finding forgiveness then your going to want to read this one. This is the first book that I have read by this author but this story has me wanting to read all of her work. Highly recommended! *A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    If only it weren't in present tense

    Summary: Gretchen is dealing with life without her husband, who is Germany after being injured as a soldier in Afghanistan. Her neighbor, a quiet, reclusive woman named Melissa, has troubles of her own. She mother recently died, and she feels freed because of it. With a negative childhood behind her, Melissa embarks on a journey to find two lost siblings, who she only finds out about after she finds an incomplete note from her mother in her mother's apartment. Gretchen offers to help, and she slowly becomes good friends with Melissa, giving Melissa someone to believe in her. With surprises around the corner, the two will learn that there are no coincidences - only God's hand at work.

    Review: I love Donna VanLiere. I read her autobiography a few years ago and was deeply touched and inspired. "The Christmas Note" was my first Donna VanLiere novel, although she's written several other bestselling novels, including "The Christmas Shoes." Her story in "The Christmas Note" did not disappoint me. An endearing novel with relatable characters, "Christmas Note" will attach itself to your heart - that is if you can get past the first chapter, and the second, and the third... and so on.

    Unfortunately for me, VanLiere chose to write in present tense, going back and forth between the two main characters narrating their stories. This reads as such: "I walked to the fridge. I got out some milk. I drank some milk." And so on. I HATE PRESENT TENSE NOVELS. I got used to the present tense narration as I read along, but each time I set the book down and then picked it up to read it again, I had to get used to the present tense again. Had it not been a review book, I would have stopped reading after the first chapter.

    But maybe you don't mind present tense. It detracted from the story for me, but not everyone will be annoyed by it. If you're not annoyed by present tense novels, you'll enjoy "The Christmas Note" immensely.

    Rating: 4/5 stars

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Heart touching book!

    I just received "The Christmas Note", Donna VanLiere's new, inspirational novel. While it's a fairly simple, sweet, easy to read book - the truth is, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down until I had read cover to cover. The same author who brought us several other heartwarming Christmas stories such as "The Christmas Shoes" has done it again in adding this to her wonderful collection.

    I think one of the main things that touched me from the book, was the reminder of there being so many around us in each of little worlds, and how we can truly make it a better place through being open to the little possibilities our way. And while I know this is a novel, I have lived these types of experiences myself to know they really do happen.

    I think this is a wonderful book, one that can be shared with the whole family, and I can see sitting down in front of a warm fire this Christmas season with a hot cup of chocolate in one hand and "The Christmas Note" in another as I read a chapter at a time with my family.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Another Fantastic Read by Donna VanLiere

    The Christmas Note Donna VanLiere Thomas Nelson Christian/General Fiction Oct 25th-2011 5 Stars The Christmas Note is a novel about two women different in many ways are drawn together by fate and a simple half written note. Injured while serving overseas Gretchen Daniels husband transferred to a hospital in Germany .With her two small children Gretchen moves into an apartment complex to be closer to her divorced mother at this time. When she meets her next door neighbor Melissa, it seems she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and wants nothing to do with Gretchen and her family. When a man leaves a message for Gretchen to give to Melissa things start getting better between them . The message- Melissa mother has passed away and he wants her apartment emptied and cleaned. With Gretchen helping a note is found that Melissa actually has two siblings and Gretchen entices her to seek them out. As life gets better for the two women, Melissa discovers secrets about her family she never knew which leads to an exciting conclusion. I was thrilled when I seen Donna VanLiere had a new book out as I have everyone of her books. This was such an enjoyable read as with all of her books. Her books just seem to cry about with love, faith and forgiviness A b. Here are two women as different as night and day and with a little bit of trust and friendship love abounds not only with compassion but a sweet Christmas miracle. The Christmas Note just like all of her other Christmas books is very touching and uplifting. In fact I sat down and read the book in one evening. I could not put it down If you have not read any of Ms. VanLieres books you are in for a treat especially if you like stories dealing with the Christmas Season.Highly recommended. This complimentary copy was provided by the publisher through Book Sneeze and their blogging program. A positing review was not required and all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Gretchen and her children move into a condo to be closer to her mother. While moving in Gretchen and her children meet their neighbor Melissa. Melissa doesn't seem very friendly, but Emma and Ethan still try to make friends.

    Shortly after moving a man shows up at Gretchen's door. He is Melissa's mother's landlord. Melissa's mother Ramona has died and her landlord is trying to find Melissa. He leaves it to Gretchen to tell Melissa about her mother. Gretchen doesn't know why, but she is compelled to go over and offer Melissa her assistance in helping clear out her mother's apartment.

    Melissa has never felt love from her mother. Ramona went from one boyfriend to another and from one apartment to another Melissa's entire childhood. She doesn't know why she accepts Gretchen's offer of help, but she is grateful for this neighbor who insists on becoming part of her life. While cleaning the apartment Melissa discovers a note that her mother started to write to her. It indicates that Melissa has siblings that she never knew about. This is both exciting and devastating news for Melissa. She is angry that her mother never told her this while she was alive.

    Gretchen has her own problems. After her husband was involved in a bombing while serving in Afghanistan she has moved her children to be closer to her mother. While starting over and trying to keep their family together she doesn't understand why she feels the urge to help Melissa. With the help of Gretchen's mother and her quirky friend Gloria, Melissa finds the love of friends that she has never known before.

    This was a heart-warming, feel-good story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It had the "Happily Ever After" ending that I crave so much in stories. This is the perfect book for a cold winter day curled up on the couch with a fire going and hot chocolate by your side!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 16, 2011

    great tale

    The Christmas Note is a book written by Donna VanLiere and published by Thomas Nelson. I enjoyed reading this book not only because Christmas is my favorite holiday but also because it was a well written book. It is a very inspiration book, and can be very uplifting for anyone who needs a little reminder that you're important. Although the book is fiction, it is a tale of things that can actually happen in real life. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Christmas, or anyone looking for a good read. I read this book rather quickly, it flowed nicely and I didn't have to go back and re-read anything. There was nothing confusing about this book, and the author is very talented. It kept my interest the entire time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a terrific tale of two females bonding as friends

    Accompanied by her two small children (Emma and Ethan) while her husband is overseas with the military, Gretchen Daniels moves into an apartment building to be closer to her divorced mom Miriam and to her job as a hygienist. On their first day in their new place, they meet their neighbor reticent Melissa McCreary, who barely acknowledges the Daniels family. Melissa is an urban hermit who owns almost nothing and relates with no one.

    The landlord seeks Melissa who is not home. He asks Gretchen to inform Melissa that her mother Ramona died and she needs to clear out the apartment. Gretchen offers to help Melissa with the difficult task. The apartment is a disaster of junk with no items of value except personal stuff. However, a note reveals to a stunned Melissa that she has two siblings. Gretchen and Melissa begin a search.

    The latest Donna VanLiere Christmas inspirational (see The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing and The Christmas Hope) is a terrific tale of two females bonding as friends. Each gains much from their friendship. With a great late twist, fans will enjoy this entertaining holiday tale by one of the best authors at providing good will to all.

    Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2011

    It's that time of year....

    I have this obsession with Christmas books. I just love reading them and it doesn't matter what time of the year it is, but I have this obsession with one author, Donna Van Liere. You may recognize her as the author of "The Christmas Shoes", but did you know that she has also written "The Christmas Blessing, The Christmas Hope, The Christmas Promise and The Christmas Secret." All which are excellent books.. They always get you in the mood for Christmas. Plus, the covers of each book are beautiful and make you feel like you are in a Christmas wonder land.

    Gretchen Daniels is the mother of two children and is trying to build a new life while providing stability. Melissa, their next door neighbor is someone who keeps to herself. Melissa is out one day when the land lord shows up and leaves a message with Gretchen (the neighbor). Melissa's mother has passed away and needs to clean out the place. Gretchen offers assistance in this process. As the two began to clean, a not is discovered which changes everything.

    This is a quick read and can be read in one sitting. This book will put you in the holiday spirit!

    Thank you Thomas Nelson for proving me a copy of this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Fantastic Christmas Story!

    It's THAT time of year! The time of year that I begin reading Christmas stories. Why?!?! You, may, ask? Simply because I can't read all the great stories before Christmas and these great reads get me into the holiday mood.
    So, this year I'm beginning with a new to me author, Donna VanLiere. Actually, last year someone told me what a grand read The Christmas Hope was to them. But I missed that read.
    I absolutely love the cover of this book and so I began reading. Gretchen Daniels lives with her two children in an apartment, trying to restart her life but yet give her children the joy and stability they need. Their neighbor, Melissa, moves next door.
    Melissa is quite closed mouth, rather shy and barely meets a person's eyes as she passes. Gretchen doesn't know what to think of this new neighbor but feels compassion for her.
    One day Melissa is gone and a local landlord comes to Melissa's apartment-she is out, so he stops at Gretchen's place to leave a message for Melissa.
    This is where the story takes heart. Melissa's mom has passed away and she must go clean the place out. Gretchen offers to help Melissa and together they enter Melissa's mother's abode. Not much to salvage but there is a note that changes everything!
    The reader is captured by the feelings that overcome Gretchen and Melissa. Seemingly two opposite peoples, yet so alike!
    A fantastically, heart warming,!
    So glad I chose this as my first holiday read! Don't miss this story of forgiveness, love and friendship.
    Isn't this what the Christmas spirit is all about?
    Don't miss this great Christmas read!
    *This book was provided review by BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishing*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)