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Posted December 29, 2013
Two sweet stories--one historical and one contemporary--tied together by a family thread and the setting of New York City. The main characters deal with forgiving themselves of past failures and opening up to blessings of a future together. I liked the continuation of the family a few generations later, with the grandson who carried on the tradition of serving as a soldier, and who was learning how to reach out to his community as a Christian. The little girls in both stories--Laurie and Molly--sounded adorable. An enjoyable light read for Christmastime!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2013
Two heart warming Christmas stories from one generation to another generation. We go from 1947 to present day.
Red Kettle Christmas
A very heart warming, Christmas story. Two people who come from different past meet on Thanksgiving and God directs their way to find hope, forgiveness and love. You will enjoy getting to know both Mike and Karen as they open up about themselves. You can probably find your self in some of both of their characters. It is always nice to read a good christian book that deals with imperfect people who seek God’s will even in hard times and difficult circumstances, even if that was not the first path taken. I have only read a couple of Ruth’s books however I have truly enjoyed them both and look forward to reading more.
As the family has grown and grandchildren are on the scene we reconnect with the Wolzak family. I always love reading more into a story and here is another part of the story. It played out different in my mind then the writer has written, however she has done a wonderful job and helps us remember the true meaning of Christmas. She keeps you wondering till the last couple of pages. I would recommend this book to anyone who has liked the Love finds you series and Christmas stories.
Posted November 9, 2013
The Best Christmas story I’ve Read Since “A Christmas Carol”…
Imagine it’s December 19th, 1843 and you’ve just bought a first day, first edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. You open to the front piece and learn that it is a ‘ghost story’. Maybe you are surprised and feel that this will be something very different in Christmas stories. Even if you felt this at the time, you could not have known that you were about to read an ‘instant classic’ that for the next 170 years would never go out of print.
Could you have thought then in December 1843 that this little novella, “A Christmas Carol” could have packed so powerful a punch that it forever changed the world’s view of Christmas? I like to think that I would have seen the greatness in “A Christmas Carol”.
I felt that way after reading “Red Kettle Christmas”. Like “A Christmas Carol” this novella is different from all the other Christmas stories I’ve read before. This is not a book written to be a Christmas story. This is a classic story that takes place at Christmas time. This is another example of the author’s pioneering venture into ‘romance realism’ – a subgenre of romance in which serious topics are dealt with that traditional publishers almost always avoid. Her “Winter’s End” dealt with hospice, “Try, Try, Again” with adultery, “Running on Empty” with pedophilia. These books have been critically acclaimed. “Running on Empty” is a runaway success.
“Red Kettle Christmas” deals with the shame and public ostracism that came with being an unwed mother in 1947. Not only is the heroine an unwed mother, who was rejected and sent out into the world by her parents, she is also a nurse who works and lives in a Salvation Army hospital home for other unwed mothers.
This is not a typical romance theme nor is this a typical Christmas story. “Red Kettle Christmas” is a powerful trip back into the past. Today, in some communities, up to eighty percent of mothers are unwed. It’s the norm. But it was not so long ago when this was not the case. In 1947, when “Red Kettle Christmas” opens, the ‘greatest generation’ was coming back from the war and the world was in ruins. Mankind had never seen so much uncertainty as to the future. The atomic bomb made it possible for man to destroy life on earth. Many at this time saw unwed mothers as a sign of the final collapse of civilization itself. It was not the unwed mother herself who was the problem. No, the unwed mother was seen as the canary in the mine who signaled the immediate danger ahead.
Like Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, “Red Kettle Christmas” is of social significance. It is one thing to help a poor homeless person at Christmas. It is quite another thing to help someone who society highly disapproves of, someone who poses a risk to society itself, and someone who is thought to have brought this ‘evil’ upon herself because of her lack of morality. “Red Kettle Christmas” takes you back in time and gives you a Christmas story that has much of the gravitas that has made “A Christmas Carol” a classic that the public loves and still reads today. The second novella, “Manhattan Miracle” is actually a continuation of “Red Kettle Christmas” in the present. I was so happy to learn that the second story would kept the warm glow of “Red Kettle Christmas” going a little longer. I didn’t want to let go. I think everyone will enjoy Anna Schmidt’s novella. Together these two stories make a bundle of Christmas Joy that readers will find irrespirable!