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A Marriage Carol-Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman. Moody/River North
Christmas Eve marks Jacob and Marlee Ebenezer's wedding anniversary and, 20 years later, the official dissolution of their marriage. Their journey to sign the divorce papers, however, turns into much more when a blizzard and an accident threaten lives. Marlee finds safety in a farmhouse where "Jay" helps her see her past, present, and future and offers a new way of seeing herself, husband, and marriage. The authors seamlessly blend the cleansing qualities of snow ("Melting snow exposes. Each flake is like a choice we make") with transparent reference to Dickens's A Christmas Carol to create a challenging yet heartwarming tale that will touch readers long beyond the holiday season. This novella-combining the storytelling prowess of Fabry (Almost Heaven) and the marriage expertise of Chapman (The Five Love Languages series)-will change lives with its message "that there is great power in small choices." Chapman's afterword and discussion questions deepen the impact. This is a tiny book with a huge message. (Sept.)
GENRE GO ROUND REVIEWS BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
August 9, 2011
Two decades of marriage that began on Christmas Eve is ironically ending on Christmas Eve. The relationship between Marlee and Jacob Ebenezer is colder than the wintry weather outside the car they share on their way to see the divorce lawyer to sign the final papers. Both worry about telling their three kids though they agree to say nothing until after the holidays. Driving on the road to the attorney leads to a fight as Marlee feels with the snow and ice they should remain on the main road while Jacob chooses a shortcut. On a curve with headlines bearing down on them, Jacob loses control.
Marlee awakes alone and frozen; Jacob is nowhere in sight; her cellphone fails to work. She leaves the car looking for Jacob but sees lights so heads there. An elderly man Jay opens the door allowing the shivering Marlee to warm up, but he insists no other visitor has arrived. He searches for Jacob but fails to find him. Marlee and the couples' retreat center owner chat while his wife rests upstairs thinking about God and marriage. As her host goes to check on his wife, Marlee sees her past and present through her loving family members, and a future path with two choices.
Paying obvious homage to Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman provide an engaging family fantasy that starts off with an emotional question of "When do we tell the kids?" An entertaining parable, the story line focuses on the importance of honesty communicating as the key fuels to maintain loving relationships. Although the cast is never deeply developed beyond relational roles, readers will appreciate this fun contemporary version of the classic.
"Nothing hits our hearts like a story. Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman have written a fictional parable that expresses the true pain in and hope available for so many marriages. It's an easy read that can make big changes in your marriage!" -- Dr. Juli Slattery, co-host on the Focus on the Family daily broadcast
"Sometimes it takes a hard skid and crash before people stop long enough to realize we can't receive the kind of love we crave unless we're willing to live it. In A Marriage Carol, Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman illustrate that taking the leap of faith to work through difficulties can result in unexpected blessings and the promise of great reward for those who refuse to give up. A joyous, passionate honeymoon of a story perfectly fit for the Christmas season." -- Francine Rivers, bestselling author of Redeeming Love
"Two of my favorites dish up a holiday feast of magic and hope." --Jerry B. Jenkins, bestselling author & owner, Christian Writers Guild