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Posted April 16, 2009
One Holy Night by J.M. Hochstetler is a heartwarming story of forgiveness. But such a description sounds much too glib, because this is the gritty kind of forgiveness-the kind that must first endure the deepest despair imaginable. In 1967, Frank McRae still nurses his bitter hatred toward all Asians after witnessing unspeakable atrocities on the battlefields of the South Pacific during World War II. When Frank's only son Mike falls in love with a young Vietnamese girl while fighting in the war there, then marries her, Frank disowns his soldier son. On the home front Frank bargains with a God he hardly knows in a desperate attempt to keep his wife Maggie from dying from cancer. With his family torn apart, Frank comes face to face with the ugliness of his hatred in an unforgettable moment of truth. What happens next is one of the most touching scenes I've ever read in a novel.
I'm so proud of Hochstetler for weaving this story through the Viet Nam era and embracing the genuine, raw emotions of that tumultuous era of our history. This is a very different kind of Christmas story and one that stayed with me long after I reached the end.
Posted November 14, 2008
Set in Minnesota during the Viet Nam Era, Maggie, a mother fights ovarian cancer while her son goes off to war. Thankfully, her married daughter, Julie, a nurse is close at hand. Maggie's husband, Frank, a WWII veteran, is a man filled with prejudice and hatred toward the "enemies." The ugliness of war can destroy lives. Can God restore?<BR/><BR/>The story is predictable, and the characters are one-dimensional. However, there's much good inside these covers. Obviously, the author worked hard to get the details correct. The wrestling with God is dramatically realistic. Forgiveness and God's love are the themes, and these are lessons we all need to learn and relearn. A Study Guide is included. This is a different Christmas story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2008
This book gives a thoughtful glimpse into a time of great struggle for our country. It also gives the gifts of laughter and tears. You can't read One Holy Night and not examine your own life. It compels the reader to think about honor, family and forgiveness. Don't we all need a reason to think on those? This is a great book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 9, 2008
ONE HOLY NIGHT is a powerful, thought provoking tale of the battles many of us are faced with at some point in our lives - war, health, ingrained prejudices, overcoming heartache and loss, and, inevitably, the significance of having a Christian faith. I was deeply moved by the parallel J.M. Hochstetler created between the ongoing battle with Maggie's cancer and the battles her son fought in Viet Nam. I was also touched by Hochstetler's character Terry, and how she used him to illustrate to her readers that our soldiers are never the same once they've gone off to war. But God heals all wounds, even if a scar remains. The same is true for Frank who has gone through so much in his life. It was especially satisfying in the end to witness God's miraculous transformation of Frank and to see Romans 8:28 fulfilled to the highest degree! Well done, Ms. Hochstetler!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2008
One Holy Night is a story of true forgiveness, but not easy forgiveness. Frank McRae¿s losses span over 20 years and go so deep that he will probably never change and he doesn¿t want to change. His family won¿t give up hope though, and they continue to pray for this devoted husband and family man. What they need is a miracle, a true miracle of the heart. Set in the Vietnam War era, One Holy Night takes you back to the real story, not the protests or the politics, but the story of a family with a son and brother on tour of duty in Nam. J.M. Hochstetler weaves a captivating and often heart-wrenching story that is well worth the read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2008
A heart-wrenching story of a war few believed in, a son's duty, a mother's fight to survive cancer, and the devastating results of prejudice. One family's faith is tested to the limit...and beyond.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
Provocative and insightful, One Holy Night shows in rich detail how God can use the most trying circumstances to bring people around until they see how much they need each other, and need Him. This life-changing story will move you to tears as you experience the humility of a young Vietnamese woman, her husband's desire to see his father heal, and the trials that bring them together in one desperate attempt to save another¿s life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2008
One Holy Night offers a poignant look into the lives of one family touched by war and loss. The McRae¿s are a real- to-life family, struggling to cope with the range of emotions and experiences that humans encounter. While Maggie (mother) battles cancer, Mike (son) fights for his life in Vietnam. While Dan and Julie (daughter) teach their parishioners and community to love through their ministry and example, Frank (father) struggles with deep-seated bitterness and hate that threatens to tear them all apart. Each member of the family has his or her personal demons to face, while working to relate to the family as a whole. The plotlines combine to create a touching story with characters that you will feel like you know. Be prepared with tissues. You will need them as you follow their stories through to the end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2008
One Holy Night is a stunning first release from Sheaf House, a new boutique publisher based in Tennessee. One of the best things about this book is its reader friendly design. The font size and legibility, along with premium paper, contribute to easy reading, even in low light. Kudos to the design team at Sheaf House! Since savoring the last page of J.M. Hochstetler¿s story, I have found myself revisiting the characters regularly as if they were members of my own family. The rich characterization and lush description place the reader comfortably in the midst of the story setting: the heartland of America near the end of the Vietnam War. Any reader who can¿t relate to this turbulent era in U.S. history will grow in understanding, and those who lived during that time will be reminded of the division it created. Amazingly, Hochstetler tackles several big issues¿love, loyalty, war and death¿while maintaining a positive thesis. Family can survive. Human love is grander in weakness than in strength. And faith is, by necessity, stronger in tragedy than in triumph. One Holy Night is a soon-to-be-classic ¿miracle story¿ with an inspirational message that will warm your heart with love. It is a wonderful statement of faith and a gift of hope.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 2, 2008
J.M. Hochstetler makes another mark on Christian fiction with ONE HOLY NIGHT, a moving and inspirational tale of family, love, war, prejudice, and heartwrenching loss. Though I'm not usually interested in stories set during the Vietnam war, I quickly became caught up in the lives of Hochstetler's characters and felt their joy, pain, and struggle to either hold tight to their faith or open their heart to God. Warning: The deeper you journey into this painfully honest tale, the more you'll need a ginormous box of tissues close by. Very recommended!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 15, 2008
Set in the sixties, One Holy Night offers so much more story than the title infers. Hochstetler's writing enables you to suspend disbelief and enter the 60's, that era of awakening from small-town innocence to the awareness all is not right with the world. The author is a master at building complex characters that will steal your heart. This poignant tale of forgiveness and healing is a far cry from predictable. And it definitely wasn't what I was expecting, but so much more. It's a tale of Frank's family as they journey through sickness, unbelief and war. His son, Mike, struggles with not being there for his mom, Maggie, in her battle with cancer. Mike's letters from the battlefields in Viet Nam reveal some of war's stark reality. Big sister, Julie, shares her mother's faith along with her pastor husband, Dan, but despairs over her dad's lack and her brother's uncertainty. The faith journey is a realistic one. I loved how Hochstetler portrays Julie questioning God. Too often writes give us plastic icons, bearers of strength and platitudes. Not so in One Holy Night. But how they deal with the hurt is something I could relate to. And isn't that what we want in inspirational fiction? I give One Holy Night a very high recommendation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.