Christmas at Carnton: A Novella

Christmas at Carnton: A Novella

by Tamera Alexander

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Overview

Christmas at Carnton: A Novella by Tamera Alexander

“This tender love story between two wounded people whom God brings together for healing is a book readers will enjoy anytime—but especially at Christmas!” —Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love and A Voice in the Wind

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year-old son. With the bank threatening to evict them, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310293248
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 237,719
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

NOVEMBER 13, 1863 FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE 21 MILES SOUTH OF NASHVILLE

"Very nice stitching, Mrs. Prescott."

Aletta looked up, not having heard her employer's approach. Focused on her task, she was determined to leave the factory on time that afternoon. It was a special day, after all, and Andrew would be excited. Her son needed this encouragement. They both did. "Thank you, Mr. Bodeen, for your kind words."

"You always do excellent work, Mrs. Prescott. Every stitch so straight and even, perfectly matching the one before."

She smiled her thanks despite perceiving a negative quality in his voice. Not that Mr. Bodeen ever sounded jovial. Unmarried, not much older than she was, he always seemed a sad sort. A discontented, melancholy man. But then, how could any able-bodied, healthy man maintain a sense of self-worth, much less pride, when he'd chosen to stay behind and work in a factory instead of joining the rest of the men who'd left home and loved ones to fight in the war?

Like her beloved Warren had done.

Her throat tightened with emotion. Would it always hurt this much? She swallowed. Nearly one month to the day since she'd received the letter from the War Department, yet she still had trouble believing he was gone. Perhaps if she could see his body one last time, she'd be better able to accept that —

"Would you join me in my office, Mrs. Prescott?"

"In your office, sir?" Aletta paused mid-stitch and looked across the rows of seamstresses to the clock on the factory wall. A quarter past four. Almost another hour before her shift was over. Then she felt the stares.

She looked around only to see the other women quickly bowing their heads and turning curious gazes back to their work. Except for one woman. On the opposite side of the factory. Aletta recognized her. Marian, she thought her name was. They'd begun working at Chilton Textile Mills about the same time. Marian was gathering her coat and reticule — and wiping tears from her eyes.

"Mrs. Prescott." Mr. Bodeen gestured. "My office, please."

Aletta laid aside the garment she'd been sewing, bothered by having to set it aside unfinished, while the greater part of her sensed that unfinished stitches should be the least of her concerns.

She followed him down the aisle, then past rows of coworkers, the click of her heeled boots marking off the seconds as the tension in the room swiftly registered.

Mr. Bodeen's office proved to be considerably more insulated from winter's chill than the factory, and she rubbed her hands together, welcoming the warmth while also trying to control her nerves. Her knuckles were stiff and swollen from long hours of stitching. But she had only to think of what Warren had endured to silence that frivolous complaint.

He'd always been careful not to reveal too many details about the war in his letters. But one night during his furlough home in April — the last time she'd seen him — after he'd banished any doubt she might have had about his continued desire for her, he'd lain beside her in the darkness and talked into the wee hours of morning. He talked all about the battles, life in the encampments, and the countless friends he'd made — and lost — during the war. "Friends as close as any brothers I might've had," he'd whispered, his strong arms tightening around her, his breath warm on her skin. "There's one fellow from right here in Franklin. Emmett Zachary. You'd like him, Lettie. Maybe you and his wife, Kate, could meet up sometime."

She'd never heard him go on like that. So unfettered, as though the weight of his soul had grown too heavy for him to bear alone. His words had painted indelible pictures in her mind. Images she'd have wished to erase, but for Warren's fingerprint on them.

Anything from him was something she wanted to hold on to.

She'd made a point to look up Kate Zachary, and they'd even had tea on two occasions. But the hours in each day seemed to fly, as did the weeks, and she hadn't seen Kate since the afternoon she'd visited her to tell her about the letter she'd received from the War Department. "... slain on the battlefield, having given the ultimate sacrifice for love of home and defense of country" is how the letter had been worded.

The notice had arrived only two days after she'd received a hastily written letter from Warren telling her he was faring well enough and that he'd penned two more letters to her that he would send shortly. The letters never arrived.

What she wouldn't give to have them now. To have him back.

"Please have a seat, Mrs. Prescott."

Aletta did as Mr. Bodeen asked, her gaze falling to a handwritten list atop his desk. Was it a list of names? She attempted a closer look as she sat. It was hard to read the writing upside down, and yet —

She was fairly certain she saw Marian's name, the coworker she'd seen crying moments earlier. Aletta swallowed, panic clawing its way up her chest.

"Mrs. Prescott, you know how much we appreciate your work. How you —"

"Please don't take away my job, Mr. Bodeen. Reduce my hours if you need to, but —"

"Mrs. Prescott, I —"

"I'm behind on the mortgage, Mr. Bodeen. And keeping food in the pantry is already a challenge. Mr. Stewart at the mercantile has extended my credit as far as he can, and I don't know what I'll —"

"I wish there were something else I could do, ma'am, but —"

"I have a son, sir. Andrew. He's six years old. Today, in fact." She tried to smile and failed. "He's waiting for me even now because we're supposed to —"

"Mrs. Prescott!" His voice was sharp. "Please do not make this more difficult on me than it already is. You are an exceptional worker, and I've written you an outstanding reference. Which is more than I'm doing for the others." He pushed a piece of paper across the desk.

Numb, Aletta could only stare at it, the words on the page blurring in her vision.

"With the war, customers aren't buying clothing like they used to. And there's simply not enough work for the seamstresses we've employed. I'm sorry. You were one of the last women we hired, so it only seemed fitting."

"But you complimented me a moment ago. You said I always do excellent work."

"I know what I said, Mrs. Prescott." He averted his gaze. "I was hoping to ... soften the blow."

She blinked and moved a hand to her midsection, feeling as though she'd been gut-punched, as Warren might've said. It had taken her weeks to find this job, and that had been almost a year ago — after she'd lost her job at the bakery. The town of Franklin was in far worse shape economically now than then. Up until a couple of months ago, the Federal Army's occupation of the town had made for a tenuous existence for Franklin residents. Especially considering the garrisons of soldiers encamped in and around Fort Granger while thousands of Confederate troops were entrenched only miles away.

But according to recent reports in the newspaper, the Federal Army had moved farther south, leaving only a small garrison behind in the fort. The absence of Federal soldiers in town seemed to substantiate those reports.

Mr. Bodeen rose, so she did likewise, her mind in a fog.

"Mrs. Prescott, today being Friday, you may collect this week's wages from the accounting office as you leave."

She struggled to think of other arguments to offer on her behalf, but none came. And even if they had, she didn't think he would listen. His mind was decided. She retrieved the letter of recommendation, folded it, and stuffed it into her skirt pocket.

Moments later, she exited the factory and walked to the corner, numb, not knowing what to do, where to go. So she started walking. And with each footfall, snatches of the conversation from Mr. Bodeen's office returned on a wave of disbelief. And anger. "Please do not make this more difficult on me than it already is."

Difficult on him?

She had half a mind to turn around, march right back into his office, and tell him what difficult truly looked like. Yet such a decision would undoubtedly mean she'd forfeit her letter of reference. Which she sorely needed to help distinguish herself from the flood of other women seeking employment.

Already, evergreen wreaths dotted the occasional storefront, some wreaths adorned with various shades of ribbon, others with sprigs of holly, the red berries festive with holiday color. One bold shopkeeper had even hung a bouquet of mistletoe in the entryway. But despite the hints of Christmas, Aletta couldn't bring herself to feel the least bit festive. Not this year.

Approaching the train station, she saw a man seated on the corner of the street. He was holding a tin cup. Beggars were commonplace these days, and she hated that she didn't have much to give him. As she grew closer, though, she realized he wasn't seated. He was an amputee. The man had lost both of his legs. He turned and met her gaze, and the haunting quality in his expression wouldn't let her look away.

He was blond with ruddy skin and didn't look like Warren at all. Yet all she could see was her husband. How had Warren died? On the battlefield, yes, but had he suffered? Oh, she prayed he hadn't. She prayed his death had been swift. That he'd been surging forward in one breath and then drinking in the breath of heaven in the next.

She reached into her reticule and withdrew a coin — one of precious few remaining even counting this week's wages — and dropped it in the cup, the clink of metal on metal severing the moment.

"God bless you, ma'am."

"And you, sir," she whispered, then continued on even as a familiar sinking feeling pressed down inside her. President Lincoln had recently issued a proclamation to set apart and observe the last Thursday of this month as a day of thanksgiving and praise to the Almighty. But, God forgive her, she didn't feel very grateful right now. And it hurt to even think about celebrating Christmas without Warren.

She hiccupped a breath, the freezing temperature gradually registering as her body cooled from the exertion of walking. She slowed her steps and wrapped her arms around herself as a shiver started deep inside. She tugged her coat tighter around her abdomen, no longer able to fasten the buttons.

Seven months and one week. By her calculations, that's how far along she was.

She knew because that was how long it had been since Warren's furlough. They'd been so careful when they'd been together, or had tried to be. Oh dear God ... How had she let this happen? What was she going to do? She tried not to let her thoughts go to the dark places again, as she thought of them. She was a woman of faith, after all. She believed in God's loving care.

Yet there were times, like this, when her faith seemed far too fragile for the burdens of life. She wished she could hide her thoughts from him. Wished the Lord couldn't see the doubts she courted even in the midst of struggling to believe. But he saw everything. Heard every unuttered thought. And right now, that truth wasn't the least comforting.

Guilt befriending her worry, she continued down the thoroughfare.

When she reached Baker Street, she turned right. Ten minutes later, she paused at the corner of Fifth and Vine and looked at the house two doors down. Their home. A modest residence Warren had purchased for them four years earlier with the aid of a loan from the Franklin Bank. A loan the bank was threatening to call in.

And now she'd lost her only means of support. And stood to lose all their equity in the home as well if she couldn't convince the bank to give her more time. She'd considered selling, but no one was buying. Yet when — or if — the economy finally improved and houses did start selling again, she couldn't sell if she'd been evicted. She continued past her home and toward her friend's house a short distance away.

She'd waited until late August to write Warren about the baby, wanting to be as certain as she could be — following two miscarriages in the last two years — that the pregnancy was going to be sustained. Yet he hadn't mentioned anything about their coming child in his last letter. Had he even known about the baby before his death? The Federal Army had recently blockaded certain southern ports, seizing all correspondence belonging to the Confederate Postal System. So perhaps he'd never received her letter. Or maybe that explained why his last two letters had gone —

"Mama!"

Nearing MaryNell's house, Aletta looked up to see Andrew racing toward her from down the street, his thin legs pumping. She hurried to meet him.

"What are you doing outside, honey?" She hugged him tight, his little ears like ice. "And without your coat and scarf?"

"It's okay. I'm not cold. Me and Seth, we're playin' outside while his mother visits with the bank man."

Aletta frowned, aware of Seth watching them from the front yard. MaryNell Goodall knew how susceptible Andrew was to illness and that he needed to bundle up in this bitter weather. Born three weeks early, he'd always been on the smaller side. And despite having a healthy appetite — the boy would eat all day if she could afford to let him — he'd never caught up in size to boys his own age.

What was going to happen to him now that she'd lost her job? How would she provide for him? And, in scarcely two months, the baby?

It occurred to her then that her lack of employment would also affect MaryNell. When MaryNell lost her own job a few months earlier, she'd offered to watch Andrew — and teach him at home like she was already teaching Seth. MaryNell claimed that keeping two boys was easier than keeping one, and Aletta knew there was some truth to that statement. And since dear Mrs. Crawford, the woman who had kept Andrew up until then, had moved to North Carolina to live with one of her children, MaryNell's offer had been a perfectly timed blessing. Only four streets away from theirs, too, and with Seth and Andrew already such good friends.

Aletta insisted on paying MaryNell a small wage each week. Still, she didn't know how the woman made ends meet, having no job and being behind on her mortgage as well. Not to mention not having heard from her husband, Richard, in over three months. His silence didn't bode well. But there was still hope. And MaryNell, as soft-spoken as she was and uncommonly pretty, had never once complained.

Despite the worry settling in her chest, Aletta glimpsed the excitement in Andrew's eyes and attempted a lightness to her voice. "Let's collect your coat so we can go home and start celebrating your birthday!"

"You're still gonna make my favorite pie?"

"Of course I am." She'd saved for weeks to buy the ingredients for the chocolate cream pie — sugar, vanilla, and cocoa being so expensive and hard to come by. Now all she could think about was how much further she could've stretched that money. But it was Andrew's birthday, and she was determined to make it special. She climbed the steps to the porch and knocked on the door.

MaryNell answered a moment later, her expression revealing surprise. "Aletta! You're early. But ... good for you. I'm always saying you work far too hard as it is." Hesitating briefly, she finally stepped to one side. "Come in. I let the boys go outside to play for a bit."

"Yes, I saw them," Aletta said softly, then spotted a man seated on the settee.

He stood as she entered and looked between her and MaryNell, and Aletta got the feeling she'd interrupted something.

"Mr. Cornwall," MaryNell finally said, her voice tight. "Allow me to introduce Mrs. Warren Prescott. Aletta, this is Mr. Cornwall. He's ... an acquaintance. From Franklin Bank."

Tall and barrel chested, Cornwall was heavy around his middle and a good deal older. He had a commanding air about him, but not one that inspired. And although MaryNell had called him an acquaintance, Aletta found it odd that her friend couldn't seem to look the man in the eye. And since when did acquaintances from the bank make house calls?

"Mrs. Prescott." He glanced at her. "Pleasure to meet you, I'm sure."

Aletta nodded, but he'd already looked away. "Likewise, sir."

He turned then, and, whether by intention or not, he angled himself in MaryNell's direction, making it impossible for Aletta to see his face.

"Mrs. Goodall, I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon, and I look forward to hearing from you soon."

MaryNell's gaze flitted to his. "Yes. I'll ... be in touch."

He strode out the door and closed it behind him.

Aletta watched him through the window as he continued past the boys, who were playing cowboys and Indians. As her gaze followed him down the street, a sickening suspicion brewed inside her that she didn't want to imagine, much less acknowledge. But when she looked back at MaryNell and glimpsed the dread and guilt in her friend's expression, she was all but certain her suspicions were true.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Christmas at Carnton"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Tamera Alexander.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Christmas at Carnton: A Novella 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
auditor2 More than 1 year ago
Generally I am not one to read historical romance books. But I was hoping to find a nice Christmas read and this one proved to be very readable. Generally I liked the characters and the wealthy people were not Bah Humbugs. They actually treated people nicely. Even though I grew up in Kentucky, I realized that I, in fact, didn’t know all that much about the Civil War except brother fought against brother in my state. I found myself looking up things such as the Battle of Vicksburg and the dates of the war. Generally I was able to get past the romance part and there were a few twists to add to the interest in that area. I also liked the books ending a lot and really did not expect. It was quite creative. I received this book in exchange for a review which is my own.
Freddikb 4 months ago
Aletta Prescott is recently widowed and losing her house. How is she supposed to care for her son and herself? Captain Jake Winston is a revered sharpshooter, until a head injury during a battle sends him away to recover. He fears losing his greatest skill and his identity as he knows it. Can either of them learn to work with what has been thrown at them? Or will things become too hard to bear? Set in Franklin, Tennessee, Tamera Alexander vividly describes the backdrop of the story. The characters were easy to relate to and follow. This was a sweet story. My only “negative” thought on it is the story did not feel long enough for me. When the story ended I wanted more. Is that really a negative point, though? This was a sweet taste of things to come from Ms. Alexander and I am looking forward to her new series. *I received this book free from Thomas Nelson and The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. What I have expressed are entirely my own thoughts and I was not compensated in any financial way*
SouthernGalLovestoRead 8 months ago
OK, I realize that it is not anywhere near Christmas, but that has no bearing on how much I enjoyed reading Tamera Alexander's Christmas at Carnton. And what makes it even better is knowing that this novella is an introduction to her three-part, full-length Carnton novels series. Tamera has written several awesome historical fiction stories set in and near Nashville, Tennesse, around the time of the Civil War. She is a pro at taking historical facts and characters and fleshing out their stories with others from her own imagination. And that is exactly what she has done again in this introduction to her new series. The characters -- Aletta and her son Andrew, Jake, the McGavock family, their cook Tempy, and others -- bring alive the history of the Carnton Plantation and offer a personal glimpse into what life might have been like for many affected by the difficulties of war. But through all the struggles comes a beautiful story of love and second chances. Don't wait until Christmas to read Christmas at Carnton. It is a fantastic read for any time of year!
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Carnton offers a sweet, heartwarming holiday story, for sure.. but there are also deeper themes here that many readers will appreciate. Just from a historical perspective, author Tamera Alexander gives readers a realistic feel for wartime struggles in this era -- horrors of slavery, the scarcity of groceries, job layoffs, struggles with bills, families broken apart from grief and struggle, the depths one might stoop to simply out of sheer desperation to survive. This is particularly admirable when you remember that this is simply the starter novella for what is expected to be a series of full length novels (at least 3) which will first start rolling out Fall 2018. To pack sufficient historical detail in novella length AND still include an engrossing storyline to boot -- that gets a nod of respect from me! Alexander even writes in a mention of chow-chow, a dish I find not to many people outside of the South or certain East Coast areas tend to recognize. Outside of the historical aspect, readers who are mothers themselves will likely feel at least a bit of a bond with Aletta's struggles, especially if you are a single mother. Aletta has an impressive strong will that propels her to fight to give her children the best living situation she can possibly provide, even through periods where she's not sure what her options will be from one day to the next. Still, she makes it work and in true mother fashion, she often swallows her fears and stops herself from vocally airing her doubts in front of her children, instead pushing herself to find a smile every day even if it doesn't always start as a sincere one. All of this together quietly gives the reader a kind reminder that in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, one must remember to be grateful for the blessings -- no matter how small -- that are to be found in each day if we only take the time to look for and acknowledge them with a smiling heart. If you are interested in possibly using this as an option for your book club, this novella includes a supplemental section made up of reading discussion questions and holiday recipes pertaining to the story... including DIY chow-chow and holiday simmering spices! FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
Yamma1212 More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Carnton is a prequel novella to a new series by Tamera Alexander. After reading it, I cannot wait for the other books to come. As usual, Tamera Alexander has done an amazing job at drawing the reader in to another time and place. During the Civil War, Aletta Prescott must find her way through daunting challenges to survive life without her husband and her position as a seamstress. Confederate sharpshooter Jake Winston has been injured and is struggling with his future, and whether or not his injury will heal. Jake is assigned to the Carnton Plantation to help with a local Women's Relief Society Auction, which he is not pleased about. I feel like the characters are well developed, and the situations they find themselves in are realistic. I enjoyed the pace at which the story lines developed, and eagerly await the Carnton novels. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided here. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Baranski1987 More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Carnton is the novella leading to the series Carnton novels by Tamera Alexander. Tamera hooked me right from the start with this heart touching novella. A story that is full of love, hope, heartache, pain and so much more. Characters that come to life before your eyes. I so can’t wait to dive into the rest of the books in this series. I received a complementary copy of this novella. This review is my honest opinion. 5 stars!
swimreadbreathe4JC More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Carnton by Tamara Alexander is a Christmas novella following in the vein of her previous Southern Plantation type of novels. I haven’t read too many so I did not recognize specific characters, so I don’t know if there are any tie-ins to other series. Either way, it worked well as a stand alone! Christmas at Carnton is a Civil War era novella set in Nashville, clocking in at about 250 pages. It took me a week or so to read it because of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, but it’s a nice little getaway to read by a cozy fire at night. Although I found the plot predictable (or maybe I just read enough to see plot twists repeat), I still enjoyed the story. I quickly fell in love with the characters (especially the little seven year old boys and the mischief they got into) and the setting just sounded as magical as the cover made it look. If you’re looking for a nice little read this season, or even looking for a present for the history lover in your life, then this will hit the spot! Additionally, there are several recipes mentioned throughout the book that are included in the back. Thank you to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review! It was delightful. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
vickimarie2002 More than 1 year ago
Wow! I was surprised at how much I loved this novella! I sometimes think that I don't enjoy historical fiction but this one I really enjoyed! It's an easy read that's just perfect for the Holiday season! I've never read any Tamera Alexander novels before, but apparently, I need to start! I look forward to reading her upcoming Carnton series! I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
Jennybug52 More than 1 year ago
5 stars- What can I say, I just love Tamera Alexander’s novels. She has this magical way of drawing you into a place and time and connecting you with her characters that at times they almost seem real. Her stories will tug at your heartstrings and not let go until the story has ended. This story is no different. Life during the Civil War was unimaginably hard for everyone involved and Tamera does an amazing job telling the touching story of Aletta and Jake, two people struggling to survive in a world that makes little sense. This story was so well crafted and the characters seemed very genuine in their thoughts and actions. My favorite character was Aletta. Even though life kept throwing her grenades she kept throwing them right back, refusing to let them detonate her life. I admired her determination to not give up, even when things seemed at their worst. Even though this story is billed as a novella, it reads like a novel. The story didn’t feel rushed like many novellas and the characters and story were very well developed. Tamera’s stories are always written with heart and emotion. I feel as though I can truly empathize with the characters and the struggles they are facing. This is a wonderful introduction to Tamera’s new Carnton series. I can’t wait to read the first novel in the series! If you have never read one of Tamera’s books, this is a great one to start with. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
Jennybug52 More than 1 year ago
5 stars- What can I say, I just love Tamera Alexander’s novels. She has this magical way of drawing you into a place and time and connecting you with her characters that at times they almost seem real. Her stories will tug at your heartstrings and not let go until the story has ended. This story is no different. Life during the Civil War was unimaginably hard for everyone involved and Tamera does an amazing job telling the touching story of Aletta and Jake, two people struggling to survive in a world that makes little sense. This story was so well crafted and the characters seemed very genuine in their thoughts and actions. My favorite character was Aletta. Even though life kept throwing her grenades she kept throwing them right back, refusing to let them detonate her life. I admired her determination to not give up, even when things seemed at their worst. Even though this story is billed as a novella, it reads like a novel. The story didn’t feel rushed like many novellas and the characters and story were very well developed. Tamera’s stories are always written with heart and emotion. I feel as though I can truly empathize with the characters and the struggles they are facing. This is a wonderful introduction to Tamera’s new Carnton series. I can’t wait to read the first novel in the series! If you have never read one of Tamera’s books, this is a great one to start with. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
SemmieWise More than 1 year ago
** “You can say it to Jesus. Anything, anytime, anywhere, and he’ll hear you. No matter if you whisper. … Or if you only say it in your heart. He hears everything. And he understands.” ** “Christmas at Carnton” is a delightful introduction to Tamera Alexander’s new Carnton series. It is a story of faith and fortitude, and the pain and joy of loss and love. Aletta Prescott recently lost her husband in the Civil War. With a young son to raise and a baby on the way, she suddenly finds her self facing foreclosure and a feeling of hopelessness. Unsure where to turn she answers an advertisement to help at a Women’s Relief Society auction that will benefit the Confederate soldiers. Captain Jake Winston was a sharpshooter in the army until an injury affected his sight. While recuperating, Jake is sent to help with the relief auction at Carnton in Franklin, Tennessee. Facing disappointment over not being able to perform his well-loved job, he at first is a bit disgruntled that he has to help with an event he feels is misguided. As Aletta and Jake are thrown together in a circumstance full of questions, fears and disappointments, they slowly grow closer, while also learning to draw closer to God for his peace, comfort and provision. “Christmas at Carnton” is a lovely story to get you in the mood for the holiday season. Besides being a romance, it’s a story full of hope and faith, and it teaches us to step up and help others even when we are undergoing our own struggles. It also reminds us that when our faith seems too fragile for the burdens of life, God is there to pick us up and offer us his hand of provision — and that we are always able to approach him with our needs and concerns. Alexander provides some delightful characters in her newest novel — Aletta and Jake are both wonderful characters who are totally relatable; you’ll fall in love with her adorable son Andrew and his new buddy Winder; and Carnton cook Tempy, the only slave remaining on the estate, is one strong, amazing and inspirational woman — who just happens to be based on the real cook of Carnton. There is also a brief appearance by characters from Alexander’s previous “Belle Meade” series, and of course the estate of Carnton itself is an actual place you visit in Tennessee. If “Christmas at Carnton” is any indication of how the rest of the series will be, it’s going to be a great one! Five stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
My favorite Christmas read this season. Tamera Alexander draws you into the story and her research is so impeccable that you always learn something besides being entertained. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and when it includes children, romance, Faith, and Christmas then it is sigh worthy. I love the characters including the minor ones, especially Tempy. When she describes being sold as a slave while a child I had to weep. The growth of Jake and Aletta in their Faith and learning to trust is inspiring. Their is so much to love in this story, but you will have to read it to find out why. Highly recommend this for a quick read during this busy season. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
The beginning of a new series by Tamera Alexander. If you have enjoyed her other books, or haven't read them but like historical fiction, I think you will want to read this book! I have read several of her books, and one thing that I really like about them is that she weaves real history into her books, and you can learn a lot from them. This book is just over 200 pages. A nice Christmas story. It is also a romance, if that is your thing. The only reason I gave it 4 stars is that a couple of things seemed a little hard to believe, however, overall, it was a good story. Thanks Fiction Guild, for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a favorable review. This is a beautiful story of how strong women in the south had to be during the Civil War, with taking care of themselves and any children they may have & keeping a roof over their heads. So many of them loss their homes because of death and having no place to go. This story is about a wonderful woman who was at a loss when first she lost her husband, then her job and then her home. But because of a chance to work as a cook she was able to find peace in the holiday season and give her son & baby she was pregnant with a little peace. As usual Tamera writes such a wonderful story you feel like you are there and seeing everything through their eyes.
Faerytalemegan More than 1 year ago
"Christmas at Carnton" by Tamera Alexander is a sweet Christmas novella that will get you in the Christmas spirit. “Christmas at Carnton” is the second book I’ve read by this author. It’s a novella to start off a new "Carnton" series. It is a longer novella at a little over 200 pages. It's the perfect read for a cozy winter's night. "Christmas at Carnton" reminds me of a great Hallmark movie. Its characters are real, flawed people who you grow to care about. I especially like our heroine, Aletta, who is recently widowed with a young son and another child on the way. On top of that she loses her job and home. She has a strong faith that shines despite her hardships. She prays for others, helps people even when she is barely making it herself, and shows a great deal of courage. She is a wonderful picture of strength amidst great hardship. "Christmas at Carnton" is an excellent story. I appreciate how Ms. Alexander puts a lot of history in, so you really feel like you've learned something while reading a great book. This tale shows the hardships women faced during the Civil War as well as Southerners. Being from the North, I don't know as much about the South and their side of the story. They are real people with hopes and dreams, some good and some bad. Most of the people Aletta knows don't even own slaves and they see the War as being more than just about the issue of slavery. Bravo, Ms. Alexander, for shining light on the lesser known stories of the War and making history come alive! Content: I would give this book a PG rating. There is talk of a man banishing his wife's doubts that he desires her and then lying in bed and talking with her after the fact. There are hints that a woman who is behind on her mortgages is giving a man at the bank favors of a sordid nature. The word Negro is used, but not in a derogatory way. Rating: I give this book 4 stars. Genre: Christian Historical Fiction; Romance I want to thank Tamera Alexander, Thomas Nelson and the Fiction Guild for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read from the Civil War. Recent widow, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her son. She is soon to be evicted and she loses her job. She applies for a job with the Women's Relief Society auction. Will she get the job and be able to provide for her son and herself? Captain Jake Winston is Confederate sharpshooter is injured in the war and as he recovers is assigned to help the Relief Society. Will Jake make a full recovery? or will he find a new purpose for his life.
BookReviewerTG More than 1 year ago
It's so nice to be able to read Christmas stories before the Christmas season hits. I love the cover of this read. It's so romantic and beautiful. The story even better. A widow, Aletta Prescott and her son are struggling to hold onto their beautiful estate. Then there's Captain Jake Winston. He's not in the mood for romance but quite by accident he finds himself in the midst of the Women's Relief Society. Surrounded by women but one in particular catches his eye. A fun novella with just enough Christmas magic to make one's holiday reading a lovely affair. *This book was provided for review by the Fiction Guild*
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
This novella is a tantalizing introduction to Tamera Alexander's upcoming Carnton series. As always, her thorough research and authentic Southern-belle voice combine to make this a wonderful historical romance. I love her wounded characters, and the risk they take in choosing to love during the Civil War. And Tempy is certainly someone I look forward to seeing more of in future novels - what a dear! I would have given this book 5 stars but for the sudden ending of the "Christmas" chapter - it seemed less than realistic to me (spoiler alert: I never felt much like kissing during labor!). The epilogue gives readers a satisfactory glimpse at Jake and Aletta's 'happily ever after.' Step back into 1863 and prepare to be absorbed in the struggles and triumphs of life in war-torn Tennesee within the pages of this great read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via The Fiction Guild, and was not required to post a positive review.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
I loved this story and prequel to the whole new upcoming series by Tamera Alexander. Highly recommended.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
I loved this story and prequel to the whole new upcoming series by Tamera Alexander. Highly recommended.
luvnjesus More than 1 year ago
“Amid war and the fading dream of the confederacy, wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas and sacrificial love.” Christmas at Carnton is set during the civil war in Franklin, Tennessee. The main character, recently widowed Aletta Prescott struggles to hold her life together with her son after finding out her husband was killed during the war. With a impending foreclosure and no job, Aletta finds an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position. Beautifully told story of love and loss. Aletta was an attentive and hard worker who starts to fall in love with a wounded confederate solider. There were some points in the book that I was not sure where the author was headed with the story line. However, it is a book I recommend. Reminds us of love filled with selflessness, love, generosity and courage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Christmas at Carnton should be a "must read" on your Christmas reading list!! It is really a short novel, longer and with better character development than most novellas. When pregnant Aletta is widowed, and it seems that all hope is lost, she finds work and a place to live for herself and her six year old son at Carnton. When Jake Winston, a Confederate sharpshooter, is wounded and can no longer see well, he is ordered to go to Carnton and assist local women with a Women's Relief Society auction. It is a story of a love that grows with patience and kindness. It is a tribute to the fact that when the world does its worst, God can take those circumstances and weave them into something beautiful. This is the introduction of Tamera Alexander's Carnton series. I can hardly wait to read the rest!
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
What a heart wrenching story. From the beginning we are thrown into the heartache of Aletta and her young son. Where is the hope for her? We catch glimpses of it throughout. Jake has a story of his own that will grab your heart and when these two come together hope blossoms. I don't know why I don't read more of Tamera's books, she is an excellent author and I am always drawn in immediately to her stories and characters. This book is no exception. A copy of this book was given to me the BookLook Bloggers program. All opinions are my own. 
BookwormMama2014 More than 1 year ago
When I started this novella, I was expecting a standard 150 page story....Well this is the longest novella I have ever read Lol! But that's Ok! I love Christmas stories. And this book is 250 paged of pure magical blessings! Besides, it puts me in the mood for the season and makes me feel all warm and cozy. Set in the south during the civil war, this story has a unique view of "The Cause". When we grow up in a society that believes in certain things, we typically accept it as normal....as the normal way of life. Aletta realises this during a conversation with Tempy, Carnton's cook and a slave. I worry about the direction our society is heading and the impacts that it will have on my children. But what I CAN do is raise them to be Godly men who follow His will and His direction. I can not imagine the heartache Aletta went through. The war between the States was such a devastating time. And yet, the community came together to support each other. The women of the Civil War were strong, determined, and fierce. But at the end of the day they just wanted their loved ones to come home safe and whole. A beautiful story of sacrifice, love, loss, and hope...Christmas at Carnton is an excellent way to begin the holiday season. I received a complimentary copy of Christmas at Carnton from the publishers through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
I (shamefully) haven't read many of Tamera Alexander's books so I'm so glad that I got to read this one. I love that the author picks settings that are real and researches meticulously to bring historical facts into the historical fiction that she weaves. I would love to visit Carnton one day....and this beautiful novella will unfold before my eyes as I take the tour :) Anyway who loves historical romance set during the Civil War would enjoy this book. The book is well-written and the writing is easy to follow. Despite it being a novella, it contains quite a few powerful themes and secondary characters whom I'm sure we will meet in the future through other books in the series. I found it fascinating to read about the "other" reasons for Civil War, spoken through the soldiers from the Confederate Army. Having grown up in the North, I don't think I even thought about the multiple layers of politics and reasons that caused this war. The author did a great job of honing in on the devastation and tragic consequences of a war but also gently reminding the reader of resiliency of the human spirit and love in the hands of our God even in the midst of such sorrow. Aletta is a wonderful woman - strong, compassionate, empathetic, hard-working, intelligent, humble, thankful, and perceptive. In the midst of trials, she keeps going but doesn't forget to look back and be thankful. She shows kindness even when it hurts and gives even when she has so little. Jake is steadfast, loyal, kind-hearted, and oh-so-swoon worthy. Even in his manly protective mode, he can still admit that he's wrong and ask for forgiveness. He has a tender and compassionate heart that seeks to help others, even in the midst of his suffering and uncertainty about his future. And there is Tempy the cook, Mrs. McGavock who hires Aletta, Winder who is Mrs. McGavock's son, Andrew who is Aletta's son, and Miss Clouston who is Winder's nanny and teacher that make up the delightful supporting cast that I hope to see in the next book. I received a review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.