Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.
When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie doesn’t always like working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher, but Sis encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what it could teach Charlie about the needs of people in their own community.
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of The Road to Testament, Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, Waiting for Sunrise, Slow Moon Rising, and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.
Read an Excerpt
God Bless Us Every One
A Contemporary Christmas Carol
By Eva Marie Everson
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2016 Eva Marie Everson
All rights reserved.
"Bah! Humbug! Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry ... in such a world of fools as this? What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer?"
— Ebenezer Scrooge
She couldn't believe it. She absolutely could not believe it.
Yet here she was, not a week before Thanksgiving. Five weeks before Christmas.
How would she tell Sis? Never mind how. What would she tell Sis?
Charlie Dixon — the newly unemployed Charlie Dixon — slid her iPhone across the top of her desk toward herself. Pushed it back. Picked it up, juggling it like one of those stress balls she wished she had right about now. Then, taking a deep breath, she pressed the Home button with her thumb and entered her passcode.
The screen displayed a photograph of her and Sis shivering in the New York City cold during their last visit there, grinning like girls, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lit up behind them. She smiled, then grimaced at the older woman's face, surrounded by a faux-fur hood and pressed close to her own. Sixty-four with nary a wrinkle.
Okay. Maybe one or two. But few would guess that Sis wasn't a sibling at all, but her grandmother. Most folks thought them to be mother and daughter.
"May as well be," Charlie breathed out.
She entered the code for her grandmother's number and waited.
Sis opened the conversation without so much as a greeting. "If you're calling to tell me you can't make it next week, don't."
Charlie forced a smile. "No, Sis. I'll be there. I, uh ..." She looked up at the ceiling, dotted with amber watermarks. Nothing unusual for Florida ceilings, especially in buildings as old as this one. "I, uh ... was thinking ... maybe I'd come a few days early."
"Why?" Charlie coughed out a chuckle. "Why not? Can't a granddaughter come see her grandmother without twenty questions?"
"Mm-hmm. I don't remember asking twenty questions."
Charlie's shoulders dropped a good two inches. She picked up a lone paper clip and twirled it between her fingers. "Sis, I've got some time off." A lot of time off to be exact. "I've got some time off and —"
"When will you be here?"
She released her pent-up emotions with a long sigh. "Saturday?"
That gave her the rest of the day to pack up her office, return to her apartment, and figure out what she'd do now that —
"I've got a meeting with the high school drama teacher on Saturday."
Charlie smiled weakly. "You're really taking on the Christmas play again this year?"
"I am," Sis returned quickly, her words determined.
"Even after last year's debacle?"
"Last year we didn't have ..." Sis's voice trailed off as though something beyond the conversation had stolen her attention.
"Didn't have what?"
"Uh, this year our proceeds are going to a homeless shelter. What do you say to that?"
"That's ... that's nice, I guess." Just like Sis to come up with something so heartfelt. "What inspired that?"
"Well, there's something — someone ..." Sis's voice trailed. "How about if we talk about it when you get here?"
Charlie glanced at the wall clock across the room. She had less than fifteen minutes to pack up and get out. "That's probably for the best. I've got an appointment in a few so, I'll ... what time is your meeting on Saturday?"
Testament, North Carolina, was a good eight hours by car. Nine to nine and a half if she stopped her usual half dozen times. If she left at her typical departure time — five in the morning — she'd arrive by two. "I should be there already, but I'll be tired." In other words, don't ask me to be a part of this.
"Of course you will. Call before you leave."
Charlie nodded as though her grandmother could see the action. "I will."
"Love you more than blueberry pie."
Tears formed at the words, an old exchange between the two of them. "Love you more than peach cobbler," she returned.
Charlie ended the call, stood, and looked around her. There really wasn't that much to gather — a few framed photographs, a silk plant spilling its leaves down a laminate shelf, some books, a stuffed black bear she'd been given by one of the students here at Miss Fisher's School for Girls, one of the ten most exclusive private schools in the nation, located in the heart of Florida's equestrian farmland.
She turned and peered through the open plantation-style slats of the window blinds at the rolling green grass of the outer complex, then beyond to where about a half dozen horses grazed. Class was in session, so no one milled about other than the occasional employee, mostly those who worked with the horses.
Charlie glanced at her watch and sighed. Ten minutes. She needed to hurry. She grabbed the cardboard box sitting empty by her desk. Her stomach tightened, remembering the look on Clara Pressley's face as she shoved the box into Charlie's hands not an hour ago. "Pack your things, Miss Dixon," she said, her face pinched. "With your latest shenanigans, your days at Miss Fisher's have come to a close."
If only she'd had a minute to explain her actions, perhaps Mrs. Pressley wouldn't — no, who was she kidding? Mrs. Pressley had taken an immediate dislike to her the moment she'd taken the role of headmistress six months earlier. Even then, Charlie had seen the writing on the old proverbial wall. She and Clara Pressley were cut from two very different cloths.
"At least I'm not stuck in the 1800s," Charlie muttered as she placed a short stack of her personal books — mostly collections of modern plays — at the far left corner of the box.
"What are you doing?"
Charlie's body jerked at the words coming from her open office door. She placed a hand on her chest. "Marjorie ..."
Marjorie Phelps, French II teacher by day and Charlie's best friend and roommate, stood just inside the office.
"Nooo," Marjorie breathed, walking to where Charlie stood. "Tell me she didn't do it, s'il vous plaît."
Charlie reached for the manila envelope stuffed with her severance details, most of which she hadn't read. "Oui. She did it. And all because of the musical I chose for the Christmas pageant."
"And right here at Thanksgiving ..." The petite blonde crossed her arms and frowned. "You'd think she could have waited until after Christmas." She reached for the framed photo of the two of them taken at Ocala's last celebration of the Kentucky Derby from the bookcase and slapped the stand flat against its back. "What are you going to do?"
The thick brunette braid Charlie typically wore had worked its way over her shoulder. She slung it back. "I'll start with this office. I only have a few minutes to clear out of here before security comes." She glanced at her office desktop computer. "My passwords have already been changed by IT, so I can't even get into my files or e-mail my students."
"But you're friends with many of them on Facebook, right?"
"Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat." She raised her brow as Marjorie continued with the packing. "All that social media stuff Mrs. Pressley thinks is the devil's workshop."
Marjorie shook her head, stopping Charlie from going on before the walls took names. "We'll talk about it later. How long do you get to stay in our apartment?"
"Until the end of the week."
"What?" Marjorie nearly dropped the potted silk plant.
"Careful there," Charlie said, reaching for it. "I'm going to Sis's on Saturday." She shrugged. "And I'll figure it out from there."
Tears formed in Marjorie's eyes, God bless her. "Does she know?"
Charlie shook her head. "No. And if I can help it, she won't."
Marjorie stole a look at her watch. "I gotta go ... five minutes 'til the bell." Which meant five minutes until security arrived. "I actually ... I just wanted to see if ... well, it doesn't matter." She wrapped Charlie in a quick hug. "I'll see you back at the apartment."
Charlie grabbed the stuffed bear as Marjorie reached the door and glanced back at her. "You'll be okay?"
"I'll be fine," Charlie said, though she wasn't sure how truthful the words were. She placed the stuffed bear at the top of the box. "We never know what the day will bring," she said. The words rang with such rhetorical truth she nearly laughed out loud.
Marjorie smiled. "But as Sis always says, whatever the day brings never shocks God."
Charlie pointed at her. "That's right." She forced another smile. "See ya tonight."
Marjorie slapped the doorjamb. "À plus tard. Later."CHAPTER 2
"Good Heaven! I was bred in this place. I was a boy here! ... There's the Parrot! Green body and yellow tail, with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the top of his head; there he is! Poor Robin Crusoe, he called him, when he came home again after sailing round the island. There goes Friday, running for his life to the little creek! Halloa! Hoop! Halloo!"
— Ebenezer Scrooge
Little about her hometown of Testament had changed.
Well, maybe a few things, but not enough to truly note. The minute Charlie crossed the city limits — several miles from the actual heart of town — a strange mixture of yesteryear and today worked her like a tonic. And not necessarily in a good way.
She drove the familiar streets, her eyes darting, looking for a face she might recognize in the outskirts. Seeing none, Charlie frowned. She hadn't been gone that long, had she? Nine years since high school graduation hardly resembled a lifetime. Not to mention that she visited periodically. All the major holidays. A week during the summer.
Okay, so even then she rarely fraternized with the locals. Only with Sis, who hauled her from pillar to post, showing her off like some prize pig. Naturally, on those outings — to places like the Testament Drug Company for lunch in the side café — she saw a few of her old friends now all grown up. She'd gone to school with them from fifth grade to senior year. A few had children of their own now.
Fifth grade ...
Charlie gripped the steering wheel of her Hyundai Elantra at the thought of that first year at Testament Elementary. She'd been so afraid back then. What if the other children knew the truth about her? That her parents were convicted felons. That they were serving ten to fifteen in Georgia state prisons. That her father, the man she hoped never to lay eyes on again, was a drug dealer. A liar. Who'd chosen drugs over his own child.
Sis had told her not to worry. "You know and I know," she'd whispered to her that first night, adding a peck to Charlie's mop of dark hair. "And the good Lord knows. I can't think of another soul who needs to know."
Later, when asked by a neighbor, "Where's her daddy and mama?" Sis rolled a version of the truth off her tongue as if she'd been practicing for days. "Their business," she'd said with a nod, "has taken them away from little Charlie for a while. Her daddy and I agreed it best for her to come live with me for the time being."
"A while" had turned into five years. By then her parents had managed to commute their sentences for good behavior. Exemplary, her father's attorney's letter explained, the one Charlie had sneaked into Sis's desk drawer to read. Exemplary to the state, perhaps, but Sis was having nothing to do with it.
"You listen to me good," she'd said to her son during a phone conversation one evening when Sis thought Charlie to be asleep in bed. "I don't care if you were holding Bible study on Wednesdays and preaching church on Sundays. You come here and try to take this child from my home, and you'll have me to deal with. I don't care if you are her father. You're my son, and you're not too big for me to remind you of that every once in a while. No, John Dixon, your daughter — whose name is Charlie, by the way, and not 'my kid' as you keep referring to her — Charlie is a junior in high school. She's a straight-A student. She's popular with the others, a favorite among the teachers, and active in her church youth program." Sis took a short breath. "Now if you love her as much as you say you do, you'll do right by her and leave her be until she's old enough to decide for herself."
Sis had gotten through to him. Good thing, too. By the time Charlie graduated from high school, her mother had run off with another man, leaving no forwarding address, and her father had returned to his "three hots and a cot," as Sis called it. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Forever, she hoped.
Still, no one in Testament was the wiser. To this day, Charlie hadn't bothered to contact her father, and he'd not bothered to contact her. Just as well. She knew her bitterness wasn't healthy, but it ran deep — and with good reason! "Keep the past where the past goes," she said aloud as the Hyundai rolled past the elementary school to a stop sign. She glanced over, noting the new paint trimming the red brick structure. The wooden cutouts of the early Pilgrims. The ones with holes for faces, perfect for photo ops, obviously left over from the week's preholiday festivities.
She'd spent only a year at this school, and still the memories thumped at her heart. The initial dread of anyone knowing the truth about her had soon been overshadowed by making new friends, going to slumber parties, participating in school sports — track, mainly — and having her first and only crush, Dusty Kennedy, the cutest boy in fifth grade. The cutest boy in the entire school all the way to high school graduation.
As her car rolled on toward town, Charlie wondered what he looked like now. She'd not seen him since senior year, and she imagined him balding or, at the very least, with a receding hairline. Perhaps even a rounding gut where once there'd dwelled a six-pack.
She laughed out loud. Maybe that was just wishful thinking on her part. After all, they hadn't even hit thirty yet.
Charlie drove past the Decker Ranch, craning her neck to find the winding driveway. Old habits die hard, she supposed. She'd practically grown up hanging out there. A little farther up the road, the Matthews' property stretched on the right side. She was almost home.
Home. Whatever that meant these days.
She turned the wheel, and the car bumped its way up the narrow stretch of weed-strewn road leading to Sis's nautical-styled cottage nestled beneath a canopy of fall leaves a hundred yards or so from the old barn Sis had never used but declared she'd never tear down. "Gives this property character, don't you think?" she'd say anytime someone suggested demolishing it.
Just like Sis, holding on to the past.
Charlie smiled as she stopped the car no more than a foot from the Nantucket star railing wrapped around the front porch. She looked at the dashboard clock before shutting off the engine. She'd made it before two.
When she exited the car, the screech of the weather vane pulled her gaze upward. Just as quickly, the slamming of the screen door — the one leading to the screened-in side porch — stole her attention.
"There you are," Sis said, leaping over the two wooden steps bookended with clay pots filled with pink-petaled asters.
Charlie laughed as her grandmother wrapped her in a tight hug. The older Dixon drew back, her cornflower-blue eyes made all the more startling by the pure white of her bobbed hair. "Look at you," Charlie said. "How do you do it, Sis? How do you manage to get younger instead of older?"
Sis pushed at Charlie's shoulder. "Who taught you to say things like that, I wonder? Something you learned at that posh school where you're working?"
Charlie's stomach lurched, and she pressed her hand against the flat of it. "Come on, Sis. You look like a magazine ad, all dressed up in that boho skirt and sweater and ... are those scrunch boots?"
Sis pointed a toe, turning her foot left to right and back again. "You like? They're hip."
Sis splayed her hands at her waist. "Is that not the right word?"
Charlie answered with a giggle and a shake of her head. "Hip's an okay word, I suppose." She walked to the back of the car, popping the trunk open with her key fob. "You said you have to be at the school at three?" She pulled the larger of her two pieces of luggage from the recesses.
"I do. Want to come, or are you too tired?"
Charlie had to admit she wasn't tired at all. Somehow, even with the stress of losing her job and having a nine-hour trip behind her, she felt reenergized. Probably the change in weather, which in Testament was crisp and scented with burning leaves. A sharp contrast to the humidity that hadn't quite left Ocala, keeping the scent of hay and horses at a premium. "Actually, I'm feeling kinda good right now, Sis."
Sis reached for the smaller piece of luggage now at Charlie's feet. "Then let's get you inside and freshened up a little." She started toward the screen door. "Oh, I know. We'll stop at The Spinning Bean on our way. They have this new pumpkin latte you have to try."
Charlie brought up the rear, dragging her luggage over the still spongy grass. "So what play are y'all doing this year?" she asked, her focus on her sandaled feet. She'd need to pull out warmer shoes before they left.
Excerpted from God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson. Copyright © 2016 Eva Marie Everson. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
*My Thoughts* This was a pretty cute story! I found myself adoring Charlie's sweet Grandma and blushing alongside Charlie every time her childhood crush showed up on the scene. The sassy, fun relationship between grandmother and granddaughter left a warmth in my heart that has me ready for all things wintry and snuggly and Christmasy. Add in some unexpected twists and turns, and you get such a sweet Christmas story of forgiveness, hope, and love. _______________________________________________________ *My Rating* I give God Bless Us Everyone by Eva Marie Everson... 4 stars!! _______________________________________________ *I received this book from Litfuse, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
Eva Marie's latest novella is a pure delight. Her story is filled with the comfort and joy that is desired during the holiday season. This book is well-written and focuses on the themes of forgiveness, faith, family, and trust. Charlie, who is the main character, revisits her hometown over the holidays and helps with the school play of "A Christmas Carol. " However, as her time there progresses Charlie is confronted with some personal issues she needs to resolve and is challenged to take a deeper look behind the meaning of the play and apply it to her life. Also, Charlie reconnects with an old crush from school, and the reader gets to experience a bit of romance at Christmas time. This book is a heartwarming story, but has an incredible depth that other novellas similar to this often lack. Everson definitely gives her audience a well-rounded story that leaves the reader wanting more. Every year around October I get so excited because I know that is when new Christmas books start releasing. This is my first Christmas book of the season, and it does not disappoint. This needs to be at the top of your holiday reading list. Once you dive into the story and meet the characters, you will not want to stop reading. This was the first book I have read by Everson, but it won't be the last. This book was given to me by Litfuse in exchange for my review.
God Bless Us Every One is the first book I’ve ever read by Eva Marie Everson, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed this cute little novella very much, especially since it was set at Christmastime. I loved how there were excerpts of A Christmas Carol at the beginning of each chapter, as it was super cute and it really tied together that whole theme of the story. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I absolutely love Charles Dickens, so that made this story all that much more lovable to me. Charlene—Charlie—Dixon is a wonderful character who seems to be doing well despite her somewhat troubled past, until the loss of her job sends her back home to her Grandmother, whom she calls Sis. Though she loves her hometown, the surprising return of two people from her past—one loved, the other unforgiven—turns her already spinning world upside down. It will take the help of her grandma, a few old friends, and an old Charles Dickens novel to help Charlie see just what life—and Christmas—is all about. All in all, I really enjoyed this novella, although there were just a couple of things that bothered me about it. Charlie’s story with Dustin developed just a bit too quickly for me, while the rest of the book moved somewhat slowly. I know there’s only so much you can put into a novella, but I just wish where would have been a little bit more going on. Other than that though, I really enjoyed this story and am looking forward to reading more of Eva’s novels in the future! I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
I really enjoyed Eva Marie Everson’s spin on A Christmas Carol. This was not a retelling but a contemporary story that portrayed the very important truths Charles Dickens classic sought to voice. Charlene Dixon, Charlie for short, has returned home to her grandmother’s house after losing her job. It is Thanksgiving time and the town is in full holiday spirit. Charlie runs into a couple of people she did not expect to, former crush Dustin, who is now a widower with a son, and her father whom she has not seen since she was a child and he was led away in handcuffs. Charlie realizes that she has some ghosts from her past that needs to be dealt with so that she may live earnestly in her present and have hope for her future. As Charlie works with Dusty on the school play A Christmas Carol, she is set upon a journey of what true forgiveness looks like. I really enjoyed learning, along with Charlie, the history of why Charles Dickens wrote his famous Christmas story: he was trying to bring back the joy and the hope of the season after the Puritans had nearly snuffed it out and dealing with his own turbulent past with his father. I look forward to re- watching the movie this holiday season with this new background information. This is a heartwarming read for the coming up holidays with a little bit of romance and Christmas magic thrown in. I received a copy for an honest review through Litfuse Publicity and the opinions are my own.
One of my all-time enduring favorite Christmas stories is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, so I was most intrigued by Eva Marie Everson’s latest novella God Bless Us Every One. With many parallels to the classic tale, Everson’s novella gives Dickens’ story a fresh perspective and new depth. Charlie isn’t the most likable character at first, a Scrooge in her own way. But, like Dickens’ miser, she grew on me as the story progressed. Her romance with Dusty was sweet and swoony and while at times their relationship seemed to jump ahead awfully quickly – this is a novella after all and a bit of that is to be expected. Charlie’s strained relationship with her father is both heartwrenching and heartwarming, and the parallels to Dickens’ own history made it even more poignant. Bottom Line: God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson is a great way to start the Christmas reading season! With familiar references, new reminders, and gentle nudges toward the real meaning of the holiday, this novella is perfect for a cozy night in, snuggled up with a quilt and some hot chocolate. (Even if you have to turn on the a/c full blast to achieve the proper atmosphere for now.) If you’ve read Everson’s The Road to Testament, you’ll also be happy to reunite with some familiar characters along the way. (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than a wonderful Christmas romance! Combining some of the best quotes from the Charles Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol at the beginning of each chapter, we watch a contemporary version of this being played out in God Bless Us Every One from Eva Marie Everson. Charlie Dixon believes that classics are a bit outdated and like the play, A Christmas Carol, it has been done over and over again that it has lost its charm and appeal. So when she attempts to put a new twist on a high school Christmas play, she finds herself laid off and without any future attempts at employment. So she hightails it to her grandmother's house in Testament, North Carolina, where she hopes she can stay until she finds a new job and perhaps help around the house during the busy Christmas season. Her grandmother has been tasked to work with the local high school drama teacher in preparation for the Christmas play and hopes Charlie might just lend a hand. What Charlie doesn't know is that the meeting is scheduled with her old flame from school, Dusty Kennedy. He is more than thrilled to get a chance to work with her. The only problem is that Dusty's idea for the play is Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, which just seems to be a sign from above that there is a deeper message within it, if Charlie is only willing to look at the details surrounding why Charles Dickens wrote the play in the first place. She only hopes she might convince him that a new contemporary spin might just be the ticket to make this successful, but Dusty believes in keeping things traditional and classic. Now all Charlie has to do is find a way to deal with the fact that her father is back in town, a man she has vowed doesn't deserve anything less than a Bah Humbug this Christmas. I received God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from an eBook copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased and personal opinion. I really love the blend of both the traditional and contemporary that is scattered throughout this novel and it takes readers into the heart of what Christmas really means, a time for second chances and a time for new beginnings and forgiveness. There is a wonderful happily ever after tucked away but it might not be who you think it is for in the end. I'd rate this a 4.5 out of 5 stars and is perfect to get you in the mood for Christmas.
God Bless Us Everyone by Eva Marie Everson is a Contemporary Christian Novella. As the title suggests, it does combine Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol as a portion of the story but in a most unusual way. Charlene Dixon, also known as Charlie, is the main character and has lost her job at Miss Fisher’s School. She is forced to return to her hometown of Testament and to her Grandmother Ester’s home where she grew up. She is hesitant to tell her grandmother that she has lost her job but since it’s close to the holidays she uses that as an excuse for a prolonged stay. She reluctantly volunteers to help the local school with their production of A Christmas Carol, which she feels is old and already done too often. However, Grandma Ester suggests that Charlie take a deeper look at the story and why Charles Dickens wrote the story. Each chapter begins with a small snippet of A Christmas Carol and as the story unfolds you see how it is as relevant in Charlie’s life as it was in Charles Dickens’s life. It’s a short story packed with a message. It’s a story of redemption and forgiveness. This could have been such a sappy story but is so well written in such a short book that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Additionally I learned more about the story behind a Christmas Carol and I have a better appreciation of it now. Of course, it could be considered a holiday type read but the story is as relevant any time of the year. I look forward to reading more of Eva Marie Everson’s writing. I received a copy of the book from NetGalley and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review
A story about the redemptive power of forgiveness and love set during the holiday season! Charlie's life takes an unexpected turn when she loses her job just before the holidays. Returning home to spend time with her spunky grandmother, she gets roped into helping put on a play for a local charity. Charlie comes face to face with her own ghost of Christmas Past, challenging her to deal with hurt she'd hoped was long forgotten. For a shorter story there's a lot of message packed in about the need to forgive in order to move on with life. I could sympathize with Charlie as she had a lot of reasons to be hurt and angry. The author does a good job of drawing the bigger picture showing the consequences of addictions, and the impact on families, especially the children; also the need to reconcile and receive forgiveness. Some fun parallels to A Christmas Carol and its background made it interesting too. A good holiday or anytime read for contemporary Christian fiction fans--recommend! (Book provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)