Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing—not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer—is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?
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About the Author
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of more than fifteen books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin. Visit her online at CynthiaRuchti.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Cynthia Ruchti
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2016 Cynthia Ruchti
All rights reserved.
Roasted chestnut latte? How can that be a bad thing?
Alexis Blake shuffled forward in line as two of the three customers ahead of her finished paying for their beverages. The only person left now in the chasm between her and coffee stepped up to place his order. A defensive linebacker–sized guy with espresso-colored hair curling over his collar. Alexis caught sight of the chalkboard boasting the Caffé Tlazo breakfast special of the day. Wild mushroom and crispy shallot quiche. Not her typical organic yogurt and blueberry quick-fix breakfast. And not what she expected from an unpretentious café in an unpretentious town along the western shore of Lake Michigan.
Algoma. She rehearsed it in her head for the sake of any sensitive locals: Al (as in Pal) GO-muh. The town might have shared Lake Michigan with Chicago more than two hundred miles to the south, but it had little else in common with the metropolis. Alexis hadn't seen much more of shore-hugging Algoma than what edged the road that brought her to town. The highway wove through farmland and orchards, slowing her down with interspersed villages clustered around a cheese factory, winery, or connection to the "Old Country."
She'd sat at the stop sign in Algoma too long where Highway 54 decided it was done, the highway creators as startled by the view as she was, apparently. The road teed with a wide-sweeping vista of Lake Michigan and the curious, skinny, red lighthouse at the tip of the breakwater. Turning south at the tee would have taken her toward Kewaunee by way of Alaska. The town, not the state. North led to the heart of her destination, home to the most important client she'd never met. Would soon meet. Right after Alexis signed the contract with the videographer.
After a flood of email exchanges, she was about to meet the local videographer who could either propel her career forward or ruin it.
While she waited for the linebacker to finish gabbing with the barista, she checked the clock on her phone. Fifteen minutes. She had fifteen minutes to place her order and get settled before George Langley arrived. Not much breathing space, but the drive from Green Bay, across the stubby base of Wisconsin's thumb, took longer than expected. As had picking out an outfit that said "confident but approachable." She unbuttoned her wool coat. Late October. Too warm for wool. Too cold for a lighter jacket.
Alexis scanned the customers already seated. As eclectic a mix as the artsy décor. Nobody matched the description of the George Langley she'd seen on the website, a man with silver hair, distinctive bushy eyebrows, and sparkling deep-water eyes.
The chatty guy in front of her turned after slipping a dollar into the tip jar and headed toward the small, mismatched tables scattered throughout the compact café. A room that looked as if it had lived an earlier life as a screened-in porch held additional tables and chairs — slate-topped wrought iron, patio-style.
No. No, no, no. The ex-football player chose the one table he couldn't have, the one by the windows in the southeast corner. The spot where she and George were destined to plot out the next eight weeks of her life, and maybe longer. Maybe the next eight, ten, twenty years, if the audition video went well. No. This guy could not have that table.
She corrected the details of her fumbled order — her fault — focused on the task at hand, added more to the tip jar, and launched herself toward the corner table.
"Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to another spot? I'm meeting someone here." She tapped the slate tabletop with her index finger. "Here."
"No can do."
Nice smile. Nice try. "I'd really appreciate it. I've never met the man before and ..."
"Blind date, huh? Breakfast blind date?" He nodded as if contemplating. "Uncommon, but not unwise."
A waitress set a blue-green and chocolate brown pottery mug in front of the irritant. The foamed milk on top sported a design that looked like a cross between a heart and a fern leaf. Classy touch.
"It's a business meeting," Alexis said, pulling her laptop case off her shoulder as if that would convince him.
"Me, too. Here. Right" — he tapped with his index finger — "here."
"Couldn't you just —" She surveyed the room. "There's an empty table in the other corner."
"Yes. I'm sure you'll be completely comfortable there for your 'business meeting.'"
Was it so hard to believe she was a professional? Well, on her way to becoming a professional? She removed her coat and slipped it over the back of the chair she wanted. The chair she intended to occupy. That ought to convince him. Her "confident yet approachable" black suit jacket and sweater paired with her favorite copper statement necklace ought to let him know she was there for serious discussion, not romance.
The linebacker leaned forward. "You connected with him on the Internet, didn't you?"
"Technically, yes. But not in the way you're thinking. He's —"
The man shrugged. "Sometimes it works out."
Was he trying to cheerlead for her dating life? Or volunteer to be her life coach?
"And sometimes," he said, leaning back, "you wind up with a man totally different from what you expected." He sipped his coffee drink and dabbed at the resulting foam mustache with the cloth napkin. It was still wrapped around his eating utensils.
Alexis sighed and glanced at the entrance. No one matching the face, age, or graying hair of the videographer had arrived yet. She still had time to —
"Why don't you wait here?" He pulled out the chair draped with her coat. "I don't have to move. You can still connect with what's-his-name. Win-win."
She stood her ground, weighing the idea.
The barista approached with her roasted chestnut latte. "Where do you want me to put this?"
"Miss Blake is joining me here." Moustache Man tapped the table. "Right here."
That smile. That "is he serious?" smile — wait. He knew her name? Oh. The tag on her laptop case. "Fine. Yes. I'm sitting."
She took a third chair rather than the one offered and wrapped her hands around her mug, seafoam green with a drizzle of coppery glaze near the lip. Handcrafted mugs. Interesting. If the coffee was as good as it smelled, she might find this a frequent stop during her term in Algoma. But first —
"You're not George Langley." Definitely not. But those eyes. She'd seen them before.
"He's my dad."
"That's who I'm meeting. I'm Alexis Blake. I'm hiring him to do a project for me." The dot-to-dot connecting lines swerved between points. "I don't have to tell you that, do I?" Not the smooth introduction she'd planned. "He's coming, isn't he?" So much hinges on this. Please tell me he'll be here any minute.
"No." He took another sip of his coffee and made room for the server to set down his meal order, and a duplicate of the plate in front of Alexis.
Quiche. The man eats quiche.
"My dad is unavoidably detained."
"For the next three or four weeks. Maybe six."
"What? What are you saying?" The production schedule couldn't afford a three-day delay, much less three weeks.
He sat with his head bowed a moment, then said, "Blew out a disc in his back last night loading camera equipment into the van. We didn't know how bad it was until he called from the medical center an hour ago." He spread what looked like blackberry jam on the rustic toast that came with their quiche. "They're still deciding whether to do surgery or not. But in any case, he's unavailable for a while. I'm Gabe, by the way."
"I'm devastated. Pleased to meet you." As good as it smelled, breakfast would not sit well in her stomach. Ever again. Yes, Aunt Sarah, I came by the title Drama Queen honestly. I earned it.
"Well, Devastated, I hope you don't mind choosing a new nickname. I'm here to fill in for my dad."
"I know you meant that to sound comforting, but —" She got as far as picking up her fork. No further. Her mind raced ahead to the disastrous possibilities. George Langley came with credentials and videography awards. Gabe Langley came with ... jam on his shirt. "You have a little something right" — she pointed to the spot — "there."
"Now, see? If I'd worn my flannel lumberjack shirt, it would have blended right in." He swiped at the dark blob with his napkin.
"Miss Blake ..."
That irritatingly bright smile stole across his face again. "Let me assure you I've had more than a little experience behind a video camera. Hey, Kevin!"
From across the room, a young man with tasteful highlights and an unnatural tan waved back. "Gabe."
"Did I or did I not do a magnificent job filming your wedding this summer?"
"Magnificent. As of today, Melissa and I are still married."
"And there you go," Gabe said, as if that settled it. "Try the quiche. It's great."
The conversation had gone on too long. "Gabe, I appreciate your willingness to fill in for your dad. But I'm not sure you understand what's at stake."
"I think I have an idea. You're restoring an old house in the area and you need someone to film the process."
"Yes, but it's not just for my own use."
"I know that. I read the contract."
"Which your father was supposed to sign today."
The too-bright face darkened. "Miss Blake, I do know how to sign my name."
The sweater was a bad decision. Heat radiated underneath it and crept through the neck opening to her fevered cheeks. "Please don't think I'm dismissing your" — she glanced toward the happily married Kevin — "obvious talent. But I need a professional for this project. If it goes well, I have an opportunity to lock in a spot on next year's Restoring Christmas special on the Heart-and-Home Channel. Can you imagine what that could do for a designer's career? It could lead to my potentially having my own show. Me."
"And if it doesn't go well?"
Sure. Call me out on the risk I'm taking. That'll win points. "Then the costs incurred for the construction, decorating, filming, everything are my responsibility. And I'm back to being one of Chicago's least-known, least-experienced, no-name wannabes designing sunrooms and the occasional bathroom makeover. 'Would you like polished chrome or nickel faucets on your soaker tub?'"
"Oil-rubbed bronze. But that's just me." He opened the flap on a leather pouch leaning against the table leg between them. "Does this put your mind at ease?"
His business card? Anyone could print a decent-looking business card.
"Read the fine print," he said, then looked away, as if embarrassed that he'd asked it of her.
"You won a Telly Award?"
"Two. I didn't want to brag, so I ... just said 'Telly Award winner.' Besides, 'two-time Telly Award winner' would make the card look ... crowded. Don't you think? From a design perspective?"
What option did she have? The man with jam-stain on his long-sleeved T-shirt or give up the dream. She'd be hard-pressed to find a replacement willing to devote eight weeks of long days working for half the normal fee but the "potential" promise of industry recognition if Alexis's project won the slot on Restoring Christmas.
It was Gabe, offspring of the man she wanted to hire, or nothing.
"Your name wasn't on the company website."
"My dad's the genius," he said, pushing the last bite of crust to the side of his plate. "I'm merely the undergenius."
"You'll have to work on your self-esteem issues, Mr. Langley." She teased her food with the tip of her fork.
"It's a tax liability issue. And I'm okay with that. Until my dad retires and the business is turned over to me — if I keep my nose clean, so to speak — I work for him. Humbling, but good. I couldn't ask for a better boss."
They ate in silence, reserving their comments to the food.
How would Gabe Langley feel having her for a boss? One way to find out. "When you're done, let's go meet the home owner, then."
"That wasn't too painful, was it?"
"Yet to be determined." Alexis pushed away from the table and snagged her coat from the back of the chair.
"Do you want a to-go box for that?" As he stood, he pointed to her uneaten breakfast.
"No. I haven't checked in yet, so I don't know if my room has a fridge and microwave."
He helped her into her coat. "Where are you staying?"
"Shoreview? Bayview? Lakeview. Something like that."
"You just listed the names of most of the motels within a hundred miles of here." His laughter sounded like a comedian's favorite audience member. Loud. Strong. Genuine.
"What projects won you a Telly?"
He held the door for her and waited while she pulled on her gloves. "A couple of commercials I did for cable TV."
"What were they about?"
"You don't want to know."
"I think I do."
"Which direction is your car?" he asked.
"I parked on the street."
He hesitated. "I'm around back."
A muscle at the base of her neck tightened. "Gabe, what were your Telly Award–winning commercials?"
"Pat's Pond Scum Protection."
What could she read in the tilt of his eyebrows? Was he joking again? "No. Really." Any miniscule calm she'd retrieved scooted out of reach.
He punched a button on his key fob. A faint beep signaled he'd successfully unlocked his vehicle. "Really. Pond Scum Protection."
"Well, then ..."
Eight weeks until the final scene at Christmas. Eight weeks that had seemed so short earlier that morning now stretched light-years into her shaky future.CHAPTER 2
"That's it?" Gabe slammed the door of his van and joined her on the gravel at the gap in the low-slung fieldstone fence at the front edge of the property.
"Don't say it like that."
"I think it's charming." Alexis took a picture of the scene with her cell phone. Then another.
Gabe lifted his video camera to his right shoulder. "Didn't say it wasn't. You might want to" — he reached with his left hand to smooth her hair.
"You're filming already?"
"Initial reaction footage. Act natural. And don't look at me. I'm invisible."
If only. "Gabe, we haven't talked about the video style I'm looking for, the kind of footage that will be useful, the parameters the Heart-and-Home executives laid down for this project ..."
"Take a few steps up the driveway."
"Wasting good light here."
Something told her she would be a well-practiced sigh-er before this was all over.
"Keep walking, Alexis. That's good. It looks like you're a prodigal daughter returning home."
She glared at him over her shoulder.
"Try that again, but without the attitude."
Eight weeks. Eight long weeks. Some counted the days until Christmas with sweet little advent calendars. Alexis would count them by numbers of fried nerve endings.
She turned to face the house again, a long driveway and a meandering creek between her and her architectural and design challenge. The photos she'd seen hadn't been able to capture the way the house seemed both lonely and inviting at the same time. Two-story fieldstone that showed age and strength in one package. Low porch roof indicated lower ceilings inside than most modern construction. An opening in the stone foundation led, no doubt, to a stone-cold cellar. And an off-center front door mimicked the front elevation on the second floor. Three windows, unevenly spaced, rather than the symmetry expected from mid-American farmhouses. One window was missing a shutter. Already on her task list for the construction team.
"Do you think that bridge will hold more than a horse-drawn carriage?" Gabe stood at her side, his camera lens sweeping the landscape.
"I imagine it can," Alexis said, "since that's probably how the owner got her SUV across the creek." She tapped him on the shoulder and pointed toward the vehicle hiding all but its backside behind the house. "Not exactly what I expected a woman in her seventies would drive."
"As opposed," Gabe said, "to the woman in her — late twenties ...?" He focused the lens on her face.
"Close enough." Both his estimate and his nearness.
"... who drives that sweet ride." He panned behind them to her pumpkin spice sedan.
"My Aunt Sarah's. She claims she ordered the metallic copper."
Gabe's head emerged from behind the camera. "Yeah, that's not copper. Or metallic."
"We know. My BMW is in for repairs. What? You doubt I drive a BMW?"
Excerpted from Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti. Copyright © 2016 Cynthia Ruchti. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
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
This is a Christmas/Holiday story that will stir your emotions in many ways. It is a story of forgiveness, faith, understanding, peace, love and or course restoration of the spirit all rolled into a story a bout a home renovation project. The three main characters, Alexis, Gabe and Elsie, each had their own backstory, and a need for some personal restoration. Alexis is trying to win the coveted spot on a Christmas renovation television show to kick start her design business, Gabe is taking over his father's videography business while he recovers from an accident and Elsie is trying to get some much needed work done on her fieldstone farmhouse for free. As we get to know each of the characters we learn about their past and how it has affected their life. One of the most important things they have to do is learn to listen and trust one another, which is easier said than done. With unexpected disasters, an unco-operative and disappearing owner and some weather problems it seems that this project will never get completed. This book is a good reminder that everyone has a story, and seeing them through God's "eyes" helps us to be compassionate. The writing is beautiful and spiritual. There are many spots in the story where both Gabe and Alexis relate what is happening to the birth of Christ and there being no room for him. My only complaint is that you have to go to the website to read the epilogue but that was not a biggie for me. Another lovely story reminding us of the peace, joy and love that surrounds the Christmas Season.
Restoring Christmas is a heartwarming story with a great cast of characters. Alexis Blake is a little obsessed with doing a perfect job to land THE perfect job. It takes Gabe Langley, a stand-in videographer to help her realize that restoring Christmas means more than creating a picture-perfect home. Will Gabe help Alexis realize there is more to seventy-plus Elsie Raymond than a house that needs to be updated and decorated for Christmas? In the process of restoring Elsie’s house will lives be restored? Don’t let the title Restoring Christmas stop you from reading this feel-good book any time. The lessons learned are timeless!
I won this a Goodreads giveaway. It was a wonderful story of Christmas and the real reason we celebrate the season. Alexis is trying to advance her decorating career and has picked as one of 3 designer to restore a home for Christmas. Alexis has a budget and if she doesn't get the job all cost will come out of her pocket. They don't get to meet their clients until the get to the house and don't know what they want or need. Alexis's client lives in a small town on Lake Michigan and decides to use a local videographer. When she goes to meet him, his son shows up and find out that is she is going to be working with him. They have a very difficult client to work and on top of it. The hotel she is suppose to be staying in while there has been skunked. She ends up staying with Gabe and his father in their basement. Elsie the client has a few quirks but with the help of everyone the find out a lot about this wonderful lady and her family. I loved every moment of this story.
"Restoring Christmas" is a predictable but sweet book about Alexis and Gabe, who are working on a house restoration TV show together. Alexis is a great interior decorator and she knows she can make it big if this show goes well. She is competing to host a design/remodeling show by creating this house restoration. She hired an older man to do the videography for her- but she wound up with his son Gabe instead. They don't get off to a great start and bicker a lot- though Gabe is never anything but sweet. Alexis's troubles are compounded by the house's owner, Elsie, a widowed old woman who doesn't really want anything to change. She's not happy about the show or being on it. Alexis seems to find struggles and problems at every turn. Gabe is just a huge pile of help. If you've watched any made-for-TV Christmas movies, this one follows the exact same pattern. If you love those shows, this book was written for you! It's a sweet story with some Christmas pleasantness that make it just in line for the feel-good, struggle to happiness stories you often see around this time of year. Overall, I found it OK- really predictable, but still as enjoyable as its televised movie counterparts. Please note that I received an ARC through a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.
In Restoring Christmas, we get a front row seat as Alexis attempts to restore an old house as part of a reality TV competition (think HGTV/Fixer Upper). Much to her chagrin, she finds herself at the mercy of an unexpected camera-man, unplanned lodging, and an uncooperative home owner. Somewhere along the way, through the ups and downs of home restoration and TV show filming; her work with Gabe on Elsie’s house becomes more about restoring their souls than the wood or paint. The beauty of the Christmas dinner scene is one of the most touching Christmassy scenes in the story. A perfect way to show off the restoration of the house and of the hearts of those connected to it. Restoring Christmas takes a grace-filled look at grief, insecurity, addiction, abuse, loneliness, and dementia. Ruchti’s talent offers the reader a delightful tale that will warm your heart and maybe even restore it too. Additionally, the hardcover is just lovely and makes a great addition to your bookshelf or coffee table. A moving story of home and heart restoration. If you’re a fan of home restoration shows, then you’ll love Restoring Christmas. More than just a sweet romance or an uplifting story worthy of the Hallmark channel (a perfect choice), it’s a great Christmas read to add to your holiday festivities. Received a digital copy of book from Worthy Publishing’s First Look blog tour.
Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti is a heartwarming, Christmas story. It reminds me of those stories brought to life on the Hallmark Channel. The characters are well developed and become dear to the reader. Alexis has been given the job of restoring an old fieldstone farmhouse in the small coastline town of Algoma, Wisconsin. Her goal in the beginning is to win a competition and to further her career. In the end, she realizes what really is important in life. This is a delightful story of restoration and love. I highly recommend this book.
This was a very good Christmas story. I did not want to put this book down. This was a bit different than most Christmas stories that I have read. I had to go to the website to see if she won the contest or not. Gabe and Alexis had a great relationship. It would be fun to see them in another book. I enjoy these restoration projects on TV and to incorporate them in to a book story was wonderful. I received a copy of this book from Worthy Firstlook blog tour for a fair and honest opinion.
This was the perfect start to the Holiday season for me. I picked this up on the first of December to get into the holiday spirit and this did the trick. I was quickly absorbed into Alexis’ word and found myself wanting to find out what was happening when I wasn’t reading it. My mom and I like to watch the home renovation shows on out local cable channels and one of our favorite couples is Chip and Joanna Gaines. They are so loveable and humorous and the main characters of Restoring Christmas had that same appeal. See more on my blog.
http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Restoring-Christmas/Cynthia-Ruchti/9781617957079?id=6774921979665 Restoring Christmas By Cynthia Ruchti I love the cover with the wreath, snow, hammer, and what looks like a farm house door. A nice country scene, I love the country it’s quiet and peaceful. Interior Designer Alexis signed up for remodeling a home so she could further career. She has plans for her future-but things don’t go as smoothly as she planned. Alexis is on the road to meet videographer in Wisconsin the man that she hire to do the pictures as she make the remodeling from old out dated to new and refreshing. As Alexis waits in line for breakfast and a much needed coffee she gets so irritated by some guy is in line just flirting with the cashier and forgets there are others in line. Alexis has her table picked out. As she picks up her coffee and food she turns and there is that same irritating guy at her table. Well what else could possibly go wrong? As things go along she finds out not only is her videographer down sick but the lady is not happy about Alexis remodeling her home. As things get worse for Alexis she is wondering if she’ll ever have a career or just be out on the street. She runs into road block after road block. As you open this book it will have you from the beginning and keep you wondering just what in the world did Alexis get herself in to? Will God be there to help her or has He left her too? You will find this book hard to put down. You’ll fall in love with the some of the characters in the story and want to rope and tie others up. I recommend this book highly. I received this book free from Worthy for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own and no one else’s. 5 Stars ISBN 9781617957079
Restoring Christmas was an absolute delight of a read! A sweet love story that made me smile and chuckle out loud while tugging on my heart at the same time. I loved the sweet heart melting romance between two wonderful characters. I loved the contrast in personalities and how they meshed. When I found out where Elsie disappears to for hours and days at a time it brought a tender tear to my eye. No plot spoilers here but I do have to wonder if the author will delve into another story based on what we learn about how she came to be named Elsie? A couple of favorite quotes: “The goosebumps weren’t from the cold. Love and kindness – in abundance- kept her in a state of awe”. And another one was “If an enlarged heart could be a healthy thing, that’s how Alexis would describe this sensation.” This is a sweet endearing heart-fluttering Christmas romance. Please Hallmark – make this one a movie! Oh, and probably one of THE best endings ever. It left me smiling and wanting more!
Restoring Christmas is delightful tale! Cynthia Ruchti invites readers to an old fieldstone farmhouse on the shores of Lake Michigan for a complete restoration of home and hope. Reminiscent of the TV show Fixer Upper, I thoroughly enjoyed the charm of these characters and the warmth and wisdom found in their story. Alexis, Elsie, and Gabe share a special journey that is sure to touch your heart this holiday season! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
Some Christmas books are excellent stories but I am never prompted to read them again. Some Christmas books are outstanding stories that I MUST read again and again. Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti is going to be one of the latter! I will read it again each Christmas season because it contains the truth of what Christmas should be. Yes, it is fiction but the underlying theme relates the age-old story of God sending His Son to be our Savior; God sending His Son to restore our souls. The main characters Alexis and Gabe are like many of us. Life and circumstances have left them hurt, battered and broken and they have struggled to find their "true North". This sweet story shows us Alexis' s reluctance to give in to her attraction to Gabe. This is a bit hard for me to understand because I loved his enthusiasm, his optimism, his sincerity and his very deep faith. The author allows us to watch their relationship deepen as they work to restore the older home of another person who has also suffered great hurt and difficulties. I hated to finish this story because I want to learn more. I want to watch their relationship grow; I want to know if Elsie will be a part of their lives and yes, I want to see if Alexis and Gabe develop a successful working partnership. Restoring Christmas is a timeless story to enjoy during this holiday season and to remember long after. Author Cynthia Ruchti has created some wonderful thought-provoking quotes and she has painted beautiful pictures with her words. But most of all, she has reminded ME that none of us are beyond restoration if we beieve in The Greatest Restorer of all! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Worthy Inspired Publishing and Cynthia Ruchti but I was not required to write a review.
I am one of those people who count down the days till Christmas. Who can’t wait to find the perfect tree, decorate my home to the hilt, and watch Hallmark Christmas movies beginning in October. But even if you’re not a fanatic like me, I’m certain you’ll enjoy this inspiring and heart-hugging story. Restoring Christmas, by Cynthia Ruchti, is a sweet romantic story filled with heart, home, and hope. Without being cheesy or sappy, these pages made me laugh and cry. They pulled my heartstrings and then wrapped them securely into a shiny Christmas bow. Alexis Blake travels to Algoma, Wisconsin to restore an old home in need of a little tender loving care—and a lot of updating. She must film the process, and submit it to the Heart-and-Home Channel by the end of December for a chance at a spot on next year’s Restoring Christmas television special. If the filmed audition goes well, she might land her own show. Because she will pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of construction, decorating, and filming, both her career, and sanity, teeters on the next eight weeks being productive and going as planned. Well, those plans go awry shortly after Alexis arrives in the “Old Country” town. Esteemed videographer, George Langley, suffers a medical setback, and sends Gabe, his witty, slightly irritating, unprofessional looking son in his stead. Though she finds the flannel-wearing man somewhat attractive, in a lumberjack kind of way, what could he possibly know about professional videography? She envisions her career plummeting as fast as her bank account. Why can’t her life go smoothly—for once? This story is littered with unexpected twists and revelations, and overflows with heart. When things can’t go wrong, they do, and when opposites attract, the light of Christmas shines. I love this story, and I expect you will too. I received an advanced copy of this book.
Restoring Christmas is the story of a designer, Alexis Blake, who has a short amount of time to transform an old house into a beauty. If she completes her job correctly, she may have her own show on the Home Project Network. However, she needs the help of Elsie,who owns the home, Gabe,who is a videographer and also, the construction crew. Gabe's Christmas tree is still up from last year. There is a special reason Gabe has not taken it down. This is a touching story, reminding the reader that we all have a past. Some people collect treasures from their past and keep them in lock boxes or safe places. We never know what we will find in attics or other special places. While reading this heartwarming story, I was reminded to ask my elders about their lives and events that they remember. There are stories just waiting to be told. I love Christmas and reading Christmas stories. This is a story that I will read over and over. I received a copy of this story from the author and this is my honest opinion.
Restoring Christmas What a great book if you are in need of a little (or a lot) of Christmas Spirit! Christmas is not the only thing restored in this Novella, as the three main characters, Alexis, Gabe and Elsie each undergo a transforming restoration in their own lives. The author weaves into the stories of each character spiritual lessons of peace, forgiveness, and hope. I received a complimentary copy of this book, but not required to leave a favorable review, but I am more than happy to! This was my first of Cynthia Ruchti's books, but will definitely not be my last! A great read!
Author Cynthia Ruchti awakens all the coziness, warmth, and good feelings about Christmas, then amidst that backdrop tells a story that hits home with its truth: Christmas is about restoration. This book is not long, but the characters become likable and are well-developed. There is such a fun relationship that develops between Alexis and Gabe, but what I liked most was the transformation that took place in each one as they allowed God to restore them from past hurts and problems. Grab your hot cider, tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and curl up in a blanket near the fire, and enjoy all the warmth and coziness of Christmas as you read this book. I highly recommend it for your holiday reading! I received a copy of this book from the author for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
I'm a sucker for a sweet, feel-good Christmas story. Cynthia Ruchti's Restoring Christmas is every bit of that . . . but so much more. In fact, it is one of the most touching stories I've read in a long time. Cynthia has such a gentle way with words, and she definitely worked her magic in this one. Alexis, Gabe, and Elsie -- as well as the other characters who show up -- are all very intriguing, both as individuals and as the unexpected, mismatched company they become. Cynthia packs so much into this short book, using her limited pages to fill in the back stories of her characters, stories so important in understanding their perspectives on Christmas and the all-important, heart-deep restoration needed by each one. The book has laugh-out-loud moments and times when you will likely wipe away some tears. As the story reaches its resolution, there are beautiful elements which especially pull at the heartstrings. The only bad thing in the book was that I wasn't ready to see the end. Restoring Christmas is a must read to help get your mind and heart ready for Christmas and beyond. Thanks to Cynthia for sharing a copy of her story. I am excited to share my thoughts with other readers.
Restoring Christmas is a touching story of a lady winning a contest to have her home remodeled because her friend entered her in the contest. Seventy plus year old Elsie really doesn't want anything done to her father's house that she lives in! House designer Ariana and videographer Gabe are well-written but have their work cut out for them. The secondary protagonist, Elsie, is a character! I thoroughly enjoyed what turns out to be a very tender story. I received an advance e-book of this story through the author's Launch Team.
A heartwarming tale set along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in the fall, a perfect place for a holiday story! My heart was definitely full and satisfied after reading this lovely novella. Fans of home restoration shows will really enjoy this, as the main characters come together to complete a house project in time for a Christmas special, hoping to win a competition. The stakes are high, especially for Alexis, the designer who hopes to succeed and further her fledgling career. Nothing seems to go smoothly, but God has other plans in store. The three main characters, Alexis, Gabe and Elsie, each had their own backstory, and a need for some personal restoration. As each one was revealed, it added a lot of depth to the plot and led neatly into spiritual themes, like forgiveness, restoring faith, peace and hope in their lives, and learning to genuinely love others, particularly the unlovable. A good reminder that everyone has a story, and seeing them through God's "eyes" helps us to be compassionate. Love how this author uses word pictures to describe scenes, connecting them with spiritual truths, like the backdrop of a peaceful snowy landscape while Alexis is struggling for inner peace. She realizes that "God wasn't commanding her to be at peace. He was offering it as a gift." The writing flows so well, with just enough detail, making it easy to picture everything; felt like I was actually there. Could almost smell the coffee and cherry strudel! Highly recommend this touching inspirational Christmas story, with a little brushing of romance! (Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-book provided in exchange for my honest review.)