Arianna Tate has a simple and fulfilling life�until four days before Christmas when her young son is kidnapped. For two decades, she grieves the loss of Chase and struggles with her marriage to her husband, Alan. Meanwhile, Lydia Feller mourns the death of her estranged sister, who spent years living on the streets with mental illness and substance abuse. Lydia adopts the boy that she believes was her sister�s son and raises him in a happy, stable home with her husband, Daniel, and their four children. God works in miraculous ways as, twenty years later, both women�s worlds collide . . .
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"Faith is keeping your trust in the Lord, even when life doesn't make sense." I feel like The 20th Christmas delivers on what its great cover conveys: clear brokenness, but a sense of beauty, nonetheless. Even with its heavy subject matter, the abduction of Arianna and Alan Tate's little boy, this novel manages to be Christmassy in a sober but warm way, not too dark. Author Andrea Rodgers effectively reveals the mixed feelings and reactions of the characters on different sides of this tragedy--the fear, guilt, confusion, helplessness, anger, depression, doubt, and even Arianna's and Alan's different attitudes about responding when people ask if they have any kids. For a shorter novel, Rodgers still does a good job of making her supporting characters' stories engaging; Lydia and Lacey's story is weaved in well, and Christopher's account to Alan hit me in the pit of my stomach, as I'm sure it was meant to. There are some aspects of the novel that don't seem realistic, like the idea that until Alan's family misfortune when he's in college, "nothing bad had ever happened to him," and before the kidnapping of Alan and Arianna's son Chase, Alan had "never done or said anything that hurt [Arianna's] feelings," though they've been together for years. Also, as both of Chase's parents have been quite involved in raising him, and Chase's first word was "Daddy," it would seem that after his abduction, when he takes to asking for his "Mama," he would ask for or at least mention his daddy at some point as well. On another note, while the issue of Arianna's understandable feelings of hatred toward Chase's kidnapper is raised, it seems like this serious heart issue is more or less smoothed over but not really dealt with. Yet, the tie-in with an important aspect of the age-old Christ-mas story is powerful, and Rodgers's novel ultimately illustrates how God's good purpose can be realized even in the midst of life events that don't make sense. I wholeheartedly recommend this moving Christmas read. _____________________ Ambassador International provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
Heartwarming Inspirational Story! I just finished reading The 20th Christmas by Andrea Rodgers and have to tell you about it! WOW! What a heartwarming inspirational story. I cried my way through this book as I could easily feel the emotions that Arianna felt when her son, Chase 22 months old, was first kidnapped right before Christmas. She keeps her faith that he is alive somewhere, that God is watching out for him, as she keeps praying to see him again. The author does a fabulous job with this story making you feel the emotions of each and everyone involved. As I tried to put myself in the position of each of these three ladies, Arianna, Lydia, and yes even Lacey the kidnapper, who has for years been homeless, suffering from mental illness, and has a substance abuse problem, my heart broke for all of them. And of course Chase and everyone else that was close to him in anyway. Andrea Rodgers shows how God can make something beautiful come from something so tragic in this awesome story of faith, love, and forgiveness. An inspirational touching book that grabbed me from the first page. I highly recommend this book, stock up on kleenix, and allow plenty of time because it is one of those you want to finish in one sitting! I received a free copy of this book from Ambassador International in exchange for my honest review rather it be good or bad. Thank you.