Monthly Archives: January 2016
I have nothing but praise for this book. I had not heard of this book before but I was sent a copy to review. This book is told from the perspective of Kara, a young wife and mother who has terminal cancer, and Jill, her friend who tells us her insights into what it is to just show up, or to be there when loved ones are going through “the hard”, which are the tough times none of us ask for or want but few of us never have to deal with. Jill, like so many of us, struggles with not knowing what to do or say for her friend as she walks through the hard, but she knows that she needs to see her friend through to the end. Her resolve, and the resolve of many other friends, gives support and peace to the family as they deal with cancer, family, funeral plans, hospice, and the very painful reality that Kara is not going to make it. The friends come together in a beautiful way to honor their friend by sharing her children as co-parents and promising to go from that day forward making sure that the children always feel loved and cared for. Kara tells us from her perspective how it feels to take a back seat to someone else when your child needs you, to not have enough energy to keep awake to finish a task, and to know that you are going to miss out on all of those milestones that are so dear to us all.
This book really resonated with me. Part of it could be that my husband has metastasized cancer and we’ve been walking that journey for 5 years now. But I felt nothing but admiration for those friends who so lovingly gave of themselves to comfort and support that family. This is a wonderful book for anyone, a cancer patient, a friend or relative, even folks who just want to know how to be supportive in the best way possible when someone is suffering for any reason. It gives very concrete ideas for how to deal with pain and painful subjects. I would rate this a 5 and then some!
The first story , A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant by Charlotte Hubbard, begins with Mary Kauffman driving her wagon to a new town with her 2 children from her late husband, when she goes into labor. She is helped by one of the townsmen from the new town, Seth Brenneman, who happens by and sees that she is in trouble. What ensues is a delightful story of a woman thrust into a situation she never dreamed of and her ability to rise to the occasion and go beyond.
The second story, A Christmas On Ice Mountain by Kelly Long, is a tale of a feud that’s lasted so long that the two men feuding can hardly remember it never being that way. Nevertheless, it’s still in place and not only does it affect Luke Lapp and John Beider, but gets in the way of two young lovers, Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp. Is their love strong enough to withstand the hatred their fathers have for each other?
The final story, A Perfect Amish Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand, is the perfect illustration of how we can get so caught up in the details that we fail to see the bigger picture. Dottie Shrock is anxious to give her mother the perfect Christmas, from having a party for her to making all of the special foods and activities to make it a perfect Christmas. But in her haste to make everything perfect, she forgets what’s most important. Can Gideon, the handsome grandson of her relative, remind her what’s important in life?
The Nightingale is set in France during World War 2. It is the story of 2 sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac, who move in and out of each other’s lives as the war rages around them.
Having been all but abandoned as children when their mother died, they were shuffled off to live with a nanny in a small french town. Vianne left Isabelle behind when she met and married her husband and Isabelle was left with no family to speak of. The sisters are thrown together when war breaks out and Isabelle’s father again insists she go to live with her sister. This book read with enough detail that I felt I was reading a historical story. The horrors the sisters had to endure were very realistic and I felt that I understood a lot more of what it had been like to be a Jew in France during the war. Excellent read!