The Christmas Townby Donna VanLiere

Published October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

4.5 Stars

Synopsis: Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My Review: Christmas reading season has arrived. I love reading all those feel-good Christmas stories, whether romances or just light family fiction. Donna VanLiere is known for her wonderful Christmas stories. Many have been made into Hallmark movies and some into songs. This wonderful story does not disappoint.

Lauren is a sad young lady who has had her hopes and dreams shattered over and over again. She grew up in the foster system and never felt that she belonged anywhere. She feels alone in the world, especially at Christmas Time. She posts an ad on Craig’s list that she is looking for a family for Christmas. While brooding about her life one night, she drives and ends up in the small town of Grandon. When she witnesses an accident, she stops and reports it. This starts a chain of events that brings Lauren more than she wished for as a Christmas Miracle. Her visits to this magical town help Lauren start to believe that maybe she can find what she is seeking.

The cast of characters is wonderful. Ben steals the book for me. He is a special needs young man who works as a packer in a grocery store. He puts personal handwritten messages in the bags of his customers to make them feel better. Everyone loves Ben and his messages. He helps Lauren in an enormous way. Then there is Gloria (Miss Glory) and Miriam, best friends whose banter is very entertaining and will have you in stitches. The others in the story who are in the right place at the right time, add to the Christmas feeling and sense of family that Lauren is searching for. The plot line will have you on a roller coaster of emotions, from sadness to laughter, to tears and joy. THE CHRISTMAS TOWN is a wonderful Christmas read, the miracle of the season shines through. A great gift for the reader on your list. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.