Friday, October 08, 2010

The Christmas Glass

The Christmas Glass: A Novel

Like most sweets, Christmas novels are enjoyable in moderation.  The Christmas Glass: A Novel is a typical Christmas novel--set during the holiday season, involves family coming together and features some sort of Christmas bling.  Of course there is a happy ending.  

About the book: In the tradition of The Christmas Shoes and A Christmas on Jane Street, the heartwarming story of The Christmas Glass shows how, today as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.

In the early days of World War II in Italy, Anna, a young widow who runs a small orphanage, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions -- a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother -- and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years.

Anna is distressed to part with her only tangible reminder of her mother, but she worries that the ornaments will be lost or destroyed in the war, especially now that her orphanage has begun to secretly shelter Jewish children. Anna's young cousin Filomena is married with two-year-old twins when she receives the box of precious Christmas glass.

After the war, Filomena emigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass, some intimately connected by family bonds, some connected only through the history of the ornaments. As Christmas Day approaches, readers join each character in a journey of laughter and tears, fractures and healings, as Filomena, now an eighty-four-year-old great-grandmother, brings them all to what will be either a wondrous reunion or a disaster that may shatter them all like the precious glass they cherish.

My comments:  I enjoyed this story about family reconciliation, but like I said, its a holiday sweet.  It is a Christian novel, but other than the fact that one of the characters is a preacher, and that fact that nobody's present happened in bed, it could be any paperback Christmas novel.  

The book has a lot of characters and as a result we really don't know any of them all that well, but on the other hand, I'll bet most people could find one or more characters with whom they can identify.  One of Filomena's granddaughter in-laws makes me think of my relationship with my inlaws--we never got close--and I wonder sometimes how much of what either of us took offense at had never been meant to be offensive, but we came from such disparate backgrounds, it was impossible for either  side to naturally act like the other.

Grade:  B.
I'd like to thank Christian Review of Books for providing this review copy.  Check their site to find reviews of a wide variety of Christian literature.
Note:  While I found this to be a pleasant but not extraordinary read, those in charge of the Inspy awards put in on the shortlist for the 2010 Inspy Awards.  You can see the entire shortlist here.

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