Friday, October 26, 2012

A Christmas Hope - Joseph Pittman

A Christmas Hope is the third tale in the series of Linden Corners books. We first meet Thomas Van Diver as an old man who has returned to the place of his birth and early childhood, the farmhouse at Linden Corners. Thomas was born in the family home next to the windmill which had been erected by his ancestors to honour their Dutch heritage. Their family had lived in that house for over four generations, almost one hundred and fifty years. Thomas, his mother and father were happy there and when Thomas was about to be five years old on Christmas Day 1942, his father was called up to the army to fight in the war in Europe. Christmas Day 1942 was the last time Thomas saw his father. But Lars Van Diver left a wonderful legacy for Thomas, a book, an antique edition of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous Christmas poem, “The Night Before Christmas”. This edition of the book was so rare that Saint Nick wore a green suit, not a red one and the illustrations were magnificent.

Several months later Thomas and his mother heard of the death of Lars who had been shot in battle. Hard times befell them and they had to sell their family home in order to survive. When Thomas was about to leave the farmhouse for the last time, he decided he would leave his book behind so that his father would have something to read when he came back to the house. Thomas never came back to Linden Corners again.

Over seventy years later, Thomas decides to return and he sets wheels in motion to find the book so he can at last say a final goodbye to his father and put the past to rest. That is when we meet the rest of the inhabitants of Linden Corners and begin to discover the magic of the place and the people who live there.

I loved this book and didn’t want it to end. It is a story of coming to terms with loss and grief but although I was close to tears several times whilst reading it, it isn’t a really sad story, as the underlying message is one of hope against the odds. Thomas Van Diver is lovely with his snazzy bow ties and gentlemanly ways and Nora, Brian, Gerta and the children Janey and Travis are trying their best to come to terms with their lives after having all loved and lost someone. They do that by helping each other and Thomas who although he had lived there as a child was relatively unknown to them all.

This is a real Christmas story. I imagined sitting by a cosy fire as it snowed outside whilst I was reading this book. Although it is the third in a series, the previous relevant happenings at Linden Corners, begin to unfold as this story progresses. If you want to read some uplifting stories to make you feel good, then perhaps start with the first book, Tilting at Windmills. The second book is called A Christmas Wish, but, definitely make sure you read A Christmas Hope.


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