Synopses & Reviews
Each Christmas we are given a promise from heaven. And each year on earth we make promises to each other. This is a story about how a promise from one person to another shows us the true meaning of faith, remembrance, and love.
Seven years ago Gloria endured a family tragedy that almost shook her faith entirely. Each Christmas she places a card in an envelope on her tree, restating a promise she made to her husband before he died. Now, having moved from her small town and all the painful memories it held, she is building a life by caring for people in need. Whether its a young mother who cant pay her electric bill or a family who needs some extra food, Gloria always finds a way.
Miriam is a thorn in Glorias side. Miriam is a constantly critical, disapproving neighbor who looks with suspicion at all the good things Gloria does. When a twist of fate makes them roommates instead of neighbors, its the ultimate test of patience and faith.
Chaz has a good job as head of security at Wilsons Department Store, but each night he returns home to an empty apartment. He longs for a wife and family of his own but realizes that the life choices hes made have alienated him. He befriends a young boy whose mother has fallen on hard times, giving him a chance to have a life he thought impossible.
In The Christmas Promise, the lives of these characters collide and we learn that even as we move ahead, the past is never far behind. And when we are forgiven much, we love much. In this warmly humorous and deeply poignant story, we are reminded that the Christmas Promise is the promise of second chances.
"Van Liere's seasonal confection (following The Christmas Hope) finds 60-year-old Gloria Bailey doing informal good works for needy cases seven years after her husband died, and her youngest son, Matthew, disappeared without a trace at age 17. With infinite good nature, Gloria fends off the complaints of her crabby widow neighbor, Miriam, annoyed by the constant riffraff at Gloria's house, while Gloria still sadly hopes that wayward Matthew will somehow return. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Chaz McConnell, a hard-luck drifter and drinker with a good heart, starts his Christmas season job as a security guard at the local department store and is reluctantly drawn into the lives of the people around him. Everyone changes for the better in this tidy fable." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for The Christmas Shoes
"A delightful book." --Tampa Tribune & Times
Praise for The Christmas Blessing:
"A cozy, inspirational holiday tale." --Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Christmas Hope:
"A magical story of second chances that will stay with readers long after the ornaments have been put away." --Bookpage
"Donna VanLiere does a superior job of dramatizing her story
in The Christmas Hope." --AudioFile magazine
From the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "The Christmas Shoes" comes the next inspiring novel in her Christmas Hope series: a deeply moving story about second chances and the power of love.
The next inspiring novel in Donna VanLiere's perennially bestselling Christmas Hope series--a deeply moving story about second chances and the power of love
Donna VanLiere's books movingly portray ordinary people reaching for more meaningful lives. In The Christmas Promise
, she follows two seemingly separate individuals and shows how their lives intersect. Chaz McConnell realizes that his life is empty--and he's made it that way. He goes home every night to a bare apartment. For the first time in his life, he's working at a job that will last more than a few weeks, as security for Wilson's Department Store. Trying to reach out, he befriends 4-year-old Donovan, whose mother is part of the janitorial team at Wilson's.
Gloria Bailey finds it easy to care for families in need but just can't seem to bridge the gap with her cantankerous neighbor, 60-something widow Miriam Lloyd Davies. When Miriam goes away for a week and a pipe bursts she comes home to a house under water. Gloria, in an act of kindness--or maybe insanity--invites Miriam to stay at her house until a hotel room becomes available. They eventually realize they have more in common than they ever thought. In this beautiful, deeply poignant novel, we are reminded that the past is never far behind and all of us are longing for a place to call home.
About the Author
Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. Her much-loved Christmas Hope series includes The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies for CBS Television; The Christmas Secret; The Christmas Journey; and The Christmas Hope, which was adapted into a film by Lifetime. She is also the author of The Angels of Morgan Hill and Finding Grace. VanLiere is the recipient of a Retailer's Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, and a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year. She is a gifted speaker who speaks regularly at conferences. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and their children.
Reading Group Guide
1.) If Chaz were sitting this group, what would you ask him? Considering all that you now know about Glorias life, what would you ask her?
2.) In what ways are the lives of Chaz and Miriam similar? Have you personally known anyone who is “difficult to reach” on a personal level? If you managed to get close to them, how did you do it?
3.) In your opinion, what is the source of tension between Gloria and Miriam? In what ways are the two women similar? Different? Do you like, dislike, pity or have other feelings for Miriam?
4.) Who was your favorite character in the novel and why?
5.) How do Chaz, Gloria, and Miriam change over the course of the novel? Which character can you most closely identify and why?
6.) How have the choices Chaz and Gloria made defined their lives?
7.) As you read The Christmas Promise, did you begin to feel as if you knew the people involved? If so, would you rather have Miriam or Gloria as a neighbor and why?
8.) How would you describe this book? Is it a love story or of heartbreak? Is it the story of a mothers devotion? A novel of how choices define us? Or is it something bigger and deeper?
9.) Why do you think Marshall Wilson gave Matt a second chance? If you were his employee would you have been inclined to fire him or keep him?
10.) Why do you think Matt and Erin would have been drawn to each other?
11.) One of the underlying themes of the book is that of destiny. What other themes did you discover in your reading?
12.) What do you think Glorias relationship is like with her son today? What kind of father do you think Matt will be? What kind of mother do you think Carla is today? Is Miriam still self-absorbed or do you think she readily befriends others now?
13.) What do you think the author is referring to by the promise of Christmas?