A Homespun Christmas: A 1929 Christmas Novella

Written by M.L. Gardner

HomespunChristmas,picThis is part of the author’s 1929 series and the first of them I have had the pleasure of reading. I must admit that it was the title which attracted my interest. That is not to say the book is without substance. Even though the book is less than one hundred pages, Gardner deftly paints the character and emotions of three families who have endured much hardship during the depression. They no longer have financial resources, but make up for it in love and generosity of spirit.

The reader travels through the Christmas season of 1933 beginning on December 19 and ending on December 25. Three friends, Jonathan, Caleb and Ian work hard on their fishing boat to provide the bare necessities for their families. They and their wives have promised not to exchange gifts so they can afford something for the children. The reader watches the self-sacrifice of the parents as they secretly figure out ways to please each other. One of their children, Jean desperately wants to buy a doll for his sister Amy. His friend Owin understands his pain and hides his own savings for Jean to find. The fact that Owin can see and hear “angels” and knows when deceased relatives are present is a nice holiday touch. You are reminded of O’Henry and feel the real meaning of Christmas. These characters are exquisitely drawn; the reader feels their ups and downs as well as their happiness and their pain.

Highly recommend this book around holiday time or any time you want to feel uplifted. This novella weaves together a dose of history, life’s struggles, humor, family life, holiday traditions and appealing characters in one neat package. Recommended for tweens, teens and adults.

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