A Wreath of Snow

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Member Reviews

I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
When I read the description of ‘A Wreath Of Snow’ by Liz Curtis Higgs, I had images of fires, snow, and hot coffee dancing through my mind.  I do enjoy the Victorian period and therefore any book set in that time and was eager to get started on this book.
Although ‘neatly’ written, I was not blown away by this Christmas tale.  This was my first encounter with the author so I couldn’t compare this to any of her other works, however, I have read Christian fiction before which was more attention-grabbing than this book.
There was no depth to the book, and I didn’t experience any highs or lows.  The one possible climax in the book was downplayed and I almost missed it.  
I have read some reviews on this book and other works of the author and based on that I will consider reading more from said author.  Unfortunately, ‘A Wreath of Snow’ didn’t do it for me.
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It's Christmas time in Victorian Scotland, and Meg has just come home for the holidays. Unfortunately, her brother Alan drives her away with his unkind and disagreeable attitude. As she heads back to Edinburgh, the train gets stuck in a snowstorm. Meg soon learns that the kind man who helps her is Gordon Shaw, the man who injured her brother in an accident twelve years before. Can Meg and her family forgive Gordon, and can her attraction to him bloom into something more?
I loved this well written, atmospheric novella, especially because it was set in Scotland. The characters were relatable, the story and descriptions were realistic, and the message of forgiveness was dealt with in a biblical way. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of Scotland at Christmas, as well as the inclusion of trains in the plot. The relationship between Meg and Gordon was sweet, and I liked the way the story ended. I will definitely have to read more of the author's books. I highly recommend this novella.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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I love Christmas books.  This one was a quick read.  If you do not like reading Christian fiction or Christian Christmas books then I would not read this one.  There was a bit too much Christian slant for it to be a secular read.  I enjoyed the storyline.  I was hoping at the end of the book to gain more understanding of why the characters behaved as they did or chose how they did.  For me, the author left me wondering and looking back to see if I missed the details.  I really enjoyed the setting and the time era.  That was most definitely my favorite part.
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This story is short, sweet and warming just like you’d expect from a Christmas treat. 

It is all about LOVE: self love, familial love, love for fellow man, falling in love, and God’s Love.

It has all the elements you’d expect: romance, family turmoil, an ornery a-hole, a personal barrier to break through, forgiveness and, of course, a happy ending.  
It took me a while to get into the story. I wish it drew me in faster. I almost didn’t push through after the first couple chapters, but I’m glad I did because once I cared about the characters, I enjoyed it. 
So if you find yourself debating on stopping, don’t. 
It just might end up warming your heart. 

It also comes with a Scottish shortbread recipe, that I’m looking forward to make, as the description of the Christmas dinner made it sound so yummy. 

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity Team for the copy of this story through NetGalley.
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Step into a Victorian Christmas Eve, 1894, in the small town of Stirling, Scotland. You’ll enter a living Christmas card of candles in the windows, and families gathered by their glowing fireplaces or around their festive dining tables looking forward to presents and church in the morning. But for two young people, there is little joy to celebrate. 

Margaret “Meg” Campbell is twenty-six and a school teacher living alone in a house she inherited in Edinburgh. She had returned to her parents’ home for the holidays, but she decides to leave abruptly due to family problems. She heads back to the train station without telling her family.

Handsome Gordon Shaw is on assignment in Stirling as a reporter for a newspaper. With his business done, he heads to the train station and hastens to leave before anyone recognizes him. It’s been twelve years since he had to flee the town.

The station is a flurry with happy families coming and going to their holiday destinations. Our two young people just want to be left alone, but by chance Gordon and Meg meet on the train. Gordon recognizes her because she is part of an unfortunate accident that Gordon caused 12 years ago. Meg doesn’t recognize him; if anything, she is attracted to his handsome and honest looks. 

A Christmas Eve snowstorm disrupts everyone’s plans and sets in motion a story of forgiveness and redemption so filled with love and hope that it will warm every reader’s heart and deliver the true spirit and message of Christmas that we all search for. I know many readers are fans of the author. She writes using a strong foundation of research and then adds a framework of good storytelling. I highly recommend this book- give yourself this charming and lovely gift.
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Liz Curtis Higgs is a fantastic author of both contemporary and historical Christian novels as well as nonfiction Biblical novels.  In this historical novel, Meg returns home in hopes of a relaxing Christmas with her family.  She didn't go home to fall in love or to learn how to forgive...but love finds her unexpectedly and the need to forgive AND be forgiven becomes a very real need in her life--and the lives of her immediate family members.  Great romance that shares the love of God and redemption and grace and forgiveness.
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This book was not for me. The writing was well done but I just could not get into the story or the plot. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
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Forgiveness is important

With "A wreath of snow" Liz Curtis Higgs presents a Christmas story about forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. It is a romance novella, first published in January 2011, then again in October 2012. It presents real characters and the novella can be read in little time. The book deals with the complex topic of forgiveness - redemption - restoration. The various quotes at the beginning of the chapters add character to the book.
The story takes place on Christmas eve in 1894 in Stirlings, Scotland. Margaret (Meg), a 26 year old teacher in England is originally from Stirling. She came home for Christmas, but flees the Christmas celebration because of the situation in the home where she grew up. Her plan is to return to Edinburgh. Alan is Meg's lazy brother who was supposedly injured in the back by a curling stone when he was 10 years old. He is a difficult individual and increasingly bitter, due also to the fact that Meg's and Alan's parents do everything for him, set no boundaries, and let him be abusive to others.
On he train trip back which is delayed due to the snow storm Meg meets Gordon, originally also from Stirlings, who is a newspaper reporter. He recognizes her, but she does not recognize him. He was the guy who caused the accident 12 years before when he threw the curling stone while being drunk.
Gordon feels guilty, lives an alcohol-free live since the day of the accident. He wants to make contact with the family to ask for forgiveness. After the train accident caused by the "wreaths" (this is not only a Christmas decoration, "wreath" is also Scottish for snow drifts) the passengers have to walk back to walk back to Stirling on the train tracks which is not an easy undertaking.
Upon their arrival Meg's parents provide Gordon with a place to stay until he can travel once again. He gets the chance he was looking for which leads to surprising ending.

I knew other books written by Liz Curtis Higgs, e.g. "Bad girls of the Bible and what we can learn from them", but this was the first novella of hers. I liked it very much and highly recommend it.
This book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley free of charge. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
#AWreathOfSnow	#NetGalley
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Disclaimer: I received n e-ARC of this from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A clean, historical tale set in Scotland in 1896. A good, solid read 3.75 stars out of 5 stars.
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A Wreath Of Snow Is an engaging story.  How so? Well I'm glad you asked. It takes you to a time when hearth and truth and CHRIST was looked on as dignified and right - can you imagine? - being right by loving your SAVIOR.  What a grand idea. Ms. Higgs really knows how to bring you back in time and truly make you feel like you're there when you hear a phone go off while reading - for a second you'd be discombobulated - I was - to funny - you will be transformed and transfixed and be glad you did.
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Margaret and Gordon were both passengers on a train stuck on the railroad tracks in a blizzard on Christmas Eve. She does not recognize him, but he recognizes her. He was responsible for the accident that injured her bother putting him in a wheelchair 12 years ago. Forgiveness and guilt play a large part of this story.  I liked both Meg and Gordon. They were both suffering in their own way, yet still had kindness for others. Meg's brother, on the other hand, does not elicit much sympathy as he is rather boorish and insufferable expecting everyone to wait on him and that their lives revolve around him. Although it is a bit predictable, this is a warm Victorian Christmas story of forgiveness and redemption. it is a great story, with wonderful writing and a message of both forgiveness asked and given can lighten anyone's load.
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I can honestly say that A Wreath of Snow is not at all what I expected and I’m so glad for that. Meg and Gordon are believable, but both hurting and carrying burdens from Gordon’s long-ago mistake. Though I wanted to sympathize with Meg’s brother, the accidental victim, his intolerable attitude towards everything made me find him insufferable and, like all good fiction, forced me to wonder how exactly I would behave and react were I the other characters. The love and forgiveness each character is forced to find and display is an inspiration that will endure well beyond Christmas.
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A Wreath of Snow is Liz Curtis Higgs at her best. It's a fairly short story, yet she manages to pack in all the feels and a heartfelt message. Her writing is lyrical and simply a joy to read. Her characters have depth and her storytelling leaves me lingering in thought long after the final chapter is read.
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Four out of 5 stars!  I've read many books by Liz Curtis Higgs in the past and have loved them!  A Wreath of Snow did not disappoint me either.  I loved the main characters, Meg & Gordan, plus the Scotland setting in this novella.  Both Meg and Gordan struggled with forgiveness from a situation that happened many years ago.  Meg struggled with giving forgiveness to her brother, Alan, and Gordan needed to lighted his load by offering forgiveness.  He also longed to be forgiven for a grievious mistake from his past.  By the end of the story, they both received what they were seeking, plus a relationship to top it off!  Alan, Meg's brother, was the least likeable character due to his resentments, neediness, and deceptious nature.  Alan has a lot to work through, to say the least!  Higgs clearly put in many hours of research into Stirling, Scotland.  I'll definitely be on the look out for more of her novels!  Thank you, Netgalley and WaterBrook Publishers, for a free digital copy of A Wreath of Snow in exchange for an honest review.
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“Meg bowed her head and drew in a quiet breath. The stillness reminded her of standing in the quiet countryside last evening. She listened, eyes closed, as the words fell on her like fresh snow.” 

This novella was a lovely Christmas read, brimming with meaning and atmosphere. Set in Scotland during the Victorian era, this story of forgiveness and grace is a perfect fit for the season.

Two strangers cross paths on a train bound from Stirling to Edinburgh. When the engine gets caught in a snowdrift, the passengers must trek through the storm back to Stirling. In the chaos that ensues, the pair discover they share a painful event from their past.

This story is clearly well-researched. After her Thorn in My Heart and Here Burns My Candle series, Liz Curtis Higgs is an old hand at describing the region. I particularly enjoyed her mention that “an elderly neighbor, the sprightly Mrs. Thomson, had climbed all two hundred forty-six steps of the Wallace Monument on a dare,” as I had huffed up that steep hill last summer myself.

The author’s Christian message is present but not overbearing, as it fits in with the setting. Believers and nonbelievers alike can appreciate the message, not to mention a reminder of the Christmas tale: “When the lessons moved to the gospels of Luke, then Matthew, then John, the ancient story came alive once more.”

Overall, a sweet story and timely read.
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