Christmas Shoes [Hardcover] by VanLiere,Donna

by Donna VanLiere

Hardcover, 2002



Call number



INTEGRITY PUBS (2002), 144 pages

Original publication date



Fiction. Literature. Christian Fiction. HTML: Already a Christmas classic, The Christmas Shoes, is an extraordinary tale based on the remarkably popular song of the same name. The heartwarming story by NewSong instantly soared to the top of the charts, mesmerizing listeners. The books has captured the hearts of readers everywhere. The Christmas Shoes follows the paths of a man and a boy through one fateful, snowy Christmas. Beautifully rendered and poignantly touching The Christmas Shoes tells a take of hope, love and faith..


Audie Award (Finalist — 2003)


Original language




User reviews

LibraryThing member silenceiseverything
Okay, I'm a Christmas freak. There really is no other way to put it. I just love everything about Christmas: the ambience, the decorations, the nice, cold winters, the food, the music (that I start to listen to in September), the movies (that I tend to watch all year round), and so much more.
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Except for the Christmas books. For some reason, I have yet to find a Christmas book that I truly love (in the interest of full disclosure I will say that I have yet to read A Christmas Carol. I know...). Unfortunately, The Christmas Shoes was no exception.

I didn't mind the cliches, I didn't mind the heartwarming-ness that can sometimes make people want to gag, I didn't mind the sweetness. What I did mind was the fact that apparently I was supposed to feel something for these characters, yet I couldn't because they weren't at all developed. Every single character fell into their stereotypic roles. And sometimes I can deal with that. But in The Christmas Shoes I couldn't because there was just nothing other than the stereotypical characters there. I'm supposed to feel depressed, at first, because of all that sad things that were happening and then feel oh so happy when the resolution rolled around. Maybe I would have...if the characters weren't paper thin development wise. But since they were, I didn't feel anything for any of them and in turn, I didn't feel what I was supposed to be feeling while reading the book.

So, unfortunately, I found The Christmas Shoes to be a huge disappointment. I just didn't find anything reedemable about it. It was a quick page-turner, but mostly because the book is so short. It would have been better with a couple hundred more pages to flesh some of the characters out. I, however, will still check out the movie as it seems eons better than the book.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
Continuing with holiday reading, and my quest to read books on my shelves, this was a book given to me a few years ago by a neighbor and I finally got around to reading it. Get out the syrup, the gooiest candy you can find, the sweetest chocolate, the sugary icing on the cake, add a large heaping
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of corny triteness, blend with a peppermint stick, and there you have it...The Christmas Shoes!

I'm not sure I can recommend this wholeheartedly, but to borrow Stasia's phrase, I'll say "guardedly recommended". If you like schmaltzy, tear at your heart strings stories, then this would be for you.

Robert is a lawyer who, in his haste to accumulate titles and tangible goods, lost track of the importance of a loving family and wife. Nathan is a little boy who knows the importance of life and if one wish could be granted it would be to have his mother well and cancer free.

Both Robert and Nathan lose their parents on Christmas Eve. Robert finds the meaning of life and Nathan continues to hold all that is dear in his heart.

A cute Christmas story wherein you can hear the violin music emanating from the pages as you read them.
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LibraryThing member loubigfish
This is a very moving story and one that has meaning in every chapter. Each and every character has something to give to one another. This parallels with most people's lives and is one that will surely make you quiver as it reminds you of your relationships thoughout your memories. Take heart and
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you WILL remember his story for a long time.
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LibraryThing member foof2you
Nice tear jerker that will get one in the sprirt of the season. An easy read that will not tax one too much.
LibraryThing member faith42love
If any of you know the song the Christmas shoes, this novel pulls on your heart strings in the exact same way. This story was fantastic and I think I might reread it during the holiday season, although it can bring you down to earth anytime of the year. It brought home points like what is important
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in my life? And, how do I treat my loved ones? It was a short book, almost more of a novella than a novel (which was nice for challenges, he he.) I did find some of the writing somewhat simplistic and a bit too preachy. Otherwise, great book for a soul search.
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LibraryThing member ShellSingle
Really good movie and book. Very moving.
LibraryThing member dbhutch
I have watched the movie based on this book and heard the song for a few years , when i saw the book i had to read it.
This is a awesome book, i cried almost the whole way through it.
The way the two stories unfold together is wonderful and the intersecting is great .. and then to have them meet
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again is wonderful . very moving
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LibraryThing member BornBookish
So technically this is an adult book, but there is nothing in it that makes it unsuitable for a younger audience, the only difference is that the main characters are not teenagers.

As my mom called it, this was a 52-handkerchief book. I had to keep putting the book down to go grab a tissue, that is
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until about my fifth time up when I finally just grabbed the box. Although this story is a tearjerker, it is also very uplifting, and heart warming at the same time.

The story is centered around two different families. Robert, his wife, two daughters, and mother and also eight year-old Nathan, his mother, father, sister, and grandmother. It might sound like a lot to follow but its not. The book is constantly jumping from family to family, and changing perspective, which did get confusing a couple of times where I wouldn’t know who was talking at first, but if I just read a few more sentences I could always figure it out.

This is book one in author Donna VanLieres’ Christmas Hope Series and I look forward to reading the rest! I already have a copy of The Christmas Promise, which I’ve already started.
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LibraryThing member Katie_H
Since Christmas is coming quickly, I decided to throw a couple of Christmas books into my queue to help me get into the holiday spirit. This book is based on the famous and heartbreaking song of the same name, and it was no less of a tearjerker. Robert is a successful and workaholic attorney, who
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has spent so much time providing his family with material wants as opposed to emotional needs, that his marriage is now falling apart. Nathan is a young boy who is losing his beloved mother to cancer. In a brief chance meeting, Nathan triggers a Christmas Miracle that transforms Robert's outlook and life forever. The writing is mediocre and a tad juvenile, but the parable is perfectly fitting for the season, and is a testament to the enormous effect that a tiny event can have on the grand scheme of things. The book is faith based, so some may prefer to stay away, but most will find it touching and inspirational regardless.
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LibraryThing member Erika.D
I loved the song and the book. I couldn't help but cry through most of the story!
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
I’m sure you’ve heard the Christmas song about the little boy who wants to buy a special pair of shoes for his Mama on Christmas. She’s dying and he wants her to feel special when she meets Jesus.

Well, VanLiere expands that song into this novella. The writing is trite and the story line,
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melodramatic and manipulative. There are a few redeeming qualities. I really did like the interactions of the Andrews family: Nathan, dad Jack and mom Maggie. I also really liked Nathan’s teacher and the ways she tried to help this small boy deal with the sadness and stress of his mother’s illness. But I was totally turned off and unbelieving of the great turnaround that Robert makes. I knew the story was headed there (I have heard the song numerous times), but didn’t feel that VanLiere made it believable.

Final verdict: Call me a Scrooge or a Grinch; I grew to hate the song and the book isn’t much better.
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LibraryThing member mrsz5104
This book is an annual read for me. The characters are real and can easily be seen in everyday life. A man coming a across a little boy and a pair of shoes seems like nothing. But, the author turns it into a life changing event. Robert has his awakening. We should all be lucky enough to have such a
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LibraryThing member Circlestonesbooks
Nice book to read around Christmas, even if a little bit 'overdosed'.
LibraryThing member KimSalyers
loved this book and movie
LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
Several lives intersect in ways no one imagines.

Robert thinks providing for his family materially is good enough--to the point where he works such long hours that he's estranged from his family and facing divorce.

Nathan's father Jack works as a mechanic but his employers recognize the importance of
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family. Nathan's mother is dying and after hearing his teacher's story about jeweled shoes, he wants to buy his mother a pair of beautiful shoes. When he doesn't have enough money to pay for them, he turns to the man in line behind him. That man happens to be Robert.

I'm still not quite sure why buying that pair of shoes affected Robert in the way it did. Don't get me wrong--I'm glad it did. I'm glad he had time to tell his mother of the change before she too passed away.
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LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
I fell in love with the song "The Christmas Shoes" by NewSong when I first heard it some years ago now - it always makes me cry! Yet, despite sharing the same title, when I picked up this novel by Donna VanLiere, I had no idea that it was the book that inspired the song.The story follows the
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journey of two families who are on the brink of collapse. One because the mother is dying and the second due to a workaholic father who puts his family a distant second.

Although "The Christmas Shoes lacked the emotional pull that the song has and the writing wasn't the best, it was still a touching read which reminded me of the classic story "The Gift of the Magi" and had me welling up with tears. Overall, this was a gentle story about the importance of family and the true meaning of Christmas.
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LibraryThing member mom2lnb
I had recently been lamenting the fact that I hadn't read a true tear-jerker yet this year. I have been know to get a bit misty-eyed at certain scenes, but it is a rare book that makes me actually shed tears. The Christmas Shoes did exactly that and more. It made me cry buckets both while reading
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it and afterwards while merely thinking about it, and again while trying to write this review. There is a profound and beautiful message packed into this simple short story. It may have been difficult to read at times, evoking many deep and heartfelt emotions, but it was worth every moment. I have been left thinking about it long after turning the last page, which is what I hope for every time I pick up a book to read.

My favorite movie at Christmastime is It's a Wonderful Life, and The Christmas Shoes reminded me of it in some ways. Both stories are about the serendipitous nature of life and how each of our lives are important, intertwined with the lives of others, and can affect anyone with whom we come in contact in unexpected ways. It may not seem like some small thing we've done even mattered, but it's possible that it was the thing that utterly changed another person's life, all by us merely being in the right place at the right time. The meeting between Robert and Nathan in The Christmas Shoes was very brief, but during that short encounter, Nathan gave Robert a much-needed wake-up call, while Robert opened his heart enough to fulfill Nathan's Christmas wish for his dying mother. It all makes me wonder in what mysterious and unknown ways I might have affected the life of someone with whom I've come in contact, over the forty years of my own life.

I believe that The Christmas Shoes is the first book I've read that alternates between first and third person perspective. Robert's scenes are written in his first-person voice, while the rest of the book is written from the third-person point of view of various other characters. I didn't really have any difficulty following it, but it did take a little getting used to. Overall, I think this style worked well. Robert was the character whose life seemed to be the most affected, so it made sense to have his part be in first person. No matter what voice they were speaking in, all the characters were vividly brought to life in a touching and realistic way.

In the beginning, Robert is difficult to like. He is a rather selfish workaholic attorney who has become very materialistic and cynical (think shades of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol). His life is about to fall apart with his wife asking for a divorce after Christmas, but he still can't seem to figure out what he truly wants in life or how to make it happen. He also isn't very nice to some of the other characters in the story, and never really spends any time with his family. Once I came to the realization that Robert is a man who has lost his way and doesn't comprehend what is truly important in life, I was able to feel more sympathetic toward him, but real change doesn't come for him until he meets up with an eight-year-old little boy while doing last minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve.

While Robert's lifestyle is one of wealth bereft of human connections, Nathan's family has lived very simply, barely making ends meet on his father's salary as a mechanic, yet they have a home that is brimming full of love. His mother, Maggie made it that way, but now she is dying of cancer. I thoroughly admired Maggie's strength and dignity in the face of death. She didn't complain or ask “Why me?”. She chose to live her final days giving as much as she was physically able to her family. Maggie and Jack had a tragic romance to be sure, but one that was filled with more love in the seemingly short time they had together than some couples experience in a lifetime. That love was obviously passed on to their children, especially Nathan who was thoughtful enough to want to give his mother a very special present for her last Christmas with them and in doing so opened the eyes of a man who was lost to help him rediscover his way in life.

Death can be a very difficult topic for some people, and even I have to admit to being a former death phobic. I have slowly been challenged in my thinking on the subject, first by the death of both my parents more than ten years ago, and more recently by the death of two beloved pets who, through their final moments, taught me some very important lessons. It may seem strange to some, but I found a certain peace and beauty in these creature's passings and know that I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else but helping them to make that transition. I mention these things, because I absolutely loved the way Donna VanLiere handles death in The Christmas Shoes. She treats it not as something to be feared, but as something that can be very beautiful, a mere step into the afterlife. I also greatly admired the way that Maggie and Jack handled the subject of her impending death with Nathan. It is my fervent opinion that in cases like this, kids should be treated intelligently and allowed to make their own decisions, which can lead to a better sense of peace and closure for them.

Even though The Christmas Shoes was printed by a mainstream publisher, I have seen the book categorized as Christian fiction, and I suppose in some ways it is. The author is a Christian, and the characters talk about God, heaven, and how Christmas is the celebration of the Christ child's birth. Still, I think that the messages about love, life, death and how the choices we make can affect others, are universal ones that can be appreciated by anyone. In my opinion, the story is never preachy, nor does it seek to advance any sort of religious agenda. It merely tells an inspiring tale, leaving it up to the individual reader to discern the deeper meaning contained within its pages, which to me is the best kind of story, Christian or otherwise. In fact, I lost count of all the characters who were behaving in, what to my way of thinking, was a truly “Christ-like” manner which was very impressive to me. Although several main characters were shining beacons of light too, I was particularly taken by the kindness of some of the secondary characters like Nathan's teacher, Mrs. Patterson, the hospice nurse, Sylvia, and the anonymous lady who merely washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen the day after Maggie's death. They became a humble and sometimes silent expression of the real spirit of Christmas by showing God's love in service to those in need.

The Christmas Shoes is the first book in the Christmas Hope series. There are currently five books in the series, and the next one, The Christmas Blessing, follows Nathan as a young man dealing with new challenges in his grown-up life. I may not get a chance to read The Christmas Blessing this holiday season, but I will definitely be reading it at some point in the future. For anyone who isn't aware, The Christmas Shoes is based on the song of the same name recorded by the group NewSong. I've heard it on the radio at Christmastime a few times, and it always makes me cry just like the book did. There was also a made-for-TV movie adapted from the book which aired on television a few years ago and is now available on DVD. While recently shopping, I chanced to find a copy at Target even though I wasn't specifically searching for it, and I am now looking forward to watching it soon. Overall, The Christmas Shoes is an amazing book that made me cry like I don't think any other story ever has, but also left me with some very profound food for thought. Enjoy isn't quite the right word for such a heart-wrenching read, but it was a beautiful and utterly moving experience that has touched my heart and mind in inexplicable ways with its pure and simple expression of the true meaning of the holiday season. I highly recommend this book to all readers. Just be sure to have a box of tissues handy for the inevitable flood of tears.

Note: This book has no objectionable content, so in my opinion, would be suitable for teen readers and possibly even pre-teens as long as they wouldn't be bothered by the highly emotional nature of the subject matter.
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LibraryThing member jntjesussaves
Writing: 5.0; Theme: 5.0; Content: 5.0; Language: 5.0; Overall: 5.0

A mother, husband, and young son must grieve the loss of their beloved daughter, wife, and mother on Christmas day. Their lives intersect with a self-absorbed man who realizes that his relationship with his wife and two young
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daughters is about to dissolve into a divorce. The moral of the story is that small things make a great difference in life. Highly recommend.

***December 11, 2023***
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LibraryThing member LauGal
This is a very short read,but it had a slow start.Once all the elements of the story started coming together,it picked up speed and "got ya" at the end.
Good holiday story,reminds you it is not the Mall or the shopping or other distractions that are important!
LibraryThing member shellyb
A great book but very heartwrenching. You need to have at least tissues if not packages of handkerchiefs for this one!
LibraryThing member HHL_Canada
I absolutely love this book. It’s heartwarming and draws you deeply into the characters lives.

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