The Christmas Blessing [First Edition]

by Donna VanLiere

Hardcover, 2003

Status

Available

Call number

813.6

Publication

St. Martin's Press (2003), Edition: First Edition, 240 pages

Description

Fiction. Literature. HTML: The heartwarming sequel to the beloved New York Times bestseller The Christmas Shoes From NewSong's smash-hit #1 single, to the blockbuster CBS television movie, to the New York Times bestselling novel, The Christmas Shoes has touched people's lives. Now, the story continues in The Christmas Blessing. Nathan Andrews is now a man; his greatest wish is to be a doctor. But beyond his studies of medicine, Nathan realizes there are still things to be learned about faith, blessings, giving, and sacrifice. Lessons he will learn from a young woman with a disease that seems hopeless. But hope can exist in the darkest places, and love is always the greatest gift of all..

Awards

Audie Award (Finalist — 2004)

Language

Original language

English

ISBN

1591451310 / 9781591451310

User reviews

LibraryThing member Katie_H
The sequel to "The Christmas Shoes," this faith based installment did not quite live up to expectations. The story starts with Nathan, the shoe buying boy, as an adult. He is in medical school and is questioning whether he wishes to continue in the program. While on rounds he meets cardio patients,
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Meghan, whom he quickly falls in love with, and Charlie, a child who teaches him about blessings and faith. Nathan's path once again intersects with that of Richard Layton, the man who had paid for his mother's Chrismas shoes many years ago. Even though the story is touching, the writing is sophomoric and cheesy, and the coincidences and connections are predictable and unrealistic.
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LibraryThing member lis2003
Very sweet and touching Christmas story. Perfect book to read on my holiday travels.
LibraryThing member spacely
Since the whole premise of The Christmas Shoes made no sense to me, I expected to give this book only a single star. I could see this book being helpful to someone experiencing grief and loss, and it deals reasonably well with organ donation and coming to terms with a calling. However, I felt it
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worked at a superficial and manipulative level.
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LibraryThing member loubigfish
A very good follow up to a great book. Again the characters were excellent and very meaningful. I so enjoy had someone can say things and people will remember them... A great read..
LibraryThing member exlibrisbitsy
This book is a sequel to the New York Times Bestseller The Christmas Shoes. I had no problems picking up the storyline though as it cut back and did back story constantly throughout The Christmas Blessing to cover pertinent areas for this new book. The book is about the star of The Christmas Shoes
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a little boy named Nathan that wanted to buy shoes for his mother dying of cancer. In The Christmas Blessing Nathan is now all grown up and, in the wake of his mother’s death, is now a third year medical student and is facing some difficult decisions. He is wondering if this is really his calling, and is having a tough time during a rotation in cardiology at a nearby hospital. While there he meets a young woman who has conquered her health problems, or so she thinks, and a little boy dying of them. Can these two give him the hope he needs to push towards his dreams?

As a warning, I will say that this turned out to be a Christian novel, with a lot of discussions of faith, some bible quotes, and prayer. Some people like to know these things before getting into a book. So, consider yourself warned. It wasn’t enough to turn me off of the book, at least not the Christian angle alone, though I will say I did find a lot of the arguments and discussions about faith and death to fall terribly flat. It was preaching to the choir.

I did not like this book. I could not believe that The Christmas Shoes made it on to the New York Times Bestseller list if this is how the author honestly writes. I noticed a reviewer on Amazon mentioned that this book seemed like it was written to be made into a movie, and perhaps that was my problem with it. It read more like a screenplay than like a novel.

The dialogue was stilted, wooden and often superfluous. It's like this author wrote how they thought people talked, and not how they actually do. I could tell that there were jokes being said by the characters but the delivery, while perhaps successful if done through an actor's inflection and maybe hand gestures instead of solely through the medium it was provided in, fell flat on the page. There was also a lot of conversation that just didn't do anything. It didn't advance the plot, illuminate a character, or even serve to be amusing, it was just filler and dull filler at that.

Then there was the amount of telling going on in the story, and the lack of showing. Two reasons for this could be that, first off, this was written more like a screenplay than a novel, and secondly that the author needed to explain it because more than just myself was completely lost by the way these people acted and spoke. Again, it was more like how the author thought people did things, not how things are actually done, or at least it seemed so to me. I was frustrated by the amount of telling, but I also admit that without it this book wouldn't have had very much meat at all, and might have been incomprehensible.

Foreshadowing was another thing that bothered me. I would read something that I was certain was going to foreshadow something else, just to find out actually it was just a useless tidbit included for no reason. When they finally did foreshadow, it wasn't foreshadow as much as more or less give away the plot for the next several chapters. Granted, the author did not give away the ending at least. In fact, the reverse, the author pretty much flat out told the reader things were going to end one way, doing everything but wave a flag and point and shout to look the other way and then, bam, pulled out a different ending. It wasn't really surprising, I only briefly entertained the notion that she might end it the first way simply because, by that point, I thought that little of her.

The book was redeemed somewhat by the ending. I was surprised once, by one twist, and so that made me feel a little better about the book overall. In the end though I felt like I was reading a book about some other parallel world where people thought and spoke and acted very differently from us. I couldn't relate to these people, I couldn't get their jokes, I couldn't understand their inferences, or place myself in a position where I could sympathize with their problems. I was completely at a loss to understand them or their world.

The last third of the book all of the characters spent in tears and I couldn't even get a little choked up about it. Sure, what they were going through was trying, horrible and devastating. But, it was not written in any sort of way to make me empathize with that. Could this author tell a story? Absolutely. Could this author write a book? No way.
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LibraryThing member RebeccaRoupp
Wonderful book that tells a heart-warming Christmas story! Keep the tissues handy.
LibraryThing member SABC
A stranger, named Robert gives Nathan money to buy his mother a pair of shoes for her last Christmas. Nathan begins to learn about loosing when his mother dies of cancer. He learns lessons of love and giving as he matures into a fine young doctor.
LibraryThing member nancynova
We meet Nathan again, now a med student on a difficult cardiology rotation with a gruff attending. Nathan meets Meghan, a young woman born with a unrepaired hole in the heart that doesn't keep her from running, although another disease strikes her later in the book. And Charlie, a youngster also
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with heart issues that has required multiple hospitalizations, who considers himself Meghan's coach. Keep the tissues handy for this one, that has a Christmas blessing (or miracle).
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LibraryThing member mom2lnb
The Christmas Blessing is a lovely follow-up to the first book of the Christmas Hope series, The Christmas Shoes. Nathan Andrews, the little boy from that story who had been so desperate to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother, is all grown up and studying to be a doctor, but is doubting
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whether that is the right course for his life. Every time he looses a patient, it's like reliving his mother's death, and he isn't getting along very well with the doctor in charge of his rotation either. Then he meets a young woman whose zest for life, in spite of being born with a hole in her heart, is absolutely infectious, and his whole life changes.

I really liked the grown-up Nathan. His doubts and fears were very relatable. He is such a sensitive young man, and I have to agree with everyone who kept telling him he'd make a great doctor. Caring so much about his patients was really hard on him, but it made him so much more genuine. Doctors who truly care seem to be few and far between, so I really liked this aspect of his character. His struggle with his belief in whether miracles can really happen was very understandable too. I could also relate to his quiet, unassuming nature, and his difficulty talking with some people which made his immediate connection to Meghan all the more special. Their love was so sweet and their relationship reminded me of the beginnings of my own romance with my husband. I also loved the closeness he shared with his father, sister and grandmother which was just a more mature version of their family ties in The Christmas Shoes.

I couldn't help but admire Meghan for her indomitable spirit. She never let her medical condition get in the way of following her dreams, and her determination led her to be a first-class runner. It was really hard to read about such a vibrant young woman becoming so sick almost instantly, but her illness was the catalyst which helped Nathan finally realize his own destiny. Meghan's young friend, Charlie, a fellow heart patient who acted as her unofficial coach was a big inspiration to her and others. I loved how Meghan and Charlie's families were always there supporting them unconditionally. They, along with Nathan's family, gave the story a great deal of warmth. The spirit of Nathan's mother lived on in the beautiful letters she wrote to her son before she died which was another lovely aspect to the story, as were the sweet little letters that Nathan's grandmother encouraged him to write to his mother over the years.

What I think I liked most about The Christmas Blessing and Donna VanLiere's writing in general is that she has a way with imparting a wonderful message of Christian faith without being too trite or preachy. It's done in a gentle, almost philosophical way through an object lesson that I think readers from many walks of life and faiths could relate to. I have to admit to being on pins and needles wondering how the story would turn out, and although there was definitely some sadness, there was also great joy in the end too. Overall, The Christmas Blessing was a great companion novel to The Christmas Shoes that has also earned a spot on my keeper shelf. There is television movie of the same name based on the book which I look forward to checking out, and although I'm not sure if the remaining books in the Christmas Hope series are related to these two books by characters or plot, I'm eager to read them during future holiday seasons.
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