Stirling, Scotland. 24 December 1894.
After a heated argument with her greedy and cynical brother Alan, a tearful and heartbroken Meg Campbell puts a sudden end to her Christmas visit, fleeing her parents’ home and heading back to Edinburgh where she works as a teacher. The cheerful holiday sentiment is now replaced by sadness and guilt as sharp as the wintry wind. Alan is disabled since the age of ten: under Meg’s very own eyes, a granite curling stone was recklessly hurled against his back by an inebriated young man, causing a serious spinal injury. As a young boy, Alan was already fostering feelings of resentment and jealousy toward his older sister. With her bright mind and independent spirit, Meg had always been her parents’ favorite child and the tragic accident only fueled Alan’s bitterness and cynicism. His debilitation provides him also with a perfect excuse to work on his sister’s guilt, drive her away from home, and finally win his parents’ undivided attention.
“Man’s goings are of the Lord“, and on the most saint of all nights a special present will be delivered to Meg by divine intervention in the person of handsome Gordon Shaw, a man whose conscience refuses to be silenced. He is in fact the young man who had accidentally injured her brother Alan years back. Not an object wrapped in paper and twine then, but the most redeeming gift of all, love. Brought together by an unprecedented snow storm and stuck on the same train bound to Edinburgh, Meg and Gordon will be initially unaware of each other’s identity, but once drawn to each other by mutual attraction, nothing will keep them apart, not even the painful secret of their shared history.
The Verdict: As a first time reader of Liz Curtis Higgs, best-selling author of inspirational fiction, I couldn’t have had a more pleasant and gratifying experience. Five shining Christmas stars is my heartfelt rating for a holiday novella that by all means excelled for the historical accuracy of its late Victorian setting, charming characterization of lead couple, clean romance, and meaningful plot. Imbued with the Christian cornerstone principles of forgiveness and redemption, and delivered with the grace of an emotionally descriptive and eloquent prose, this heart-warming holiday tale is actually good for all seasons and all ages. It will not fail to engross those readers who love all things Scottish and Christmas, as well as those who appreciate a sweet romance enriched with graceful shades of angst and suspense. Highly recommended.
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Author: Liz Curtis Higgs