“The Gift of Christmas Past” by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

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Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.

Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. 

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

I love, love, love this book!  Hadley is such an exciting character.  She’s an overcomer, in the words of Mandisa, and even though her life has been unspeakably hard, she continually looks outward at how she can use her experiences to help others.  I love that perspective.  Elliott is just as fun – because even though she’s not quite as together as Hadley, maybe, she’s all in for being generous and smart and working toward the combined improvement of their circumstances.  I love their willingness to stick together and work together.
Monroe is complicated, but I love the stance that he takes near the end of the book, and if there was any doubt in my mind about his character, that resolved it.  I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil anything, but he turns out to be a pretty cool guy – a dreamy one, you might say.
The setting is amazing, too.  Taking place in the Asheville area of North Carolina, that’s only a few hours west of me, and I’ve been there several times.  French Broad Chocolates is now definitely on my list of places to go, and I love walking through the downtown area.  The Woodsmalls nailed the quirky character of that downtown, and I’ve seen several of the landmarks that they named – it’s always fun to come across a place you know in a book!  Biltmore Village is a fun place to shop, and the Estate itself is incredibly beautiful.  The same goes for Looking Glass Falls – I could just picture the scene that happens there.  Their lifelike descriptions definitely match the real places.
There are lots of twists and turns in the plot for this story, and I really enjoyed that.  I didn’t want to put this book down while reading – and I procrastinated several times to avoid doing so.  I loved the lessons of forgiveness and faith that shone clearly throughout the story.  I’m not sure those are things I’ll ever perfect, or at least be able to do after being seriously hurt without a struggle, and I’m always encouraged by the story of others’ journey in this area (even if it’s a fictional one).
The Gift of Christmas Past is a fantastic new holiday story.  Pick up a copy today – you’ll be glad you did.
You can read other reviews on this bloggy hop here, or go here to purchase your own copy now.
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  All opinions are my own.

What are your thoughts?

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