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A Believable Tale in Remembering Christmas

  • Susan Ellingburg Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2011 12 Dec
  • COMMENTS
A Believable Tale in <i>Remembering Christmas</i>

Author: Dan Walsh
Title: Remembering Christmas
Publisher: Revell

Remembering Christmas begins with remembering the eighties. Turn the pages and take a trip back to those pre-cell phone days to meet Art and Leanne, a sweet couple who love God and each other. They run the Book Nook, a small Christian bookstore in the basement of a downtown church in Seabreeze, Florida. Everybody loves Art and Leanne.

Everybody but Rick, that is. Rick is Leanne’s son. Rick loves his mom (in his way), but his stepfather is another matter altogether. Rick never forgave Art for taking his dad’s place, even though Rick’s father had abandoned the family years earlier. While Art and Leanne minister from their little storefront, Rick is clambering up the corporate ladder in North Carolina, where he’s a high-powered accountant.

When Art is found unconscious on the Book Nook’s floor the day after Thanksgiving, Rick reluctantly agrees to come down and mind the store so his mom can keep watch at the hospital. He’s irritated at having to give up the ski trip he had planned, but it’s only for a few days. Or so he thinks.

Rick may be a whiz at high finance, but he is completely out of his league in the world of Christian books and music. The clientele, with their “praise the Lord” vocabulary, make him nervous and the mundane tasks of running a small business are not in his CPA’s bag of tricks. That creepy homeless guy hanging around—the one with the invisible friend—doesn’t make the place any more welcoming.

There is a perk, though: her name is Andrea and she works part-time at Book Nook. Rick normally avoids women like Andrea, a single mom with high moral standards. But there’s something about her Rick finds appealing . . . he even finds himself enjoying his time her young daughter, Amy. (Not in a creepy way!) Maybe there’s something in the coffee he can’t quite figure out how to make. Or maybe God has a plan that Rick doesn’t know about. (He and God aren’t exactly on speaking terms.) Before Christmas comes around, Rick will have to face some hard facts about himself, his father, and his life goals.

The author’s deceptively simple style allows events to unfold without forcing the characters into far-fetched situations or over-the-top emotions. The result is a story that’s completely believable, even (maybe especially) the truly poignant sections. All the characters (even the quirky ones) ring true and their actions are true to form.  Reading this book feels like listening to a friend give his testimony—assuming that friend is a gifted storyteller, of course.

Dan Walsh also deserves high praise for perfectly capturing the eighties vibe. Everything from early stars of contemporary Christian music (Keith Green, the Pat Terry Group, and more) to TV shows (“Who shot JR?”) to the price of gasoline (over—gasp—$1 a gallon!) brings the Reagan era to life. So many authors skip over these things but it’s the little touches that make all the difference. This attention to detail spills over into every aspect of the story, making Remembering Christmas a tale that readers will enjoy any season of the year. 

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