A Christmas story for all seasons . . .
Lillian Hapsey is trying to make a new life for herself and her two boys in Manhattan. As a widow, she struggles to fill the role of both mother and provider to her children, spending as much time with them as she can, while working as a telephone operator at a publishing house.
Though it is Christmastime, the mood of the city is anything but light with news of the war in Europe and rumors of America joining the fight overshadowing the joy of the season and leaving everyone on edge.
But the biggest humbug of all is Charles Drooms- the antisocial and downright unfriendly man who lives down the hall from Lillian. Brief meetings on the street and in the halls are curt and unpleasant, but somehow Lillian is able to look past his frosty exterior and sees a kindred spirit haunted by a deep sorrow, and is determined to help him. But just when he begins to open up to her, tragedy strikes, forcing him to relive the most painful part of his past, and he pulls away. Was she mistaken about him all along, or can a Christmas miracle mend a broken heart and bring the two together?
I really enjoyed this book! Agnes Irene writes with the class and feel of the 1940s, drawing the reader right into the story and making me feel like I was watching an old movie from the period (which are undoubtedly my favorite!). She captured the uncertainty of the times, with the tensions of war and the different effects it had on people, beautifully, and also the darkness of mental illness and overwhelming guilt and grief. With a well-paced story that reveals the story of it’s characters in layers, it isn’t until the very end that we discover the reason behind Charles’ demeanor, and the events that unfold to redeem him and change his heart. A wonderful, wholesome story that will warm your soul- I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Rating: 5 stars!
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
About the author:
Agnes Irene writes about the celebration of the day to day, and the search for beauty and meaning. Her stories are sometimes whimsical, sometimes wistful, but always uplifting and hopeful. Most of her tales are set in the places she has lived and loved: small town Illinois, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and New York City. She has a PhD in English, specializing in Victorian Literature.
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