Colors of Christmas

Colors of Christmas, by Olivia Newport, is actually two novellas set during the Christmas holiday season. Both are inspirational tales of sad and difficult times during the holidays, the ways we handle those difficulties, and the truly transformational meaning of Christmas.
 
The first book: Christmas in Gold, is the story of Astrid and Carly. Astrid, who survived Nazi Germany, came to America soon after the way, and now, just weeks before Christmas, had to move to an assisted living facility. Astrid is devastated, thinking the gold ornaments that she and her father salvaged from the ruins of his apothecary, and used every year since, may have been lost in her move to “the home”.
 
Carly is a physical therapist at Astrid’s new residence. She has moved and changed jobs repeatedly while running from a stalker who always seems to find her. Astrid’s faith and their developing friendship bring safety and joy to both, and to their families, as well.
 
The second book, Blue Christmas, is the story of Angela, a widowed piano teacher whose best friend, Carole, died recently; Brian, one of Angela’s students;  and Gabe, Carole’s nephew and only heir.
 
Angela wants nothing more than for Christmas to pass unnoticed, and be over. She is frustrated and angry when her friends at church railroad her into chairing the committee to decorate the town’s public places and storefronts, and to plan the town’s annual Christmas celebration. My questions: why is a private citizen doing this? Shouldn’t this be the responsibility and expense of the city, and not of one church and its members?
 
Already angry that the notice of her appointed status on the committee, less than two weeks before Christmas, Angela finds that the church basement where the town’s decorations are stored has flooded. The decorations are ruined, and it is her responsibility to secure new ones. Enter Gabe and Brian.
 
The only decorations available at this late date are blue. This year’s town celebration will be different, and Angela fears everyone will be disappointed — it is a huge success.
 
Meanwhile, Gabe convinces Angela to attend a Blue Christmas church service held four nights before Christmas, on the longest night of the year. At this service, grief is recognized and accepted, and those who are grieving are comforted and supported. Attendees are not expected to paste a smile or cheerful look on their faces, and may remain in the sanctuary as long as they want.
 
Each of these stories were both happy and sad. They were also heartwarming and comforting, even joyful. If you are grieving or depressed at Christmas time, you may gain comfort from these lovely stories.
 
What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
 
  • Split infinitives (“to quietly insist” vs. “to insist quietly”)
  • Beginning a sentence with a conjunction (and, but)
  • The repeated improper placement of the word “only”  (it changes the intended meaning of the sentence)

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