Get this book! I've never read any books by Donna VanLiere, but that has changed! This book is very realistic, yet compassionate in places I'll never forget. She draws the best from humanity and wraps it with common sense and laughter to balance out the sad moments. There were times I cried, laughed, smiled, and just wanted to cheer.
It starts with a lonely twenty-year-old, Lauren Gabriel, wanting a family for Christmas who ends up witnessing a crime and stops to help. She has been through foster care and the system was alright, but it failed to help her find a family for herself. So, she puts an ad in Craigslist and gets several responses. While Lauren is busy with that she also finds herself pulled to a town that is out of her way. And it's because of the people there.
For one, Lauren meets a bag boy, Ben, who gives everyone wonderful inspirational messages in their bags. He's so popular people will wait in line just for him. Lauren volunteers at a place called Glory's Place, a place which provides assistance for single mothers and families in need. She also runs into Travis, a parks and rec guy, who is interested in getting to know more about Lauren.
There are so many things I could say about this book, but they'd give away too much of the plot. All I can say is get this book as it is the best holiday read I've read in a long time. VanLiere is truly a master of her craft the way she spins the storyline and weaves characters in and out of her plot. Holidays can be lonely, but this book shows how desperation can lead to reaching out and making the most of the people around you, that is the true meaning of families and holidays and VanLiere doesn't forget it! This book says it all with a sense of humor, compassion, and reality that would make Danielle Steele wish she'd written it instead.
Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.
Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.
When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?