THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS PAST
At twenty-seven, Hadley is still trying to get free of the weight she's carried all her life -- entering foster care at age give, getting arrested at seventeen for arson, and losing her boyfriend, Monroe, when she needed him most.
Monroe never wanted to walk out on Hadley. He'd understood her, from her desire to help children with speech issues to her intense temper. But when she was arrested, he became haunted by what he knew and convinced his only choice was to end their relationship.
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 who's been rendered mute after being rescue from an apartment 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 young girl and her family.
Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?
"Health strengthened them. Hope sustained them. And God guided them." (p 91) I think I need to make this my mantra! It has definitely seen Hadley and her best friend, Elliott (a girl) through a decade of struggles. And what an emotional journey! Brilliantly delivered with compassion and grace.
Their story starts when they are teens sharing a room in a foster home. Volatile Hadley and rule keeper Elliott make an interesting team. And while this is largely Hadley and Monroe's story, we are treated with Elliott's point of view from time to time which also brings a secondary romance into the mix. A fascinating study in personalities and coping mechanisms as all three struggle to come to grips with a desperate situation that quickly gets out of control.
Fast forward ten years and life hasn't gotten any easier for these foster sisters. Oh, they've survived and thrived, supporting each other as they worked their way through school but life's logistics are still challenging. I loved the way they pull together. How they've invited strangers into their 'family'. Women of faith, shining Christ's light through their actions.
Then there's Monroe. It appears he has had everything handed to him by wealthy parents. But appearances can be deceiving and he's paid a huge emotional price for those 'rewards'. Both Monroe and Hadley have been scarred by their tumultuous past so when they unexpectedly end up on the same team in order to help a traumatized child...well fireworks would be putting it mildly. These two have issues that bring out the worst and the best in one another. Such a tangled web of deceit and sorrow and confusion to wade through! All while attempting to restore speech to a mute child.
My emotions were all over the place as I got deeper into the read. I could see both sides of Monroe and Hadley's struggle so I could totally feel the frustration and anger and longing. And Monroe's parents?! Argh! I think my blood pressure is still registering through the roof.
An emotionally complex story that celebrates the joy that comes from truly living in community.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Gift of Christmas Past, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday December 9 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!