My review of J.M.Hochstetler's One Holy Night is up at Amazon. It's a tearjerker, and as I say in the review, it's like watching a Hallmark Hall of Fame production on television. But I generally like Hallmark Hall of Fame -- I'm a sucker for stories about families (even dysfunctional ones) and a romance told well.
One Holy Night does have a romance in it, although it's not part of the main story. The first meeting and gradual courtship of the McRaes' daughter Julie and the young pastor Dan Christensen are possibly the best parts of the book. There's a tenderness and innocence that reminded me of the first meeting and courtship of that young woman who is now my wife and the mother of my two sons.
Next on the reading list: Leif Enger's So Brave, Young and Handsome; Charles Martin's Where the River Ends; Athol Dickson's River Rising; Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove; and The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.
Somewhere along the way I have to work in Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Painter of Battles. Perez-Reverte is one of my favorite authors, and this is his latest novel. I found it Saturday at Big Sleep Books during a stroll in St. Louis' Central West End. Big Sleep is an all-mystery bookstore, and my wife and I stopped in during the Art Fair and Food Fest held in the area. It was a perfect day for a stroll, too. Finding the book was a real (and pleasant) surprise because it wasn't supposed to be available until September.
And while I was there, I also found three other mysteries I wanted to read...Too many books, so little time.