By: Viola Shipman
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 10/25/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars From the beloved author of Indie Next Pick The Charm Bracelet, Christmas Angels is a delightful love story. Kate, a single woman in her 30s, works as a designer/decorator for a large interior landscaping company bedecking and bedazzling St. Louis for the holidays. Her work keeps her from spending the holidays with her family and masks the loneliness and pain after a nasty breakup just before Christmas. Known as "The Christmas Angel" for providing holiday beauty to the city's offices, homes, and malls, Kate's world changes when she decorates the home of a widowed single dad. Both soon realize that life (and love) must go on somehow and that perhaps Christmas (and guardian) angels are all around, if we only choose to see them.
Rich with the spirit of Christmas and all its traditions, Christmas Angels is a love story that will remind readers of the meaning and magic of Christmas.
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Stunning cover! Viola Shipman returns following the sensational debut, The Charm Bracelet with a heartwarming nostalgic Christmas novella CHRISTMAS ANGELS and a sneak preview of The Hope Chest, Coming March 21, 2017. Kate Roseberry just wanted a perfect Christmas. She was the queen of holiday perfection. A designer, and owner of Holidays by Kate, she was responsible for designing and staging the mall for the upcoming holiday, so she has started early. There was a lot of work involved behind the magic. She loved to make the world pretty and the holidays perfect. Her mother and grandmother had taught her the beauty of family heirlooms and traditions. Kate believed every tree deserved an exclamation point of beauty. She believed that people, especially at the holidays needed something to look up to, something to raise their heads, something to inspire them. An Angel. Going back the previous year, a lot has happened. In St. Louis, Kate lived in a 1920's bungalow and she recalls her boyfriend Tyler. A painful past. An heirloom angel her mother and grandmother had given her years ago for good luck when she started her business. Now expecting Tyler to present her with a ring, he is giving her an angel. Now she is looking at the antique angel and thinking the holidays is not cracked up to all the hype. She knows now there are no guardian angels in the world. No perfect holiday. While preparing the mall for the holidays, Kate catches up with Chad Cooper, a partner in Cooper, Anderson, Schiff & Hine the law firm at the top of the Tower. She is designing their offices and helped his son Coop, age seven with a Halloween costume. Now the folks at the law firm need a little help from Kate. Chad’s wife passed away the previous winter before the holidays with cancer, after being sick for a long time. He is not in the mood for Christmas, and his son needs some Christmas cheer! The dad says he is not going to Chicago to visit his or his late wife’s family, and he instructs "he does not" want visitors. Kate is not feeling up to the Christmas spirit, and thinking of the angel she found in her keepsake box, from Tyler. Kate recalled her mom saying, “It's brave to fall in love and open your heart that much. Guardian angels surround you. You just don’t see them anymore.” However, when she offers to help Coop, it turns into a magical, frosty, and hopeful Christmas for everyone! “Christmas is either the happiest of holidays if you’re blessed, she thought, or the biggest nightmare if you’re not.” From the beautiful southern mansion, and the snow angels with Coop, Kate is transported to her home in suburban Chicago, as a girl and to her surprise, as well as Coop’s and Chads—the same heirloom angel connects them, in more ways than one. From the boy who needs Christmas, some holiday cookies, a Christmas tree, and a lost man and woman who also needs an angel from the past, to fill their hearts once again with love, joy, hope, and healing. “You have to be aware that angels are present. Most people go through their lives not seeing what’s all around them. It’s easy to get lost in the world. It’s hard to stay present." From a bit of magic, fate, romance, and holiday traditions of the past, a heartwarming Christmas tale of hope and joy assisted by a few angels. Readers get a bonus a sneak preview of The Hope Chest, coming March, 2017… a story of Mattie with ALS, husband Don, and caregiver, Rose. A deeply emotional novel about three people who have seemingly lost all hope until one woman’s heirloom hope chest is rediscovered in the attic, along with its contents and secrets. A beloved doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects. Once again, Shipman dazzles readers with family, and heirlooms of the past—from love, family and traditions, with a little nostalgia for the holidays.
Coming March 21, 2017 March 22, 2016
About the Author
VIOLA SHIPMAN is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, which is a tribute to all of our elders.
Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered. To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his second “heirloom novel,” which will be published in 2017. Read More
For more about the author, please visit Wade Rouse’s official website.
THE STORY OF VIOLA
The Charm Bracelet is a tribute to my Ozarks grandmother, Viola Shipman, who I grew up alongside, the jangling of her charm bracelet as ever-present as the moan of the bullfrogs, the call of the whippoorwill and the hum of the cicadas.
It was through the charms on my grandmother’s bracelet that I got to know her. I found that each charm held a story, a key that unlocked a secret part of her life.
Through these charms, I got to know my grandmother not just as a grandmother but also as an incredible woman who had lived an extraordinary life filled with beauty, hope and tragedy.
My grandmother’s story and life jangled in my head for years, and I felt compelled to write a novel based on her charms and the lessons she taught me: That the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – truly are the grandest gifts.
I couldn’t be prouder of this novel, which not only honors my grandmother, with the pen name Viola Shipman, but also all of our elders. Read More