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    Pulls on your heartstrings

    ***I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with “The Christmas Town” for free, in exchange for a honest review*** Donna VanLiere did it again with The Christmas Town. This is not just another story that is just feel good and makes you think of a hallmark movie. It is a magical story with a main character that had a hard past. It does pull the on your heartstrings and you can see where it is going from the start. However, it is just so sweet that you have to keep reading to see how it ends. Each character is needing to make it work as a whole. I highly recommend getting this if you are feeling a bit down and out or just need a sweet story to read.
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    Wonderful, heartwarming novel!

    The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere is a novel that will linger with you long after you finish reading it. The novel starts in November of 2010. Lauren Gabriel (20) gets off work from Gordon’s Grocery in Whitall where she is a check-out clerk. She does not wish to go home and deal with her roommate. Lauren decides to take a drive and ends up about an hour away in Grandon. She stops at Clauson’s to get something to eat when she realizes she has not had anything to eat in a while. Lauren heads for the check-out and notices that one line is significantly longer than the other. The manager is trying to encourage people to move to the short line, but they want to wait for their slip from Ben. Lauren was going to get into the short line until she heard the comment. She decides to wait and see what the other are talking about. The check-out boy bags her groceries and then puts a slip of paper into her bag. Lauren exits the store and reads her message. It states it is a great day because Lauren is a part of it. Lauren was astonished. No one had ever told her such a thing in her whole life. Lauren goes back into the store to talk to the young man. His name is Ben. Ben gives each customer a different message based on the person. Ben felt the message he gave Lauren was for her. Lauren had a rough childhood. Her father, Victor left when she was four years old. Lauren’s mother was arrested when Lauren was eight. Lauren ended up in foster care bouncing from home to home until she was eighteen. After receiving Ben’s message, Lauren decides to advertise on Craigslist for a family for Christmas. Lauren soon ends up back in Grandon. After witnessing a car accident, Lauren meets Stacy Engler. Lauren ends up volunteering at Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who are having a hard time (a place of hope and help). Read The Christmas Town to see how Lauren gets her family for Christmas and a new take on life. The Christmas Town was a delight to read. I did not want this story to end. The writing is masterful. Donna VanLiere does a wonderful job at weaving the people and events together into one heartwarming novel. It is very clever how everything fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The Christmas Town has engaging characters. It also has a small town where people help each other out (they care for each other). I give The Christmas Town 5 out of 5 stars. One line in the novel is very special (and my favorite). It read “miracles occur in the most unlikely of places and in the most unusual ways.” This is one of the novels that you will continue to think about long after you finish it (you will also be left with a smile on her face)! This is by far my favorite novel by Donna VanLiere.
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    Fabulous

    This is a wonderful story about Lauren Gabriel who has lived a very lonely sad life. During the holidays it is especially difficult to be alone so this year she decides to advertise for a family to spend the holidays with. One night she is inexplicably drawn to the small town of Grandon. After witnessing an accident she finds herself drawn into the activities of the town and as a volunteer at a center for single moms and families in need of help. The small town and it's residents call to her heart and Lauren is beginning to think she may have finally found her "home". When two of the women who have befriended her turn out to be the only ones who have positively responded to her ad for a family she knows without a doubt this is where she is meant to be. A fabulous book that I highly recommend.
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    Filled with delightful characters.

    The variety of people in this Christmas story is fantastic. They range from strong outspoken ones to those with either health or emotional limitations. They worked well together and the story is sweet and very inspirational. It displays the best of people of all walks of life coming together and supporting each other. At times the point-of-view seemed awkward to me. This is a new author to me and it may just be that her writing style is different than what I’m used to reading. I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion. Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
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    Contemporary Christmas Romance

    This sweet, charming, small town, feel good Christmas story is about finding home and family. Lauren Gabriel has spent much of her life in foster homes and at twenty is feeling the need for the family warmth and community that she has never experienced. One night she witnesses a hit and run accident and it changes her life. Becoming involved in the fundraiser for an NGO that caters to the needy she begins to meet and make friends with a great number of people in town and in so doing eventually fulfills her Christmas wish. This book has a few prayers and a biblical passage that shows up more than once – not my thing but it worked in this story. The style of writing is third person omniscient/commentator style and the verb tense though usually present sometimes varies – not my favorite. The center of this story is supposed to be Lauren but in my opinion the heart of the story is really Ben – what a wonderful young man in all ways and always :) Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. This is my honest review.
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