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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.3 out of 5
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  • Charming story!

    A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes us to Seaside, Maine. Wendy Harper is traveling with her son, Jackson from Ohio to Seaside just before Thanksgiving. Wendy inherited a beach cottage from her grandfather. It is an answer to her prayers since she has a slew of debts incurred from her deceased husband’s battle with cancer along with student loans. Wendy has managed to get a month off to renovate the cottage and get it listed for sale. Jackson is excited about the trip and wants to relocate to Seaside permanently. The cottage is in better condition than Wendy expected, but it still needs some work. She hires Gordon, the local handyman, to help with the repairs. Jackson is thriving in the new environment. He makes a friend, finds a dog and enrolls himself in school. One day Wendy is at the hardware store and meets Caleb Colton, a furniture craftsman. She is surprised by what she feels when near Caleb. Wendy admires his beautiful furniture (works of art) and his Christian values. Wendy knows she should do the responsible thing and sell the cottage. However, she is drawn to the town, the cottage and a certain woodworker. To stay in Seaside, though, she needs a steady income stream. Christmas is rapidly approaching, and miracles have been known to happen. A Christmas by the Sea is a charming Christmas story. I thought it was well-written with steady pacing. It is a wholesome story with a light Christian element. The Christian themes include the importance of having a strong faith in God, prayer, reading the Bible, trust in God, and know that He will answer your prayers but not always in the way you expect. I liked the characters with Jackson being my favorite. He is delightful with his infectious joy. I like how he learned to complete certain repairs courtesy of online videos (they are helpful). I enjoyed the descriptions of Seaside and the ocean. There is a wonderful scene where Jackson and Wendy are finding sand dollars on the beach (they are not easy to find). Colton’s furniture sounded beautiful along with the seashell creations made by Wendy. My one complaint is the ending was rushed along with the romance between Wendy and Caleb. An epilogue would have been appreciated (a year or two later). A Christmas by the Sea is a short book at only 167 pages. One of my favorite sentences is “God takes care of us and He will provide what we need.” My rating for A Christmas by the Sea is 4 out of 5 stars. Melody Carlson has given us another lovely Christmas story filled with love, hope, faith, family and joy.

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  • Light Christmas read that lacked substance

    I recieved an ARC from Netgalley for my uncompensated review. A light Christmas read from Melody Carlson that begins with Wendy, a young widow and her son Jackson on a road trip from Ohio where they live to Seaside, Maine the charming town where Wendy spent her summers with her grandparents as a child. Wendy has inherited her Grandparents cottage and hopes that the fixing up and sale of it will improve their sorry finances due to student loans and medical bills that mounted following her husband's death from cancer. Upon their arrival in Seaside, Wendy visits the local hardware store the for the supplies needed to begin the necessary improvements to the cottage. She encounters Caleb on her shopping trip, and he stirs in her an immediate attraction despite her thoughts that he is a pesky hardware salesman. He insists on staying by her side pointing out precisely what she needs by way of paint and flooring. Meanwhile, Wendy has not told Jackson who is 12 years old that her plan on coming to Seaside has been to sell the cottage, and he mistakenly believes that it is being fixed up to become their permanent home. As the days go by, Jackson becomes increasingly charmed by the little oceanside town and is eager to help his Mom as much as he can. As Christmas draws closer and the work on the cottage continues, Wendy herself begins to wish that she could find a way to support herself and Jackson in Seaside so that they could stay. Her friendship with Caleb is blossoming as he lends a hand and is encouraging of her artistic bent in fashioning decor and Christmas ornaments using seashells. Jackson begins to make friends, start school and loves spending time on the beach. And then, his ultimate wish comes true when he encounters a stray dog and Wendy agrees that they can look after it for the time being. As the pages decrease in the novel, Wendy makes the tough decision that the only way she can provide a comfortable life for her and Jackson is to take the proceeds from the sale, pay off debts and return to her job and life in Ohio. Suddenly the story comes to an abrupt ending as Caleb sweeps in and saves the day! This conclusion came on much too swiftly to be believable. Although I have enjoyed Ms. Carlson's Christmas stories in the past and the beginning of this one, it lacked substance in the end.

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  • A Christmas by the Sea

    Did not want to put it down. Enjoyed every word. Heartwarming.

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  • A Christmas by the Sea

    This was certainly a fantastic read. I'll be checking on more books by Melody Carlson.

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