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    12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS by Lena Nelson Dooley

    12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS by Lena Nelson Dooley is a great Christian Christmas love story. It’s the story of Malcolm MacGregor, a successful professional, and Alanza Cantalamessa, who works at her parent’s gourmet pizzeria but has always dreamed of being an artist/writer. Malcolm has just been promoted to vice president and will be leaving at the end of January to Australia to head up the startup operation there for six months. He has given up casual dating determined to wait until he finds the one he deems sent by God to be his wife. His attraction to the lovely hostess at the local pizzeria. After he’s started eating at the pizzeria, he felt the need to pray about it. Afterwards he feels she was the “one”. He knows that with having to leave the country soon that he wants to marry and take his bride with him, but first he needs to court her and see if she is receptive to his plans without scaring her off. Although she welcomes the attention and the idea of dating Malcom and not knowing of his upcoming transfer, Alanza has no notion of fast courtship, marriage or moving away from her family. She does though soon develop strong feelings for him and loves the way he makes her feel like a princess. Malcolm and Alanza spend a lot of time together getting to know each other – their similar likes, thoughts, values in life and their Christianity including both going to the same church just different campuses. There are twelve gifts that Malcolm gives to Alanza over the course of the twelve days before Christmas that are both touching and meaningful to his overall plan. The first was a hair ornament with the MacGregor tartan. When he gave it to her, he told her about how he was looking to get married. He told her that if she put the ornament in her hair that it would mean that there wasn’t anything about him she wouldn’t want in a marriage. When Malcolm is hurt trying to rescue Alanza from an attempted kidnapping, it brings home to Alanza exactly how much she loves him and wants him in her life. She sees with love and pray that it could work. The twelfth day is on Christmas when Malcolm confesses his love and proposes to Alanza in front of both families. Her gift to him is to accept his proposal agreeing to be his wife. They have a very short time to arrange their marriage and pack up for their new adventure down under. Loved the way the author brought the sweetness of romance into a Christmas story while reminding the reader of the reason for the season and of some true Christian values. The only problem I had with the whole book is having everyone on board with no objections. Understand the idea of instant love since my parents met on a blind date and married seven days later. It’s that both set of parents and siblings seemed to jump on board awfully fast to me. That being said, I love the story and believe it would make an excellent Hallmark movie. I would suggest it not only at Christmas, but a book that you can take something good from any time of the year.
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