Thursday, December 3, 2009

CFBA - The Christmas Glass

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Christmas Glass

GuidepostsBooks (October 1, 2009)


Marci Alborghetti

Marci Alborghetti has been writing only slightly longer than she's been reading. In seventh grade she received her first writing prize for a zany Halloween story. The prize? A five dollar gift certificate to a local bookstore. She was hooked. The Christmas Glass is her fourteenth book, and she is currently at work on a sequel as well as a non-fiction book about service. Some of her other books include: Prayer Power: How to Pray When You Think You Can’t, A Season in the South and Twelve Strong Women of God.

She and her husband, Charlie Duffy, live in New London, Connecticut and the San Francisco Bay area. While in New London she facilitates the Saint James Literary Club.

In the tradition of The Christmas Shoes and A Christmas on Jane Street, the heartwarming story of The Christmas Glass shows how, today as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.

In the early days of World War II in Italy, Anna, a young widow who runs a small orphanage, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions -- a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother -- and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years.

Anna is distressed to part with her only tangible reminder of her mother, but she worries that the ornaments will be lost or destroyed in the war, especially now that her orphanage has begun to secretly shelter Jewish children. Anna's young cousin Filomena is married with two-year-old twins when she receives the box of precious Christmas glass.

After the war, Filomena emigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass, some intimately connected by family bonds, some connected only through the history of the ornaments.

As Christmas Day approaches, readers join each character in a journey of laughter and tears, fractures and healings, as Filomena, now an eighty-four-year-old great-grandmother, brings them all to what will be either a wondrous reunion or a disaster that may shatter them all like the precious glass they cherish.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Glass, go HERE

I really enjoy Christmas novellas. This special season is a prime opportunity to present a message of hope and new beginnings, and many folks who might not otherwise pick up a book labeled as "Christian" might be drawn to one with a Christmas theme. Enchanted by the summary and charmed by the cover of The Christmas Glass, I opened it with anticipation. But to be honest, I was disappointed. Because the glass ornaments have been dispersed over time, there are a large number of characters in this book to follow and learn how they fit into the larger picture. In fact, at the beginning of the book, a page identifies almost 50 individuals spread out over eight locations! My head was spinning trying to keep it all straight. With the addition of the dysfunctional family drama (and drama is a mild word for this stereotypical Italian clan!), reading it was rather exhausting. And once they all came together for the Christmas reunion meal, it was rather anticlimactic. Many folks use the word "blessed" without acknowledging God as the Source of those blessings, and that's how this came across to me. It appeared to me to be just a holiday meal rather than a Christmas dinner, all orchestrated by a controlling matriarch who never did seem to grasp the importance and freedom of relinquishing that control to the Lord. Just because the family managed to have a meal in the same room without exploding into fisticuffs, I saw no indication that hearts were really changed. For that is the message of Christmas!

While some of the other CFBA reviewers had similar opinions to mine, others enjoyed and recommend this book. I invite you to take a look at some of the reviewers linked in the comments at the CFBA blog and read their reviews as well.


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Kim said...

Well said, Linda! And you mentioned some of the other things that I thought were annoying like the million stories you had to wade through and keep straight before they ever came together. I understood WHY - because of ornament disbursement - but it was confusing to keep straight!

And spiritual believability - nonexistent here.

Carole said...

I appreciated your review, Linda, as always. This book is coming to me through PaperbackSwap. I'm pretty sure I'll agree with your comments (wish I had seen your review before I requested it!), but I'm still going to try and get through it.