By: Ace Collins
Published: October 1, 2012
Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Each Christmas the final decoration Madge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering.
Yet a letter delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery posed in that letter put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known.
If you are looking for a book to get you into the Christmas spirit, this is the book for you. THE CHRISTMAS STAR has all the qualities for a great Christmas read. It reads rather quickly, the story is centered around the Christmas holiday, and is an excellent reminder of what Christmas is really about.
I read THE CHRISTMAS STAR as part of the Pump Up Your Book book tour. I decided it was the perfect book to read while traveling to St. Louis over Thanksgiving and I was right. As I mentioned, it was a quick read and was a delightful story to get me into the spirit of celebrating Thanksgiving and soon, Christmas. I truly enjoy historical fiction and with this book set in the early 1940's, it was right up my alley. The story begins with Jimmy, a teenager who is grappling with the fact that his father died protecting our country and is frankly, not in the Christmas spirit like the rest of his small town in Arkansas. His mom is struggling to make ends-meat like most of his neighbors after the depression and he is down-right angry at the world. Certain people come into Jimmy's life, both good and bad, and he has a decision to make about which direction he wants to go.
I have to admit, when I started reading the book, I was pretty sure I knew how it would all play out. But, Ace Collins kept the surprises coming and left me satisfied and teary at the end. I appreciated the Christian piece to this story as Jesus truly is the reason for the season. The Biblical piece wasn't overbearing, but was just part of the conversation, which made it feel real. In fact, I thought the whole story was very believable and could have easily happened in any small-town in America.
Collins has a great way of describing his settings and characters that you can picture them as you are reading. My favorite characters were Calvin and Audrey, and their effect on Jimmy was certainly a highlight of the story.
I also appreciated how much this story reminded me to listen to that inner voice. Jimmy was frequently struggling with decisions along the way and at times ignored that voice urging him to make the right decision. So often, we ignore that voice as well. Jimmy had given up hope for ever being able to enjoy Christmas or his life, ever again. This story showed how important it is to continue to have hope and to never give up.
I had a couple quotes from the book that really spoke to me:
Anger is a wound that only makes things worse. Page 23
That's the nature of busy people in a busy world. They are so busy seeing what is in front of them they fail to see what is around them. Page 50
I truly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a Christmas story that will get you into the spirit of giving of yourself, loving others, and having hope.
His latest book is the Christian holiday fiction, THE CHRISTMAS STAR.
You can visit Ace on the web at www.acecollins.com.