I have officially added a name to my favorite author list: Cynthia Ruchti. I didn't expect it to occur by reading a 'novella'. An Endless Christmas is the second work of Ruchti's I have read; the first, Tattered and Mended, is the absolute opposite of wistful, Christian fiction (for that book review, click here). Ruchti clearly excels at both fiction & nonfiction, and provides light-hearted reads as well as soul-searching, dig-in-deep nonfiction. One word sums up both and will keep me as part of Ruchti's audience for a very long time: therapy.
An Endless Christmas is therapy for the mind & heart. It's the equivalent of sitting by a fire, sipping hot chocolate, and having your entire schedule completely open and quiet for three hours. This sweet little work of fiction draws you in and desires your attention. So, if you have the book, hot chocolate, a fire and three hours, I know you will have the most perfect afternoon!
The novella's main storyline hits immediately and leaves the reader saying, "Oh wow". Katie has gone to Minnesota with her boyfriend Micah and says no to his wedding proposal. A wedding proposal done in front of his large extended family. A proposal done the moment they walked in the door. At Christmas time. In a small house that Katie will be sharing with the Binder family for an entire week. If I expected a sleepy beginning, those thoughts disappeared the moment I read the first sentence of the novel--what a hook!
It's interesting the way Ruchti weaves the main storyline (the rejected proposal and the relationship of Katie and Micah) with other storylines and characters within the book. From grandparents Wilson & Dodie Binder, to Micah's parents, to hilarious aunts and uncles, to young cousins, Katie begins to see the many layers of this seemingly happy-go-lucky clan. Katie is convinced she is not worthy of Micah or his perfect family, but as Ruchti adds depth to the other characters, both the reader and Katie get a better sense of what it means to live a life of joy even in the midst (or even as a result of) tough times.
I'll be honest--I hate to give too many details within a book review, because why would a potential reader want to grab a copy and dive in when the review has told the whole story? So here is my final insight--I read An Endless Christmas as I traveled to my parents house for Thanksgiving. Shy of having to turn around and pass out snacks to my kids, answer their questions of how much longer to grandma's, and a couple other 'mom' duties, the book had my full attention. I consumed it in one sitting, loved the entire thing, and am certain additional readers will enjoy it and desire more tales of Katie and the Binder family, too.
*I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review*