By Susan May Warren
A Christiansen Novella
Tyndale House, 2014
An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?
Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.
As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.
Evergreen by Susan May Warren is a Christmas novella with all that you would expect, but with a lot that you would be surprised to find in this story that engages the emotions with its depth and insight. Heartwarming, bittersweet, funny, full of hope, Susan writes with humor and realism, making Evergreen is a wonderfully satisfying and enjoyable read.
I just want to stand and applaud when an author features an older couple as lead characters, and Susan did an outstanding job with John and Ingrid Christiansen. I thought I might be at a disadvantage because I have not read the previous books in the Christiansen family series, but while the grown children who had their own stories are involved, this story easily stands alone. Evergreen falls after book #3 in the series, but readers new to the series can jump right in.
John and Ingrid have been loving, committed parents in the previous books, and now Evergreen gives us some insight into their marriage at a time when an empty next triggers the release of long-buried resentments. It's about the quiet that comes after the children have gone . . . figuring out how to go back to just being "us" . . . confronting old hurts long buried under the sounds and activity of a large family. Ingrid reflects that she and John "were like the old live Nativity tradition - soldiering on despite a lack of attendance."
It is so easy to relate to every character in this book because they feel like old friends, and a story that focuses on forgiveness within marriage is timeless. I experienced a range of emotions throughout, and a story that makes you really feel is a sign of great writing.
On her website, Susan describes Evergreen as "the story of the next season, the snapshots still to be taken." All parents will experience that empty nest at one time or another, and Evergreen's message of forgiveness and hope captured in those future snapshots rings joyfully. Highly recommended!
Evergreen can be purchased online at CBD, DeeperShopping, B&N, and Amazon.
Susan May Warren
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.
A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!
She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.
Meet Susan online at susanmaywarren.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Thank you to Tyndale and Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.