Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'The Reindeer Keeper' by Barbara Briggs Ward

Genre: Christmas Fiction
Abbey senses something special about the little man tending to the reindeer who, along with a century-old farmhouse, a barn full of animals, and fields abounding in woods and pasture, was a gift to Abbey from a stranger. Abbey and her husband, Steve, move in just before the holidays. They have been together since the '60s, eloping when Steve returned from Vietnam. Now with Abbey's cancer in remission, they're looking forward to their boys coming home for Christmas. Turns out this Christmas proves to be more magical than anticipated as Abbey realizes an understanding never thought possible through the rekindling of a belief rooted in childhood. Of course it's who delivers this gift on Christmas Eve that gives Abbey and Steve the strength to face their greatest challenge.

Why I wanted to read this book:

  • I received an email from the author, Barbara, and it was so friendly and inviting that I felt I had to take a second look at her book. After visiting her site,The Reindeer Keeper, I just knew that this was a book I wanted to read.
What worked for me:
  • This was a heartfelt book but it wasn't sappy, which made me love it even more!! It left me with much to reflect upon and made me pause more than once during my reading to just think about my own life. It is more than just a Christmas story as I had many "aha" moments that still are resonating with me.
  • This story brought back the innocence  of childhood and that pure belief in the magic of Christmas that we all had as children.
  • I loved how strong Abbey and Steve's marriage was portrayed. They reminded me a bit of my parents who had me at a young age, married, and have went through so many things together. Their connection becomes even stronger because of weathering the storm of Abbey's cancer that is now in remission. I was impressed how each partner truly believed in the other and supported their individual dreams.
  • I absolutely loved how the author used  funeral homes and obituaries as the touching stone in the plot. Normally a funeral home and/or obituaries conjure up images of loss, grief, despair, but in Barbara's hands it turns into something powerful and uplifting. She made me really reflect on the "in-between moments" and how you lived them.
  • Beautiful illustrations at the beginning of each chapter....loved them, so simple and elegant.

What you should do before reading this book:
  • Make sure the Christmas tree is up, snow is blowing outside, you have nowhere to be for a few hours, a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, blanket, comfortable chair, and a beloved pet sitting on your lap. Open book and get lost in the magical world that you will find within the pages of "The Reindeer Keeper."
Recommend? A resounding YES!!! Perfect for this time of year. This would make a great Christmas present for those family members or friends that you have who enjoy a sincere, emotional, sad, uplifting, and magical Christmas story.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you to Barbara Briggs Ward for sending me a review copy.
I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

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@Barrie Summy

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  1. Staci, this sounds so touching. I missed hearing about this one somehow.

  2. Wowwwwwwww! This does sound good! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. I will definitely add this title to the list of possible holiday reads!

    I love the Christmas themed banner on your blog --- it made me smile :)

  4. Your review convinced me to read this book, Staci! It sounds like a wonderful book for any time of the year.

  5. This sounds so great! I love good Christmas stories! And your recommendations for "What you should do before reading this book" are the BEST!!!

  6. What a wonderful review Staci! You've convinced me to look for a copy of this book.

  7. Aww I really like how you describe the perfect setting for reading this book. that does say it all

  8. "The author used funeral homes and obituaries as the touching stone in the plot." I'd like to see this; it sounds very different. What a wonderful review! I hope the author sees it.

  9. This is the first I've seen it, but I do love me some reindeer :)

  10. Now here is one I know I will love and not just because I'm on a Christmas-book marathon. It sounds like there is a lot to think about in this book.

  11. This is just the kind of book I love this time of year!

  12. Oh how I would love to read this one! It sounds wonderful and I just fell in love with the cover.

  13. I want to read this book in the setting you described!

  14. Lovely review, thank you! I, too, love stories about strong marriages.

    (Sidenote. Every time I come to your blog I whip out my right hand and remind myself of where you are. I'm not from Michigan but my sister lived in Saginaw/Bay City for years before moving to Kalamazoo.)

  15. I'm going to have to see if I can get ahold of this book. I'm reading Christmas books right now but they all seem to be a little more suspenseful and mysterious. I think I need a good old fashioned make you feel good book. Thanks for the review.

  16. This sounds just beautiful, one I probably would have overlooked if I hadnt checked out your glowing review. Thanks Staci

  17. I love the cover, too, and the book sounds perfect for this time of year. Thanks for finding it for us!

  18. Sounds wonderful.

    I love that you have recommendations on how/when to read this book.

  19. sounds perfect for the season. I think I'll try to fit it in. I just read a wonderful little Christmas story too. It was called the Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne. I think you would like it.

  20. Oh what a lovely sounding book. Christmas magic is something I sure could use a little of right now. Thanks for such a wonderful and heart-felt review.

  21. Okay, ya got me!! I especially loved your advice on how best to prepare to read.....I guess I'll get it now and read it when Christmas break starts! That sounds like the perfect recipe!

    Thanks...oh, are available for decorating assistance?!

  22. I love winter and reading. The two just seem to go together and this book sounds like a great Christmas read! Thanks for sharing!!

  23. this sounds like a really sweet christmas story. Will have to download it on my nook. I'll have to get my tree up first. Thanks!

  24. Ooh, this sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for pointing it out. Hope all is well with you, Tootsie!

  25. I don't normally read Christmas books but this one is making me rethink my stand on that. Lovely review honey!


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