By Melody Carlson
Published by: Revell
ISBN #: 978-0-8007-1926-5
The small town of Parrish Springs is not ready for Matilda Honeycutt. A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town's quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn't fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.
I’ve enjoyed several of Melody Carlson’s Christmas books and this one is no exception. The Christmas Shoppe reminded me of of two things, one the movie with Johnny Depp called Chocolat, where a mother and daughter set up a chocolate shop in a small town in France and also a book called The Legend of the Candy Cane, where a man comes to town and opens a mysterious shop that turns out to be a candy shop. In each of these stories the whole town watches in anticipation to see what the shop owner will sell.
Melody’s story starts out in a similar way, the whole town is intrigued at what kind of store will open in their small town of Parrish Springs. Matilda Honeycutt is setting up shop and doesn't want to tell just yet what type of shop she has in mind. “Matilda has a little something for each one of them (towns people) sitting on her cluttered shelves, just waiting to be discovered.”
Everyone speculates and wonders what is behind the papered-up windows and locked doors! The town counsel is watching and wants to make sure Matilda follows the rules. She has to follow strict guidelines. When she is cornered about these rules and would she comply with them, she asks the board her own questions and confronts Rose “The secret value of this treasure is impossible to measure-what do you think peace is worth Rose? Impossible to measure?”
Rose ponders that idea and leaves Matilda alone. She talks to another, “Please don’t turn down a gift, George. You might not get another chance. Today is here. It’s yours for the taking! Please, just take it?”
It’s an easy read that helps you see the gifts only God can provide! Definitely a warm, fuzzy, feel good novel with a few twists and subtle messages for the characters and you to ponder. This was a sweet tale that helps the reader catch the spirit of Christmas.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent