Sunday, December 20, 2009


The Christmas Secret
By Donna Van Liere
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Released: October 13, 2009

When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty and determination - all the while setting her on the path to finding true love.

Christine Eisley is about to lose hope. Never mind Christmas presents for her two young children. She'll be lucky if she's able to earn enough money to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Her louse of an ex-husband hasn't paid a cent in child support for more than six months but continues to harass her while threatening to file for full custody of their son and daughter. Her irresponsible babysitter can't seem to arrive on time and her boss at the restaurant where she waitresses has threatened to fire her if she's late one more time. She just can't seem to catch a break. Then an elderly woman suffers a heart attack in front of Christine's house and the event sets Christine on a path that will change her life in ways she never could have dreamed.

A victim of the economic downturn, NYC accountant, Jason Haybert has reluctantly accepted an offer from his grandfather to spend the month of December working in his grandfather's small town department store. Overflowing with self-importance, Jason has forgotten that there's more to life than big salaries, convenient girlfriends and prestigious corner offices. His grandfather plans to use the gift of this month to teach Jason a few life lessons. But, when Jason begrudgingly agrees to volunteer at a daycare center for underprivileged children, it's the young children in his care who teach him the most important lessons and ultimately lead him to the woman into whose hands he will place his heart.

This emotional Christmas story takes the reader on a young mother's journey from helpless despair to cautious hope and, finally, to love and joy.  Christine is tested time and again and, in desperation, makes some decisions that could have had tragic consequences.   I had a real problem with one of those decisions even though I understand that she feels she has no other choice.  It's indicative of just how alone, and desperate, she feels.  But a strong cast of secondary characters, through their selfless generosity and friendship, pull her back from the brink, teach her how to trust again, to accept help and to believe in miracles.

The Christmas Secret is the fifth book in the "Christmas Hope" series by New York Times Bestselling author, Donna Van Liere. It's a beautifully written holiday story that reminds us of the importance of counting our blessings and extending a hand to those less blessed. Give yourself a gift this Christmas and read The Christmas Secret.


Have you read any books by Ms. Van Liere? What's been your favorite Christmas book this season? A randomly selected commenter will win a hardback copy of The Christmas Secret.


  1. Aaaaargh, PJ, don't use phrases like "I had a real problem with one of those decisions even though I understand that she feels she has no other choice" in your reviews - that makes me want to on the one hand read it (to find out the mysterious decision) and on the other hand not read it (not to be negatively surprised). Now I'm torn apart... *sniff*

    No, seriously, I do so love Christmas stories. I have to admit that I've never even heard of Ms Van Liere, though.

    Well, because of a lack of time I haven't read many Christmas novels this year so I can't really choose. But I liked A Highlander Christmas (hmmm, who was it who wrote the review about this one? :) ) a lot - the cover alone makes me go warm everytime I look at it!

  2. Lisa, I had never heard of Van Liere either before reading this book, even though she's a NY Times Bestselling author.

    I hope you'll give her a try. This really is a wonderful story and you might not have the same reaction to the decision that I did. Even though my heart cringed, everything turned out okay and it really was necessary to the overall story, which I loved.

    I wrote the review of A Highlander Christmas. I know what you mean about the cover. Yummy! :)

  3. I've never read this author either, PJ, but your review makes me want to do so.

    I have four favorites among the new Christmas books: "This Wicked Gift," Courtney Milan's story in The Heart of Christmas, "Christmas Promise," Carla Kelly's story in HH Regency Christmas, Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry, and Merry, Merry Ghost, a mystery by Carolyn Hart. I love Christmas books!

  4. Janga, Van Liere's style reminds me a bit of Debbie Macomber. I'll definitely be looking for the other four "Christmas Hope" books.

    I picked up Mayberry's "Home for the Holidays" yesterday, on your recommendation. Can't wait to get started!

  5. PJ, I've never read Van Liere, but I'll definitely be getting this book!

    I love Christmas stories!

  6. PJ, I haven't heard of Van Liere either and if she reminds you of Debbie Macomber, then this story iterests me. I used to be, and still am, a big fan of Debbie's.
    I'm drawing a blank on Christmas stories I've read except for Courtney Milan's. I did finish reading THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER to my fifth graders on Friday.

  7. Never heard of this writer, but the plot sounds fascinating, And your intriguing 'problem with one of the decisions' has my spider sense tingling.
    I am curious now!
    I love the sound of it, the contemporary feel, the backdrop of the downturn in the economy.

    I am ashamed to say, I have not really read any Xmas Romance novels (even though I read romance novels like I eat popcorn)
    But I am making up for it, got an order from Harlequin arriving anyday with a bunch of Xmas titles!
    I am looking forward to "Christmas with a Vampire" LOL!

  8. This author is new to me too!! But D Macomber is a fab author and one of my favs. I've read sooo much in the last month, but I just finished Yule Be Mine by Lori Foster and I liked it a lot. I save ALL holiday books for future re-reading. What holiday books I don't get read by the middle of Jan go into next yr's TBR pile. Happy Holiday's to all!! Thanks, Sue

  9. I have not read this author - I love to read new to me authors! I like the premise and the cover is catchy too! I still have some Christmas books to read but one I liked a lot was Noella's Gift by Donica Covey. It had a touch of Christmas magic in a little girl to bring together two Christmas "grumps."

  10. I've never heard of Ms. Van Liere.

    My favourite Christmas book has been the classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

  11. I love Christmas stories too, and this seems like a book that would tug at all my heart strings.

  12. I love Christmas stories - I have a new one by Sheila Roberts to read over the holiday, but this one looks good too!

  13. I'm reading an older book Shepherd's, Abiding by Jan Karon. Happy Holidays!
    Theresa N