MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Friday, January 2, 2015

Where Treetops Glisten by Goyer, Putman, and Sundin

Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II
ISBN: 9781601426482
Publisher's Synopsis:
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
 
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas


Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=237913#sthash.PznOqSOt.dpuf
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
 
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas


Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=237913#sthash.PznOqSOt.dpuf
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
 
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas


Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future? - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=237913#sthash.PznOqSOt.dpuf
The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime.
 
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

MrsK's Review:
Historical fiction illuminates those glimmering memories of lives lived, loves beginning, and struggles leading to a life well lived. These stories are richly woven with characters who are blessed with a faith in which they can rely on the support of God as their shepherd, their counselor, and their guide through every hardship, fear, or joy. The journeys within this book will provide an experience during one of the most heart-wrenching periods for the U.S. and the world. The settings are perfected with precision, a balance between historical facts and splashes of ordinary life. As a reader you are stepping into a WWII black/white snapshot... only to discover the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and the depths of life.

Unlike other reviewers, I don't have a personal favorite. All three stories are reliant upon the faith of the Turner family. Each story is uniquely different, yet very gratifying (honest, hopeful, realistic, empowering). Each story portrays the days leading up to December 25, 1945 in Lafayette, Indiana.

"War or no war, we simply must celebrate Christ's birth..." 
Gloom and despair led to defeat. Victory could only be achieved with faith,
hope, and resilience. She'd learned that lesson well in her seventy-six years,
and now she'd pass it on to her family.

In Winter Wonderland, you are introduced to Louise Turner and her grandchildren Pete, Abigail, and Meredith. It's December 24, 1941 and the declaration of war has just been issued. So much heart-ache has threatened to take the joy of Christ's season away from so many. Yet, life must go on... "The next few years would bring turbulence to her family. They needed her faith. They needed her wisdom. And they needed her joy."

In White Christmas, you discover Abigail Turner. A very bright college student in need of a perfect experience that will provide the right insights for her final project. In one quick encounter, Jackson Lucas will enter Abigail's life and his need will provide an experience perfectly "seasoned" for her project and her life.

"This life can be filled with pain. I'm not telling you to stop feeling... But I know God is here in the midst of pain.
The Psalms even say He collects our tears.
That's an image I have clung to at different times.
No tears are wasted, unless you allow their cause to freeze you in place."

 In I'll Be Home for Christmas, it is December 3, 1943 and you are introduced to Grace Kessler. A secretary for Alcoa which produces airplanes and other defense materials.


"A secretary's work might not be as glamorous as a nurse or a WAVE or a Rosie the Riveter,
but it allowed Grace to support her daughter and the war effort."

You discover Lieutenant Pete Turner leaving the Glatz Candies factory (where his sister Abigail is working). He is pondering his Pastor's solution:
"Give. When you're empty inside... the best thing you can do is give. 
Find a need, step outside of yourself, and give."

Given a blessing of a chance encounter, Pete discovers his opportunity to "step outside of himself." There's a little girl in front of a store's window. We have all seen magazine covers that show children enchanted by the happenings in the store's window dressing ( many of us have been just like her... gazing and praying for that one perfect Christmas gift):

"She belonged on the cover of a Christmas toy catalogue with her red coat, her red mittens flat on the glass,
and two little brown braids sticking out from under her red hat.
'Please... Please, Lord. Please'
'Please, God. I promise I'll be good. I promise.'"

 Meet Linnie. She is a joy-filled child. She runs off exploring whenever the moment arises. She is on a quest that is unknown to most adults. And, she meets with the Lord to discuss her options down by the river. It is not easy being Linnie, especially since her father's plane crashed. It is not easy being around Linnie who is a non-stop talker, she thinks without listening, and is determined to locate God's answer to her prayer.

 Misunderstandings, a history of bullying, quick tempers, and the determination to not be hurt again could all be very good stumbling blocks for keeping Linnie's blessing from God out of reach. Yet, Linnie's need will be the turning point in Grace's and Pete's crossroads. Could a red hand-made doll carriage lead all of them into God's will for their lives?

It's December 21, 1944 and Meredith Turner is a nurse in the Netherlands. In the closing story, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, you will discover the calling of God can lead you back into your heart's desire. When this book began, 1941, Meredith was finishing her studies when her heart was broken by the "fleeing" of the man she had given her heart to. Now she is on the front lines, tending the injured. Braving the horrific images by tending to the human needs of wounded soldiers. Even though it's been three years, close to the border where David once lived, Meredith can't overcome the desires of her heart.

"Looking back, she couldn't believe she'd run so far, leaving behind the family she loved.
Meredith had thought she was too big for that town.
She couldn't wait to see what the expansive, wide world had for her.
To find sunshine and worth. But it hadn't worked."

One soldier's request for her to tell her another story about her home begins opening up the truth behind her grief. Once the story is out... life is rekindled and hope can be renewed. 

"She guessed the men here had the same aches deep down. She had to bring Christmas to them.
But even if she did, would it ease the loneliness in her heart?"

For Daaf, "Christmas always reminded him of the woman he loved. How could it not?"  Even though he was a Dutch-German, he knew it was not easy to make sacrifices. Encouragement can begin fading. With the Americans in the Netherlands, there was hope:

" It was easier to think of his work. Of caring for the children, the US soldiers, 
and any other declared enemies that Hitler had attempted to take to slaughter.
They'd rescued many, hiding them away or getting them safely across the border..."

With the Americans in the Netherlands, there was a stirring of hope. If God looks at our sacrifices... maybe He can give back what broke our hearts,
MrsK  
  Three endearing stories that will warm your heart!
Meet the Authors:
Tricia Goyer 2  Meet Tricia Goyer: I’ve had the opportunity to interview over a hundred WWII veterans, many who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to setting my story in The Netherlands during the last Christmas of the war (1944). I remember the stories about the boom of the big guns, of the thin and starving Dutch people, and about the ordinary men (like my grandfather), and women who found themselves on the other side of the world.
World War II was a time when ordinary people banded together to change the world. My grandpa was a farm boy who ended up in Papua New Guinea. In my novel, Meredith is a young woman from Lafayette, Indiana who wants to care for others–to make sure more boys make it home. Her desire takes her to the middle of a war zone.
Sometimes we think that one person can’t make much of a difference. But 1 + 1 + 1,000 … well, that’s a lot of people. My hope is that when readers put down Where Treetops Glisten they’ll start thinking about love and sacrifice. My characters, Meredith and David, sacrificed a lot to care for others. And I believe that this Christmas God might just be asking us to do the same. We simply have to pray, “Lord, who can I serve–in Your name–today?” I guarantee He’ll bring someone to mind!
 
 Sarah Sundin  Meet Sarah Sundin: For me, ideas usually come slowly and require much prodding and nurturing. But sometimes, a story idea blindsides me. That’s what happened with Where Treetops Glisten. When we were driving from California to Oregon to visit my in-laws for Christmas, we were listening to Christmas songs on the radio. This image floated into my mind . . . a little girl wandering downtown searching for something she’d lost. And a fighter pilot returning from combat who feels empty and decides to help the child home . . . where he meets the girl’s widowed mother.
Within minutes, the story flew together. When my husband took the wheel, I whipped out pen and paper and scribbled as fast as I could—whole scenes, character ideas, dialogue. It was a blast! A theme started to emerge, how God can help us give out of our emptiness, and how only He can fill the empty places in our lives. I loved writing about Pete and Grace and little Linnie, and I hope our readers will be blessed by their story.

 Cara Putman  Meet Cara Putman: Veteran’s Day is a time to thank the active duty military and those who have served to protect our freedoms. To a large extent, this desire to thank and honor the military is what draws me to writing stories about WWII and those who served on the home front and overseas. Where Treetops Glisten is no different. As the three of us banded together to write a Christmas collection set during WWII, Tricia, Sarah, and I wanted to make sure we were exploring all the different ways that generation fought. That’s how Jackson Lucas became the hero he is. A survivor of polio, he couldn’t join the active duty military. Instead, he plays a role on the home front. But he works at a puzzle manufacturer, you say. How does that help the war effort? What fascinated me about this particular company is the way that the toy sets it made changed during the war. Army sets became much more prevalent as little boys imagined what it would be like to be part of the military.
My father served in two wars (Vietnam and Desert Storm), so it’s very important to me that the military is honored. There are so many simple ways we can do that. Write a letter to a serviceman or woman thanking them for their service. Take boxes of donuts to the local armory on a weekend that the local National Guard is drilling. Buy a meal the next time you see a person in uniform. Stop and say thank you. The big difference for my dad between serving in Vietnam and Desert Storm was the dramatic alteration in public thankfulness. I want to be part of ensuring we continue to appreciate and thank our veterans and active duty military, not just on Veteran’s Day.


"I received this book for free for this review."
Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books 

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

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