“This tender love story between two wounded people whom God brings together for healing is a book readers will enjoy anytime—but especially at Christmas!” --Francine Rivers, New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love and A Voice in the Wind
Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and sacrificial love.
Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year-old son. With the bank threatening to evict them, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.
Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.
My Review of Christmas at Carnton
Tamera Alexander gives us a beautiful novella sure to steal your heart and lighten your spirits with Christmas at Carnton.
Aletta Prescott is trying to hold her little family together. Since the death of her husband, a soldier fighting for the Confederacy, Aletta is doing what she can to provide for her, her six year old son and the baby she carries. When Aletta loses her job as a seamstress and her home is foreclosed by the bank, she has only 2 weeks to procure other employment. Knowing God never close a door without opening a window, Aletta discovers an advertisement for a pastry chef at Carnton Plantation. The pastry chef is to lead the Women’s Relief Society in a fund raiser for the hospital and wounded soldiers and Aletta is determined to win the temporary position.
When arriving at the beautiful Carnton Plantation, Aletta discovers she is a day late and the position already filled. But through Providence and a poor attitude by the new pastry chef, Mrs. McGavock takes her on despite her worries of her delicate condition. In addition, Aletta promises to build the life-size Nativity set when a local artisan is unable to do the job. Mrs. McGavock’s misgivings about her carpentry abilities are alleviated when Captain Jake Winston, a wounded veteran arrives under orders from General Bragg to aid in the fund-raiser for the cause. With Jake’s strength and Aletta’s skills the two become a perfect team.
As time goes on and the preparations for the fund-raiser and Christmas are coming to a head, Aletta and Jake discover they have feelings for one another. Jake is completely smitten with Aletta and has grown fond of her son, but is afraid to push so soon after her husband’s death. Aletta is drawn to Jake and can picture a life with him, but her feelings of guilt over the loss of her husband and her appending arrive of her baby keep her at arm’s length. As the fund-raiser comes to a close and Christmas arrives, Aletta and Jake’s time at Carnton is coming to an end. Jake and Aletta must spend the last few days overcoming their fears and trusting that God will provide them a future together.
Christmas at Carnton is a feel good novella that leaves you contented with a smile on your face. The story-line is delicate and the characters are easy to love. Aletta is a strong determined women with courage to face an uncertain future. Mrs. McGavock is a dynamic woman and independent with a giving heart. Jake is the perfect hero. Strong, handsome and fiercely loyal to those he loves. Watching the relationship between Jake and Aletta unfold was a delight. But my favorite character was Tempy. She was so giving and loving to everyone despite the life she lived as a slave. Tempy was always looking out for everyone else, always putting their needs ahead of hers. I especially loved the relationship Tempy and Aletta developed as they worked side by side in the Carnton kitchen. In addition, I also appreciated the beautiful friendship between Aletta’s son Andrew and Mrs. McGavock’s son Winder. They were a delight and added joviality and lightness to the book. The bond that grew between Jake and Andrew was almost like father and son and did not go unnoticed by a grateful Aletta.
On a side note, the author gave some interesting historical background on Carnton and some of the characters in her story. She also included some delicious recipes that Tempy and Aletta prepared in the kitchen they shared. I plan to try the shortbread and pumpkin bread recipes, but truth be told they all sound delicious. And I was delighted to hear there will be more novels coming surrounding Carton. This is one reader who will be anxiously awaiting their publication.
Christmas at Carnton is a must-read for the holidays. It is a delightful novella with everything you could want – history, romance, faith and Christmas. A beautiful piece of Historical Christian Fiction sure to please everyone.
I want to thank Thomas Nelson-Fiction via NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Christmas at Carnton by Tamara Alexander for a fair and honest review.
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