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Silent Days, Holy Night- a heart-warming story that is worth reading anytime by anyone.
The Emerald Crest mansion stand high on the hill above the town for years, cloaked in mystery and silence. That is, until bright, inquisitive and warm-hearted Julia befriends the deaf, reclusive owner of Emerald Crest and ultimately alters the attitudes and outlook of the entire community.
Young Julia’s family knows the history of Emerald Crest and they nurture and guide her understanding of Henry Lafferty, the owner of Emerald Crest. She quickly sees beyond his disabilities to discover a kindly, talented sculptor- a brilliant but kind man who’s never been able to hear.
“His troubles could have made him a bitter, angry man, but they just seemed to make him better. In his silence, he must have learned some important lessons about living and making a difference in the world.”
There are some descriptive passages that paint the scene in greater detail. ‘Ice crystals around the windowpane fame the view where more snow clouds are settling on the mountains.’
But it is the warm family dialogue that moves the action and story development forward.
Indeed, it is through conversations with others that 11-year-old Julia learns about looking beyond exteriors to find someone’s inner motives and see them clearly through their actions. Henry Lafferty may be deaf and have difficulty communicating with others but he speaks kindness and gentleness through his actions.
What themes are included?
As she seeks to bridge the communication gap with Henry, Julia learns other lessons. Her grandmother reminds the curious Julia to keep confidences. “It’s their story story, not our story to tell.”
Prayer is frequently a natural response in the story to the growing tension at the mansion and within the community. Julia notes that her grandmother “..prayed like God was right there in the front seat. No fancy works like they used at church. I could tell she talked to God regularly like that.”
As the tension develops with unknown intruders on the property at night, windows broken and reports of other planned destruction, we are reminded of the importance of moments. One decision, one moment can change things.
“Yes, but it only takes a moment, just one moment, to change a lot of things. That one moment when someone decided to be generous… could be the turning point in their lives.”
The delight of the concluding scenes of the story and changes within the community and Emerald Crest are also reflected in the reactions and behaviour of Julia, fellow students and the whole community.
The narrative does develop slowly and I took a while to actually become involved in the story. The opening scenes seemed a little superfluous and, for me, did little to hold my attention. However, once the story progressed, it took form and built interest.
So who would enjoy this book?
First, the book has a Christmas focus but it could be read and enjoyed anytime. Although it is an adult novel anyone would enjoy it. Since Julia is a young girl, I think that even younger readers would enjoy the story and although there is tension and intrigue, no real violence is detailed. In fact, it would be a good way to teach some of the outlined values to young readers.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
Silent Days, Holy Night -by Phyllis Clark Nichols
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
RRP: $9.86 - $22.50 (Kindle $8.45)
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Get your copy here..
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Ahh... a quiet afternoon, a hot cup of coffee, a cosy spot in the sun, and a good book... What better way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
It's even better when the book is one by Irene Hannon. I've enjoyed a few of Irene's suspenseful mysteries so I was looking forward to Dangerous Illusions.
The story opens on a tense scene enacted within a stormy setting.
'Fingers clutching the door knob, he stared at the shadowy figure as shock thrummed through his nerve endings. In the background, another eruption of electricity slashed across the inky sky. A sharp crack of thunder shook the walls of the house. Rain pummelled the tulips rimming the porch, beating their heads into submission!'
And so.. the scene is set. In fact, the introduction has all the satisfying elements of an exciting mystery: 'It begins with on a dark night where a dark man waits with a dark purpose' sort-of entrance to the story.
But more follows. There's an engaging but capable heroine, a quiet, pensive and insightful friendly investigator, a twist of romance and loose ends throughout that keep you wondering and guessing just how they all tie together.
And what about the illusions?
Let's begin with a close community, a respectable neighbourhood, that suddenly hears whispers of scandal and rumours of suspicious behaviour, lurking beneath a calm public facade.
The investigating detective notes: 'The neighbourhood might be posh, but as he'd learned throughout the years, ugliness didn't have a zip code. Crime happens everywhere.'
And there was a crime. An unexpected, unfortunate and seemingly accidental death camouflages a murder and a sinister purpose.
Where does the guilt lie and why? When everyone involved presents the illusion of innocence and respectability, who can you trust? As danger hovers in the shadows, will the answers be found too late?
'Evil intent often lurked beneath a veneer of respectability.'
If you enjoy a good mystery, especially one with suspense and romance thrown in as well, then you should read Dangerous Illusions. Can you solve the puzzle? Can you break the illusions?
About the Author
Irene Hannon has written more than 50 romantic suspense and women's fiction novels. She has received a string of awards such as Daphne du Maurier award, Carol awards, HOLT medallion, National Readers' Choice award and more. She is also a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame.
You can read more about Irene Hannon on her author website.
I would like to thank Revell Books & NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read, and review, this book. (Copy provided for personal review through NetGalley.)
Book One Code of Holour
by Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group