The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere has John Creighton determined to make a dining table for his family before Thanksgiving in 1972. He has checked out several books from the library since his never tackled a project on this scale before. Joan wants to make sure her Thanksgiving meal equals the table that John is building, so she digs out the recipes her mother gave her when she married. They are written out on index cards with ingredients, detailed instructions, and special anecdotes. She also wants to make sure that her children (Christopher and Gigi) have memories of family meals and desserts. But then Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer. As Christmas nears, John prays for a miracle to save his beloved wife.
Lauren Mabrey discovers in 2012 that she is going to have a Christmas baby. She wants a warm, cozy home for their child. The group from Glory’s Place led by Miriam gathers to paint the rooms and search out new furniture. At Larry’s, Miriam and Lauren find a refinished walnut table that will fit perfectly into the Mabrey home. Lauren and Travis discover a hidden drawer with a stack of handwritten recipe cards inside. Lauren grew up in foster homes and she never had the opportunity to learn to cook. She begins reading the cards and making the recipes. Lauren loves the stories included which has her wondering about who owned the cards. Lauren decides to search for the previous owner of the table in the hopes of returning the cards to them. She feels they are a part of their family legacy. As Christmas draws near, Joan continues to battle her cancer while Lauren prepares for the arrival of her baby. What miracles will take place this season in Grandon?
The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere is part of the Christmas Hope series. Lauren’s story started in The Christmas Town and I recommend reading it prior to beginning The Christmas Table. All the books in this series are a delight to read. I thought The Christmas Table was well-written with steady pacing. The characters are realistic and relatable. They have fears, joys, heartaches, and tribulations just like real people. This is a dual timeline novel that takes readers between 1972 and 2012. Joan Creighton along with her husband, John and their two children are looking forward to the holidays. John is determined to build the family a dining room table out of walnut he found in an old barn. While Joan tackles the recipes given to her by her mother. Their lives are upended when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer. Things begin to look grim for the family when John meets someone who gives him hope. Lauren Mabrey discovers she is pregnant which thrills her and her husband, Travis. She wants to make sure that her child has a warm, loving home to grow up in. Her friends from Glory’s Place begin the makeover under bossy Miriam’s direction. Lauren finds handwritten recipe cards in a dining table that she purchased. They contain detailed instructions along with family memories. Lauren wants to return the recipe cards to their rightful owner and sets out to find them based on clues in the stories. I like how the author tied the two stories together. We see Lauren learning to cook using the cards and enjoying the special tales on each one. The ending was touching. Some of the recipes from the book are included at the end. I am looking forward to trying Aunt Dee Dee’s Peanut Butter Fudge (I have been trying to find the right recipe for years). The Christmas Table would make a charming Christmas movie. I enjoyed reading The Christmas Table which is a heartwarming, faith filled tale.
The Avid Reader
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