On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.
Note: I was originally asked to be part of the blog tour for this book, which ran Oct. 12th-17th. Due to health troubles running from the end of September on through October (and still being in recovery currently), I was unable to participate at that time. My apologies to Worthy Publishing, but I submit my review here now. Many thanks for the opportunity to check out this new holiday read. :-)
When I review Christmas fiction saying that I wish there was more Christmas involved, this sweet little story is the kind of tale I have in mind! This is chock full of everything to love about the season -- snow, family get-togethers full of traditions and home cooking, laughter, twinkle lights, the whole bit and it was a total warm fuzzy kind of read from start to finish.
Here we meet the Binder family ( BTW: I believe it's meant to be pronounced Bin -- as in paper bin or "been there" -- Der, since there's a joke later on in the story about how someone pronounces it as in four-ring binder folder). The Binder family, headed by grandparents Wilson & Dodie, makes it a point to celebrate each family get together as if it's the last time everyone will see each other, because you just never know. As you can imagine, that makes each meet up lively and bursting with memory-making at every turn. Wilson & Dodie's grandson, Micah, decides to bring his girlfriend Katie into the mix this year, surprising her with an impromptu marriage proposal in front of everyone. In a state of shock, Katie says no ... then realizing the house is snowed in, so she's awkwardly stuck with the whole family through the holiday.
The story goes on to unfold Katie's reasoning for turning Micah down. It's not from lack of loving him enough to marry him, but because she feels she loves him so much she can't harness him to her heavy family secrets / burdens. As the truth comes out, the Binders one by one reveal to Katie that even the most seemingly perfect families have their crosses to bear. The Binders come to teach Katie that a person shouldn't deny or be denied love simply because of past mistakes or the mistakes of others, and that obstacles can be overcome when people commit themselves to being loving towards one another, deciding to be brave enough to take on each challenge a little bit at a time.
"Micah, sometimes those who are the most generous have an issue with letting others be generous with them. And, I mean, a heart issue." There. He'd said it. He watched Micah's expression for evidence that he'd pushed too hard.
"It's more blessed to give than receive, right Grandpa Wilson?"
"But if we aren't willing to receive, aren't we keeping someone else from a blessing then? Seems kinda selfish, doesn't it? And I know that's not who you've ever been."
Micah scrunched his mouth, obviously chagrined. Score one for the old man.
To me, the Binders were the perfect Christmas family to read about because they felt real, or at least the kind of real you want to experience during the holidays. They genuinely loved being around each other and noted all the blessing around them. They sat around simply enjoying warm conversations and laughter but when someone seemed to be struggling with something, they didn't hesitate to band together and help out, even when it was Katie, technically the "outsider". The moments Ruchti puts together are so heartwarming, from the adorable Christmas pageant the youngest grandkids put together, to the way Wilson quietly sings a portion of "Amazing Grace" to Dodie each night before they go to bed. Just beautiful.
So if you find yourself starting to feel a little jaded this holiday season, dreading the get-togethers for fear of fights, or if you are missing the nostalgia of Christmases past, I would highly recommend taking some time for yourself and indulging in this cozy little novella.
FTC Disclaimer: Worthy Publishing kindly provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.