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Reed Archer is a man with a past. His new-found faith in God will not be believed by those who know his history.
Ann Wright is a woman who wants to control her future. Her skill as an artist drives her need to be independent in a time when women usually must rely on the men in their lives to make decisions for them.
Can a risky proposition at Christmastide make them see each other in new light and bring a happily-ever-after for both of them?
It was a pleasant surprise to discover the woodcarver is the heroine in this late-18th-century story. I smiled over the tongue-in-cheek humor of society norms and appreciated Ann’s feelings over a mistaken display when she sees Reed after years of separation. He understands and wants to set things right with his childhood friend. The coldness of her first words felt like a slap. How can he convince her he has changed, most important, his spiritual salvation? He clears up the misunderstanding and proposed. They spend the twelve days of Christmas courting, as expected by their elders. Annie gives in to the memory of Grandpa’s advice. “It’s the grain ye’ve got to see before ye decide what to do with the wood, girl.” A rewarding read.
Looking past the exterior into the heart
Annie Wright’s grandfather taught her wood carving as a young girl. He always said, “Wood carving can tell ye a lot about a man. Ye tell a man by the grain. And ye can’t see the grain until ye remove the bark.” This admonition to look past the exterior and into the heart of a person is woven throughout this story.
When Annie’s family spends Christmas with the family of a childhood friend, Reed Archer, Annie is faced with the challenge of looking past the man who was into the changed heart of the man that now is. And Reed is faced with the challenge of not only convincing Annie he is not the man he once was, but also that his heart-transformation has removed the burden of a generational sin that has followed him all his life. Annie must peel away the bark of this man she thinks she knows until she is able to see the grain…his heart.
Ms. James has crafted a beautiful story of forgiveness, second chances, and redemption. I absolutely loved thi