Opening in the past, youngster best pals Zoe and Meredith put their youthful faith in action by crafting beautiful Christmas cards for the downtrodden of their hometown, Lincoln, Nebraska. The girls have their own traditions and secret codes, including a special word, ’couragement, a two-fold term meant to instill courage as well as inspire encouragement. Fast forward to adulthood. The pals have lost touch. Zoe has grown up, but harbors a dark secret she covers with an unshakeable faith and service, still to those in need in her home community.
When Zoe spies her kid crush, Liam, Meredith’s big brother, returned to Lincoln, she soon learns he has as much need of her special brand of ‘couragement as those who don’t hide their neediness.
Liam sees Zoe for the first time as an adult and realizes she holds the key to his broken spirit, but he strongly disapproves of her open door service to the down and out and needy. Zoe does all she can to restore his faith, but can she get past his walls? Sharing the events of her life, the good and the dark, since he and Meredith left Lincoln, is one way to reach him, and so are the Christmas cards and ornaments she gives him that explore the gospel through holiday traditions.
As Liam’s despair lifts, he still struggles with Zoe’s work until one day he’s given cause to change his heart.
I listened to the audio recording of this story. The male narrator used a softened voice when reading the female characters which was a distraction. Just reading naturally would have been fine. Throughout this book, the author reveals the stories behind our US Christmas traditions. Her holiday tale is highly inspirational with many prayers and Scriptures. Zoe is a wonderful role model, if somewhat naïve, and puts her faith in action. Recommended for those who love very sweet, religious romances.