30 November 2012

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels



A Wreath of Snow
A Wreath of Snow


Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

                                                  
I ordered this beautiful hardcover Christmas Novella after seeing a postcard of it, sent in the mail. Between the gorgeous picture and Liz Curtis Higgs writing it--I had to have this book! So I ordered it and copies for our two American contributors. Then I received an AUTOGRAPHED copy from Liz herself- WOW!!! How very special and I will treasure this book!

Set in Scotland, this novella (the length is more of a short book length, however) presents the problems that come when we deceive others. In terms of bibliotherapy, I would recommend this book to someone who has either been deceived by someone or who is having difficulty forgiving themselves for having been less than honest with someone. 

A drunken young man engaged in the sport of curling severely injures a boy whose sister has brought him to the event.  Still single at age twenty-six, Meg is somewhat estranged from her family. Her brother, Alan, who was injured as a child, revels in his role as invalid and has become an embittered young man.  So much so that his only sibling, Meg, attempts to return from home back to Glasgow early during her Christmas holiday--not even staying to celebrate Christmas with her parents and brother, and feeling mighty guilty.  

On board the train, Meg unwittingly engages in conversation with Gordon Shaw, who injured her brother and is now a journalist. He fails to correct her misunderstanding of his name, and who he is, finding himself very much enjoying the young woman's conversation aboard the snow-surrounded train.

Later, Meg does as Alan had done--deceiving her parents by allowing them to misconstrue his true name and identity. But the ultimate deception comes from another character. I will be honest, early on I guessed what likely would happen with this specific character later. I still enjoyed the storyline and the way Liz brought about the expected behavior (that aspect was unique.)

This is not truly novella length (which usually run closer to 20,000 words), despite the cover indicating that A Wreath of Snow is a Victorian novella--so plan to spend more than one evening reading unless you are a quick reader.  This is a lovely Christmas read--full of redemption and forgiveness. I highly recommend it!

Question: Have you ever deceived someone to "save the peace?" Did this action backfire on you?

You can find Liz's books at AmazonCBDB&N and other bookstores.

Giveaway:  We are giving away a hardcover copy of this book to one commenter this week. And a second giveaway for the week for any of Liz's books, choice of format.



61 comments:

  1. I am a very honest person, painfully honest, would rather get in trouble than fib but there is always a one time for everything... I did deceive someone once, I had good reason and it was the 'right' thing to do, but I really wish that I had never been in the position where I felt I had to do it.... It didn't backfire but it was only a temporary peace that it kept...
    montanamade(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, JASMINE! In this story, I felt Liz showed several motivations for either outright deception to allowing someone to infer something that wasn't so. That aspect of the book was thought-provoking.

      Delete
  2. I can't think of deceiving anyone to "save the peace". I'm sure I have and I'm sure it backfired, but I can't remember anything that sticks with me.
    Great review, Carrie!
    cambpellamyd at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amy. It is so tricky, those sins of omission where we think we are sparing people. A lot of times if we are honest, we're just trying to protect ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  3. Yay Carrie, another excellent review that really describes this story perfectly!! You figured out the ultimate deception early in the book??? You're a genius Carrie! I never saw that one coming....my jaw dropped when everything was revealed and it was sooooo well written!! The story illustrates what happens when bitterness takes root in such a clever way and I loved how each character responded.

    I know I've deceived people in the past, but can't recall doing it to save the peace. Deception is tricky no matter what the reason is for using it. Good discussion question! I was deeply encouraged by the family dynamics in this story despite the awkwardness Meg experiences, the story also brings hope and healing. Good job once again, Carrie, I felt the same way about this book that you did (had to have it) *smile* Blessings, Kara

    ReplyDelete
  4. My MIL seems to do this all the time, lol! I did find the family dynamics great!Thanks, Kara!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful cover !!! Looks like the world is at still with peace. The train was a popular transportation during the Victorian era. Everybody comes home for Christmas. There were joy and happiness. But not for everyone - homeless people and kids at the orphanage. I love Victorian era in Scotland and England.
    Honesty is a best policy otherwise you will be caught if you lie or deceive. Truth will set you free. At the dame time truth can hurt someone . I did deceive someone whom i love desrly because I don't want to hurt our relationship. He found out the truth and got backfired at me. I did explain the whole situation that I don't want to get into details. I forgave him at the same time to give him time to think it over. It is not easy but we have to face reality. Life is short. Life is beautiful. Every moment is precious. Happy Holidays !!! Kim
    JKTerrazas09@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You point out the bottom line--forgiveness by others and forgiveness of self. We all mess up. Yes, honesty is the best policy but we are all only human. Liz really explores the boundaries on both deceit and forgiveness in this lovely book.

      Delete
  6. Carrie, a lovely review as always! I have always been a peacemaker -- perhaps because as a child I grew up in such an abusive, chaotic home. So yes, I have deceived to keep the peace before, but nothing so drastic as the character in this book! Those teeny tiny deceptions are like little white lies -- still a sin and we must ask forgiveness for them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mom was, too, to the point of covering too much for others. They add up, those fibs or little white lies or lies of omission and they can cloud what needs to really be seen. sigh... One day God will bring us home and we won't do any of that any more! Hugs!!!

      Delete
  7. I would love to win this heartwarming book around the holidays.
    Kim
    JKTerrazad09@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will enter you! It is heartwarming for sure!!!

      Delete
  8. I have been eyeing this book. I want to read it so much! I hope to find the time. Great review, Carrie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I simply couldn't resist ordering this book! Then I got my copy from Liz and was like- WOOT!!! So my ordered copy will be the giveaway. Will enter you!

      Delete
  9. Great review. I'm a peacemaker.
    Would love to win and read this book.
    Thanks,
    Carolyn Jefferson
    carolynj63@att.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if you've felt the double-edged sword of stretching the truth or withholding information to keep the peace, Carolyn? That is where things get dicey, like in this book!

      Delete
  10. Carrie, great review. The more I hear and read about this book the more I want a copy.

    I have never deceived anyone, however that being said, I have been deceived. The feelings of hurt and betrayal stay with you for a long time. It isn't easy to forgive but God's word tells us that we must and so the forgiveness has been given. Time does help to heal wounds also. True forgiveness comes from God.

    Blessings!
    Judy
    sweetpea.judy(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I think we all do deceive people, albeit perhaps some in only little ways. And we try to fool ourselves, too. But I agree those BIG deceptions are what nail us. And forgiveness comes harder for those. I think Liz did a GREAT job of showing GRACE in this story in family relationships.

      Delete
  11. Hi Carrie, The review was great !!! Yes, I had to deceive someone a long time ago, my parents, I had to let them believe my marriage was ok.. but in reality, it wasn't.. My husband was a drinker and started getting abusive and I thought I hid it well.. One Christmas morning, I was going to go the my parents house with my 2 boys, 3 and 1, and they showed up at my door instead to make it easy on me, with a ton of presents, well, my husband had gone back to bed, already a bit on the drunk side, and my parents found out the hard way.. there was so little for Christmas from me to the boys, and they saw everything. I finally had to come clean about it all.. Doesn't pay to hide and protect an image... Rosemary Foley rfoley@salemstate.edu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your poor parents, and poor you! I bet on some level your folks knew. Protecting an addict or alcoholic is like spitting in the wind. Better to face the truth and deal with it head on. Thanks for sharing, Rosemary!

      Delete
    2. yes Carrie, it hurt my parents more finding out that way than if I just went to tell them.. I was only 23 at the time but a very young minded 23, always sheltered by my dad.. so, I learned that not saying anything, hurts more than telling the truth.. so... in the long run, they helped me... Rosemary rfoley@salemstate.edu

      Delete
    3. Glowing review--you ladies are making this book sound so wonderful--I would LOVE to win it! vmarney at hotmail dot com

      As to your question, the thing that came to mind is something that caused a close friend to be so hurt that she refused to talk to me for awhile. I'm a very truthful person, so this was in the form of omission. My DIL hd said something hurtful to me about my son and in anger, I said "At least he isn't a (sinful act) like 'so & so'!" As soon as it came out of my mouth, I felt bad & was worried that my DIL might tell this person's mother what I had said, which would have been very hurtful. It bothered me for a long time, so when an opportunity came, that I thought might be a good time to "spill the beans", I told her what I had said in anger, and apologized. She was so upset and hurt, she drove off, almost running me over & refused to speak to me--she was so angry and hurt! Because I travel with my husband (for his job) a lot, we did not see each other for quite awhile. When I eventually saw her again, she spoke to me like I was the friend we had always been and the topic has never been brought up again. I'm hoping that this means she has forgiven me, but somewhat fearful to bring it up again. I think it is best to just continue our friendship & not bring it up... In fact, I had forgotten about it, until you asked this question.

      Delete
    4. CARRIE, it's really cool that VICKI has become one of OWG's new followers! She and I were best friends in CA before my son was ever born. We moved across the coast from one another and were separated for about 30 yrs and then she just recently found me on FB. Her hubby was working in NC and they came to see us at the beginning of Nov. 2012. What a wonderful reunion that was! Just wanted to share that -- you can respond to her comment. :)

      Delete
    5. That is so neat, DIANA!

      VICKI, sometimes it seems like saying nothing is a better idea and then if someone else repeats something bad we said then to apologize--because then it really is on them, particularly if you apologized to the person you said it to and asked them to not repeat it. Life sure is tricky, isn't it?

      Delete
    6. Thanks Carrie! It was a special treat to reconnect with Paul & Diane after so many years--we both had our 2nd child with a few moths of each other and then life moved us apart--1st me, & then her. I just think it is so cool that God allows us to have a re-connection--FB is so cool for making re-connections! I am praying that God will have my husbands business travel return us for another connection sometime--in LESS than 30 years! ;-)
      Vicki

      Delete
    7. I am sorry I didn't get over here in time to congratulate you myself first, VICKI! Thanks for joining us on OWG and we are happy to have you win a copy of Liz's new Christmas book! Many blessings. I will get your address by email, thanks!

      Delete
  12. A friend and I went to stand in line at college for tickets for a very special event. Some girls came along who told us that we were at the wrong door. Being naive, we believed them, went to the other door, waited, and came back to find out that those girls were at the head of the long line. We eventually got tickets, but not good ones-a frustrating learning experience.
    Kaye Whitney
    kayewhitney@bellsouth.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is ROTTEN, Kaye! The thing is--God deals with people when they sin, all of us in fact, so... But that still is rotten!!!

      Delete
    2. I think that hurt feelings is one of the most difficult thing to deal with sometimes, and we all need to learn to be careful of our words, so we don't hurt others. sometimes this can be a very tough thing for those of us (like me!) who have a tendency to just blurt out everything...we have to learn when the time is right, & when the time is wrong.
      Vicki

      Delete
  13. Dear sisters, your honest, heartfelt comments are a real blessing to me and to others who need to know we're not alone in dealing with these real-life issues. Thanks SO much for sharing!
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming by, Liz, and for blessing us with your wonderful books!

      Delete
  14. Hey Carrie, great review! Would love to curl up next to my tree and read this story. Sounds very good and the cover is so pretty. I hope your son is feeling better. :)
    debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debbie. I hope you come back and answer my question! Son still fighting a headache. But he is in bed now. Thanks for asking!

      Delete
    2. Sorry, totally forgot to answer the question. I guess we all 'stretch the truth' now and then to keep the peace or to avoid an argument. I don't recall deceiving anyone too drastically, since I can't remember any backlash. I used to tell my little sister that she was adopted, but that wasn't to keep the peace.......we are best friends now, so no long term harm done. :)

      Delete
    3. Oh and I am praying for your son...I know how much headaches can cripple your day to day living. :)

      Delete
  15. I can't remember a time when I deceived someone to keep the peace. A Wreath of Snow sounds like a book I would very much enjoy reading. The cover is so lovely it makes me want to read the book.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you just tell it like it is, Pam, and deal with the aftermath? Thanks for sharing! Yes, the cover pulled me right in!!!

      Delete
  16. I would love to read this book. I thank you for the opportunity
    Linda Finn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, if you come back please leave your answer to the question and your email address, thanks!

      Delete
  17. Carrie, yes, there was a time when I deceived someone, and I'm not proud to admit to it because it is against my beliefs to do such a thing, but it was out of necessity. Had I not chosen to follow that path numerous people woud have been affected in a very painful way, and the results would have echoed through generations. Thank you for your review and contest!
    Nancee
    quiltcat26[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Nancee! Wow, that sounds like a powerful piece of information you had to deal with!

      Delete
  18. You have done well with your review Carrie, as usual. Yes, I have deceived some family at some times, to keep them hurt. Of course I felt bad about it and had to have a talk with GOD. It did cause them not to be hurt, but I felt the guilt. Sometime it is hard to answer one without telling an untruth and what if you don't see a way around. But it is still a sin to GOD. I'm glad HE is a forgiving GOD. I would never hurt someone intentionally. I would like to have my name drawn. I have this one and would love another one, but, I can always give it as a gift. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, MAXIE, and I appreciate your kind comments. We all do bad stuff and good thing God uses our consciences and the Holy Spirit to convict us!

      Delete
  19. CARRIE terrific review. I have done a lot of things to keep the peace with family members or friends but not intentional lying that I can remember.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Enjoyed reading your review CARRIE! I'll be able to begin reading it tonight, YAY!! :)

    I don't recall having done any decieving myself to keep the peace apart from maybe tiny ommissions lol, but I have been decieved by some people close to me in massive ways.
    The worse thing about deceiving is that it causes mistrust to linger even after there has been forgiveness. And trust is a sad thing to lose in someone, especially someone close. I don't think deception is EVER a good thing to do!

    ReplyDelete
  21. CARRIE, loved your review! Can't wait to start reading this book! It came in the mail today!! Yay! thank you, honey! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY! I hope you love it! Thanks for your kind comment!

      Delete
  22. I'm sure I have in some way decieved someone to keep the peace, but I do prefer to be open about it and just say what is needed. I think most of the time we all decieve someone without really thinking to much about it.
    Thank you for the great review!
    samanthaakuiper(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, we may deceive people unintentionally as well. Thanks, Samantha! I am thinking too about the holidays and when someone asks about whether you like their (awful!) gift, lol!

      Delete
  23. I'm sure I have and it's backfired, but nothing comes to mind. My saying is that you don't want to be lied to so don't lie to others! That's the best way to go about is telling the truth! makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't want to hurt others, though, so the old admonition "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" comes in!

      Delete
  24. The only thing that comes to mind is if I led someone to believe I liked a gift they gave me, but really didn't. I don't think they realized it, though.

    shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, Veronica--we all do those little white lies to spare feelings. We don't need to hurt other people. I really try to get creative with my comments if something is awful I still try to thank the person and compliment them. But I have learned that if you fake some kind of effusive praise and it is toward the bad gift, then you'll get another one, lol!

      Delete
  25. I have been VERY hurt by deceit lately. It's a very painful thing, and thinking about it I don't know that I've ever deceived anyone...other than about their Christmas present! Does that count? I did that once, but never did again!!! (It backfired [shaking my head])

    :)

    Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez

    amada_chavez{AT}yahoo{DOT}com

    I would LOVE to win a copy of any of Liz's book to read and review!!! Thanks for the opportunity Liz, Carrie, and O.W.G.!!!

    Merry Christmas!!!

    Exodus 14:14

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am SO sorry, Amada. For those of us who strive for honesty, having someone deceive us is the ultimate hurt. And I think they know it. Which is why that is the chosen weapon. Praying for you!

      Delete
  26. Our winner of any one of LIZ's great books of her choice is....SUZIE! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Diana, so much. The book is sitting on my table and I can't wait to read it! Thanks to each of you!

      Delete
    2. So glad it got to you, Suzie, and many blessings!

      Delete
  27. Congrats to VICKI MARNEY who has won a beautiful hardback copy of A WREATH OF SNOW!

    ReplyDelete
  28. YAY! Thank you for the book--a beautiful hardback like this, will be a GREAT book to have in my library and hopefully I can convince my daughters to read it as well. Thanks Again!
    Vicki

    ReplyDelete

Google Analytics