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The Christmas Table


The Christmas Table

With THE CHRISTMAS TABLE, Donna VanLiere brings readers another heartwarming story of Christmas cheer.

In June 1972, John Creighton sets a personal goal to create a beautiful dinner table by October. He has never taken on such a large project before, as his past works have been birdhouses and other items of that scale. His wife, Joan, is inspired to cook some delicious meals to put on that table. She finally looks at the recipe cards her mother crafted for her and sets out to make all these family recipes. However, during their annual checkup, they receive news that threatens to disrupt those plans indefinitely.

"The novel won me over with its holiday charm. The parallel narratives are constantly intertwined in such an engaging way."

In June 2012, recently wed Lauren Mabrey learns that she is pregnant. She and her husband, Travis, are overjoyed at the news that they will be starting a family soon. She tells her friends at Glory’s Place, the aftercare center where she works, and they arrange to get Lauren and Travis’ house ready for the baby. Lauren visits a local carpenter, who sells her an antique dinner table that he bought at an estate sale. In a hidden drawer, she discovers a collection of handwritten recipe cards, annotated with stories and personal notes. Knowing that they must be very valuable to the table’s previous owner, she sets off to find that person.

Joan and Lauren are strong women in healthy relationships. Their love is infectious and heartwarming; each couple’s interaction brought a smile to my face. Though they have to overcome many obstacles, they do so together. Furthermore, the beautiful volunteers at Glory’s Place are so much fun to read about. The banter between the two older women is not to be missed; their dynamic is humorous, and I hope that I have a friend like that when I reach their age.

The novel won me over with its holiday charm. The parallel narratives are constantly intertwined in such an engaging way. The juxtaposition of a woman on the verge of losing her family and another about to start one is truly impactful, and makes me appreciate the time that I have with my loved ones even more.

Community is another important value that VanLiere emphasizes here. When a character is in trouble, someone else just happens to enter the picture and provides what is needed, whether it be words of comfort or a hug. Even the smallest actions of a stranger can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

THE CHRISTMAS TABLE would be wonderful to read while snuggled up near a fireplace. It will invoke hope, faith and belief in the world, and impress you with the magic of family and community.

Reviewed by Alison Lee on October 23, 2020

The Christmas Table
by Donna VanLiere

  • Publication Date: October 6, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250164672
  • ISBN-13: 9781250164674