Dan Walsh published his first novel about three years ago, I believe. I read the first two novels and enjoyed them. They were a bit cheesy, but I was impressed particularly by his first novel. The second was quite predictable. Recently he published his fourth novel, Remembering Christmas. I sat down to read it, but found that it was a rare book that I had to pick up and set down. You see, I never got drawn in. Let me explain...
Storyline: The story is about Rick and the Christmas season that changed his life. He hadn't planned to come down and visit his mom and stepdad. But, his stepdad, Art, had a brain aneurysm and they needed his help. He spends several weeks at the shop which bring about a change in his heart. (Of course there's a little romance thrown in there.)
Writing: Mr. Walsh's writing in this book is fine. This book didn't stand out to me, but it wasn't badly written.
Plot: The plot revolves around the change in Rick's heart.
Why I picked it up and set it down: It is a rare book (like Terri Blackstock's Covenant Child) that has a protagonist I like who is hard to like. Rick's character for three-fourths of the book irritated me. And because the first scene of the book, which sets the stage for the story being a flashback to the past, didn't give me a warm feeling for him, I struggled through the whole book. It's hard to read a book for fun when you're so irritated with the main character for most of the book.
It felt a little bit like something I read about the PBS Arthur series once... Almost the entire show is spent on the conflict. Only the last few minutes are spent on the resolution. So, what do kids remember and mimic (according to research)? The conflict, not the resolution.
That's how this book felt to me. When I reached the conclusion, all I could remember was the long, drawn out conflict.
Conclusion: I'd recommend The Homecoming by Dan Walsh instead of this one. Or, if you're looking for a Christmas story, I'd recommend The Christmas Dog or The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson that came out a few years ago. They were much more lighthearted and hopeful to me.
Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review by Revell Publishing.