Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Christmas Star by Robert Tate Miller

Book description:

Paul Bennett had the perfect wife, the perfect family, the perfect life—until one fateful Christmas brought an unthinkable tragedy. In deep despair, he turns to drinking to drive away the pain, but he only succeeds in driving away his wife. His marriage shattered, his family gone, Paul now despises Christmas.

But can the holiday he so detests hold a miraculous surprise? After an accident in which he loses consciousness, he wakes up in the company of the shepherds who will soon travel to Bethlehem to see the newborn Christ in the manger. Can Paul find salvation on the night that forever changed the world? Can he discover the true spirit of Christmas?

My review:

 I read and reviewed this author's other Christmas novel a few years ago, and really liked it. A few weeks ago, he commented on that book review on my blog and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing his new Christmas novel. I can never turn down a Christmas book, and also since I liked his other book, I said yes. This is actually his third Christmas novel, but I have not read the second one.

 The title of this book is Christmas Star, A Love Story. A lot of the book does not take place at Christmas. It starts at Christmas, ends at Christmas, and there are a few Christmases celebrated by the main characters throughout the book. A big part of the book is a love story between the main character, Paul Bennett and his wife.

 The book starts with loss and sadness, and when the main character is in his mid 30's, to my calculations. The author then goes back in time to when the main character is in his childhood up through his late teens, and then onto him meeting the love of his life.

There are some sad parts of the book, and a lot of happy times also. It shows how badly one can deal with loss if their focus isn't completely on God and they are not fully surrendered to Him and His will. It shows how far a man can sink when he has no hope and no faith in God. And it shows that God can restore broken people and give them hope.

 I try not to give any spoilers away in a book review, so I will try to be careful not to do so here: at one point the main character goes back in time. The author doesn't really explain how, but a dream is a likely possibility. Through that experience, the wonder and hope of Christmas brings about the highest point in the book, and it ends on a good note showing the true meaning of Christmas.

 I liked this book even more than the previous Christmas novel by Miller. It was an emotional read, with sad and happy moments both stirring my emotions. If you are going to read one Christmas story this year, you should make it be this one.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Robert Tate Miller began his writing career with homespun essays of small town life that were published by Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s and wrote successful family-oriented telefilms for NBC, ABC Family, and the Hallmark Channel. Robert lives in Northridge, CA, with his wife Gina and stepdaughter Chloe June.