02 August 2014

Evergreen by Susan May Warren

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An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn't be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He's sure she'll love it. What's more romantic than Christmas in Paris? 

Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then – because disasters strike in threes – an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts. 

As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid's marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.

Susan May Warren returns to Deep Haven and Evergreen Resort for a sweet holiday story, focused on John and Ingrid Christiansen, in this Christiansen Family novella, Evergreen. With an empty house for the first time in years, John and Ingrid must rediscover how to relate to each other, while overcoming formidable challenges of both the present and past. Their story is not an easy one of smooth sailing, but as the couple learns to trust and forgive, Warren gives her readers many tender and hopeful moments.

As the foundation of the Christiansen family, John and Ingrid make appearances in Take a Chance on Me, It Had to Be You and When I Fall in Love, but I’m so glad to see them in their own story, brief though it may be. From the glimpses of these two characters in previous novels, I’ve always thought of them as stable and reliable, always ready to add a wise, encouraging word when necessary. Yet, Evergreen gives both John and Ingrid unique depth and personality, in ways I hadn’t expected. They are conflicted and flawed (and sometimes a bit frustrating), which helps make them real and relatable. I loved this opportunity to get to know John and Ingrid better.

Evergreen picks up just after When I Fall in Love, so fans of the Christiansen family will surely appreciate it. But readers new to the series need not be daunted – while I think it helps to know about the events found in the three previous novels, Warren provides just enough background information for this novella to be read either on its own or out of order. Overall, it’s a quick, enjoyable read of contemporary, inspirational romance, perfect for a free weekend in the approaching holiday season.

Thanks to Tyndale BlogNetwork, I received a copy of Evergreen and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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