Monday, September 8, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: The Santa Letters

The Santa Letters by Stacy Anderson

~ NO, it’s NOT too early to review a Christmas book!!! ~
I’m a sucker for Christmas stories. I collect them, in all their varieties. I have an entire bookcase and DVD case full of Christmas stories and movies. Some are individual stories and others are compilations of Christmas stories, either store-bought or homemade with precious holiday tales that have been copied over and over again. I also collect nativities. I’m kind of a Christmas junkie, so I was pretty pleased to discover a new Christmas book this year. It’s called The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch Anderson and it’s destined to become a Christmas classic, possibly a best-seller.

Having been raised by a remarkable woman of great service and joy who loved everything about Christmas I don’t think anything could take away the happiness of the season for me. As a child, every inch of our home was decorated, including the bathrooms. Christmas music is played at my house from November 1st until the New Year. Even though my precious mother passed away one week before Christmas ten years ago, I have not lost my love of the season when we celebrate the best gift we could ever receive, the birth of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.

Christmas movies are playing most of the time during the holidays at the Abney home and my children love to tease me about my “B” movies because many well-intended Christmas movies are made on a shoestring budget and lack some of the glamour and finesse of Hollywood, but they still find a home in my heart, year after year. I can be very forgiving when it comes to a good Christmas story. And although I found some things that took me away from the story in this first novel of journalist Stacy Anderson, by the time I finished reading it, I could hardly remember what they were… except for the fact that I’m such a goofball note taker that I even take notes when I read. And since I have so many good things to say about this story, let’s just get this part over with: I found it to be frequently melodramatic, particularly the foreshadowing in the first chapter. Some of the dialogue seemed very contrived; as if Stacy was trying too hard. And the image of this line especially took me right out of the story: “… as tears streamed down her face, making zebra stripes out of her mascara.” (Sorry, Stacy, because I think you are charming and wonderful, but that was just plain odd for me). Some other things distracted me, but as I said, by the time I closed the book, they no longer mattered.

This book is not just for the Christian audience ~ it’s for those that believe ~ altruistic people everywhere will enjoy it. It’s a story to help everyone remember how blessed they truly are and the importance of family and being there for each other, especially when sorrow visits your doorstep.

For Emma, tragedy occurs on Christmas Eve when her husband is hit and killed by a drunken driver, leaving Emma to pick up the pieces and raise her four children alone. However, she soon realizes she isn’t really alone as grandparents and neighbors pitch in. Even the loving help of others can’t fill the hole in her heart. It’s nearly Christmas again and Emma has neither the Christmas spirit nor the funds to give her children the holiday they deserve … and then twelve days before Christmas, letters and packages begin to appear on her doorstep. Each letter is lovingly crafted by a sweet long-winded (something I know plenty about) Santa and day by day he leads Emma and her children on a journey of self-discovery that you will not soon forget.

I didn’t interview Stacy for this book tour stop but I have read many emails from her and spoken to her on the phone and she is one of the sweetest people you would ever want to talk to. She is coming to Mesa for book signings in November and we can’t wait and I will have all the details about her schedule when she is in town on this blog so be sure to check back often.

DayStar Media (they do religious programming for cable and network TV) contacted Stacy and invited her to fly to Tennessee for a talk show featuring her new book. And here’s something totally awesome ~ Stacy sent a copy to the First Lady, Laura Bush, and recently received a lovely thank you letter from the White House on official stationary with the Presidential Seal signed personally by Laura Bush thanking Stacy for her sweet words of support and for sending her a signed copy of The Santa Letters which has now become one of Mrs. Bush’s Christmas favorites! How cool is that? You go, girl!!! This is such an amazing ride for a deserving new author. I wish her the best of everything.

You can purchase The Santa Letters here:

Visit Stacy's blog here:
or her website:



Kerry Blair said...

Great review, Stephanie! I especially appreciated your honesty -- something that is often lacking on blog tours such as this. Reading that it wasn't perfect but you loved it anyway makes me want to own it all the more.

Also I want to come to your house for Christmas! It sounds divine. :)

Jewel's Gems said...

Loved your review, Stephanie. I also love the book:o)

Shawnette said...

I think it is so important for stories to have true goodness in them, and this story looks like it does. Christmas time is magical and wonderful time of year but it is so easy to forget the true meaning behind Christmas. How wonderful to have a story that brings it back into the forefront! Great review.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks for your review, Stephanie!

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Durfee Family said...

Sounds like a GREAT book! I'm going to check it out! I like to buy a new Christmas book or two every year!

Framed said...

I discovered Christmas "B" movies last year and bought four or five. Very entertaining and got me in the right spirit. Just like this book did. I really enjoyed your post and your thoughts about Christmas.

Stephanie Abney said...

Thanks for everyone's comments on my review. I'm hoping to find time to do more book reveiws ~ have read several great ones lately but I'm still playing the part of overwhelmed first year full time teacher. I have such a cute class though and it is quite fun, despite exhausting.