It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: Christmas at Whitefriars (+ guest post)

Posted December 7, 2019 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, Christmas, Elizabeth Camden, giveaway, historical, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) 2019, romance / 48 Comments

today’s book: christmas at whitefriars by elizabeth camden

Christmas is only 18 days away according to Google (if we get to Dec 25th and we have days left over, blame Google, not me lol.), BUT now ’tis the season when I start craving cozy Christmas reads. (Okay – I crave them all year round but now’s when I can get away with talking about them LOL) This year I’m continuing my annual blog series spotlighting new and recently-released Christmas reads, and I’m super excited! Christmas books make me happy!

So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your own bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)

Today’s next featured book is a Victorian romance novella from one of my favorite authors – Elizabeth Camden – plus she shares why some movies with heavier themes resonate with so many of us at Christmas!

GENRE: Inspirational Historical Christmas Romance
RELEASE DATE: October 29, 2019

Mary Beckwith lives in a magnificent English castle during the twilight years of the gilded age. With the help of an American millionaire, she has succeeded in renovating her beloved Whitefriars castle into a splendid estate just in time for Christmas.

From across the ocean, millionaire Everett Wooten has spent a fortune propping up Whitefriars to add modern conveniences and rebuild crumbling old walls. Even though he’s never met Mary, they have enjoyed a lively business correspondence over the nine years they have been working toward a renovation. Now he has finally come to see Mary and the castle in person, but nothing is as he was led to believe.

Mary and Everett try to find a way forward, but red-blooded American entrepreneurship doesn’t always mingle with blue-blooded English tradition. Can a Manhattan business tycoon and an English lady come to an accord, or will their joint venture in Whitefriars result in heartbreak for them both?


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christmas movies light and dark

by Elizabeth Camden, author of Christmas at Whitefriars

Each year Hallmark and Hollywood release a slew of Christmas-themed movies where everything is covered in a blanket of winter snow, the children are delightful, the small town radiates with quirky but wholesome characters, and the attractive, star-crossed couple find love in the end. The pure and unabashed sentimentality of these stories make a lot of people happy.

They have the opposite effect on me.  I know I’m not the only one who sometimes struggles at Christmas, though people rarely talk about it. The Christmas season makes us harken back to our childhood when we remember the undiluted joy of Christmas morning and the delicious anticipation leading up to it. Most of us had no understanding about loneliness, terminal illness, worries about money, or regrets about a life not fully lived.

That’s why I like a Christmas story with a little more heft, and I am not alone. At the very top of people’s all-time favorite Christmas stories are some surprisingly dark contenders. Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol? It is a story of a sour old man regretting his entire life until his eyes are opened in a terrifying midnight journey that holds his life up to the magnifying glass of judgement.

In The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, a man sells his cherished watch to buy his wife a beautiful comb, while she sells her hair to buy him a watch chain. They are ordinary people whose life would never look good on Instagram, yet they understand their blessings and celebrate what they have….even if a part of them wishes they had a snazzy watch or beauty to make others gape in admiration.

Then there is It’s a Wonderful Life. This 1946 movie is my personal favorite even though it seems darker, heavier, and more profound each time I watch it. It is a story about a middle-aged man who fails to attain his grand childhood aspirations, endures a business failure, scandal, and contemplates suicide.  Why does such a heavy theme resonate with us, especially at Christmas?

Christmas is a time when we are supposed to be riotously happy. The media blasts us with images of happy families, glittering lights, and the suggestion that the rest of the world is living in a warm, Norman Rockwell-like world. Then comes the New Year’s holiday which prompts us to take stock of our lives and examine our accomplishments. Is it any wonder that many of us fall a little short of this idealized world?

I think this is why Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey has made such a lasting impression on me and millions of others. He is an ordinary man who nurtured such huge dreams and worked hard to make them happen. As he moves into middle age, he is forced to conclude most of his grand hopes will never come to pass, and this message resonates with a lot of us.

The magic of all three of these stories is that they celebrate the beauty and dignity of an everyday, commonplace life.  A Christmas Carol also teaches us that its never too late to turn a corner. These stories are a soaring hymn to Christian values. I love that they celebrate the quiet dignity of good men and women, stressing that each life has value. In a world that often overlooks such people, they elevate the lives of hardworking people into shining heroism, and that’s a wonderful thing!

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

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Elizabeth Camden is offering one of my readers a copy Christmas at Whitefriars in either an ebook, print, or large print (Print copy is US only, ebook is open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What interests you most about Christmas at Whitefriars? Do you prefer the lighter holiday movies or the ‘darker’ ones at Christmas?

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48 responses to “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: Christmas at Whitefriars (+ guest post)

  1. Connie Scruggs

    I haven’t read any books by Elizabeth Camden yet, but I am interested in them. This would be a good first one.

  2. Faith Creech

    Love Elizabeth’s books! They are all so good! I love watching light Christmas movies. My favorite is It’s A Wonderful Life!

  3. Sophia Snyder

    i’m interested in the romance and the Christmas vibes from the novel! hehe. and i love the lighter Christmas movies 🙂 can’t wait to read this!

  4. Sophia Snyder

    i’m excited for the romance and the Christmas vibes! hehe. i definitely love the lighter Christmas movies 😉

  5. Melissa Andres

    I love Christmas books and movies. I prefer lighter stories, but don’t mind darker ones sometimes. I absolutely love this cover and look forward to reading it!

    • Dianne Casey

      I love reading about the Gilded age and this book sounds interesting. I prefer lighter holiday Christmas movies.

  6. Andrea

    I love Elizabeth Camden books! I love that she wrote a Christmas story. I love the “darker” Christmas movies. It’s a wonderful Life is one of my favorites too ❤️

  7. Cindi Altman

    What interests me in this particular book, besides it being written by Elizabeth Camden, is the renovations. It sounds like something that I would love to do, if I were able. The fact that these people have formed a business relationship over the years has me curious as to how they will respond to each other once they meet in person.

    I typically enjoy the Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life type of Christmas movies. They come across as more realistic to me.

  8. Debbie Clatterbuck

    I love Elizabeth Camden’s books. I have read several of them and would love to read this one. It sounds so intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity and good luck everyone.

  9. Sounds like an amazing read. Hard to say what interests me the most but I’d say say the whole book interests me.
    I prefer the lighter holiday movies over the darker ones. OH I hope I win.

  10. Alison Boss

    I was so excited when I first read Elizabeth Camden was coming out with a Christmas story! I like that it involves a castle! I like both lighter and some dark Christmas movies. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Christmas at Whitefriars!!!

  11. Kathryn Brooks

    This story sounds so wonderful and intriguing! I was just recently introduced to Elizabeth Camden, but ever since then, I’ve been in love with her books, and I’m sure this one will be amazing!
    Also, I prefer both, it just depends what mood I’m in when it’s being watched. I think there’s a place for the lighter movies, but also for the darker and heavier.

  12. Anne L. Rightler

    I enjoy Elizabeth’s books and am looking forward to reading this one. As to movies, I prefer the lighter ones for the most part.

  13. Donna Durnell

    I will start by saying I like most Christmas movies — from lighthearted, to comedy, to drama, and to darker. I don’t much like “Home Alone,” or “A Christmas Story,” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but “Elf,” “The Santa Clause,” and “Polar Express” are fun ones. I do like most of the Hallmark movies, some are better done than others. And “A Christmas Carol” in almost all of it’s renditions can’t help but be a Christmas staple in our house. And the older “Miracle on 34th Street,” “The Bishop’s Wife,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” are truly favorites.

    I look forward to reading about an English woman and an American man and their ideas of what each expects for the castle.

  14. Lorraine Boyd

    I think there is room for both, the light and the the dark side. It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are thought provoking. Life is hard, but life is good.

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