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