Monday, November 16, 2015

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Long update--Christmas Bells

The Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon is hosted by
 Jennifer @ The Book Shelfery  and  Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I've had a fun time this past week, reading  two Holiday novels,  2 short stories and hopefully will finish a shorter novella by tomorrow! 
I told you about the Christmas Joyride earlier ( a fun light-hearted novel)  in this weekend's post, but yesterday I had the luxury of  reading the most charming holiday book!   It was  perfect day-- Blustery and rainy and cold.  I had a fire in the fireplace and something good smelling in the oven and I read all day long.
It was over 300 pages, but a finish-in-one-day kinda  book.  

From Me:
If you need to read a book to get into the holiday spirit---and I mean the true spirit--- of Christmas, this just might be the book for you.
I loved it.
Going back and forth from the Civil War era to present day, the author weaves a story of the true holiday--sometimes it's not what we imagine, but it still has the power to fill our hearts with wonder.  As it should.
I thought the character development was great--- each 'present day' chapter was told in a different point of view from different characters.
4 stars!

PS- I did not know that Longfellow wrote this poem. So there was lots of historical things I learned while reading this novel.  I have a new respect for Longfellow and want to find out more about him.

From Goodreads:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 
In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.

In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.

Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow’s family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow’s patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. “Christmas Bells,” the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn. 

Jennifer Chiaverini’s resonant and heartfelt novel for the season reminds us why we must continue to hear glad tidings, even as we are tested by strife. Reading Christmas Bells evokes the resplendent joy of a chorus of voices raised in reverent song

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;

"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

You're going to have the most Christmas spirit ever this year!

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