BOOK REVIEW: Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig

Posted December 12, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in book review, Chautona Havig / 2 Comments

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEW: Christmas Embers by Chautona HavigChristmas Embers by Chautona Havig
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on November 23rd 2016
Genres: Christian, Family & Relationships, Family Life, Fiction, Holidays
Pages: 288
Source: CelebrateLit

It's a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you think you've hidden it. Emily Byrne sits in her daughter's classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn't sure where her Christmas project will take her. Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose--find her son's father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she's well aware that the news will cause waves, but what's a mother to do? As these women join forces to search for Joey's father--a Rockland area pastor, no less-- Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can't quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her. Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn't confident she'll find the boy's father in time--if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this--an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes. A mother's love. A boy's confidence. A family's faith. A preacher's failure. Is redemption even possible anymore? Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.

You know that moment when you read the last word on the last page of a book and you aren’t emotionally ready for it to be over.  How dare the author think that it’s a good time to end!  You aren’t ready, there’s still so much more to do, so much more to know, so much more to encounter, it can’t be over.  That’s where I am right now.  Seriously, ‘You have no idea.’ is the last line in this book.  It’s too over the top true, you have no idea how not ready I was for this book to end.  I’m also not even fractionally certain that I can review this book without spoilers.  You have been warn- er prepared.

Imagine having what seems the perfect marriage.  A loving spouse, open communication, true love.  You struggle like every other person, every other couple, on the planet but you always have each other.  No judgements, no secrets, no lies.  Or so you think.  Imagine meeting an infectiously lovable child, your daughter’s friend no less, who just wants to find his real daddy.  Before his mom dies.  Imagine falling in love with this little person.  And imagine how the knowledge of him, who he is and where he came from pulls the rug out from under the life you thought you had.  A life built on lies and deceit, and love but ya know… lies.  Well maybe not all lies, but lies are insidious like that.  One small lie can have a snowball effect that blankets everything in its path.  One small lie can erase love and trust.  The secret of the lie can create a heavier weight, the longer the secret the heavier the lie.  Even a small lie gains weight over time, kinda like people.

My heart broke for Emily.  And Joey.  Yes, I had deep feelings of ache for many of the characters of the book but these too hurt me deeper, with more weight.  Well except Emily’s parents, they were just jerkwad toadnuggets.  (Emily may have come to understand their position and while I commend her for that I don’t think that a blanket understanding begins to undo the damage they did to Emily and her family with their attitude.)  How do you fall in love with a child and yet also resent the existence of this child because of a snowballed lie?  The ability to set self aside for the benefit of another is something that the human race struggles with, constantly.  I have to say I was disappointed in Emily to some degree.  She continued to spend so much time with her friend Kate, who was so very bitter that she turned that bitterness on Emily.  Kate made her uncomfortable but Emily continued to put herself there.  Gee, don’t we all do that sometimes just for someone who sorta kinda maybe gets it.  Even when they don’t see things the same they are still a kindred spirit in this journey we call life.  That’s not the only reason I was disappointed in Emily.  I won’t spell it all out here and give away the entire book but lets just say that I feel like she made decisions and came to her conclusions too fast.  I appreciate that this book was not tied up with a neat little bow.  There is still a lot to be figured out.  Deciding if you want to learn to trust again is not something that comes easily or can be taken lightly.  ‘You have no idea.’ is just the beginning of the next step.  The next stage.  The next process. I’m still heartbroken.  I still want more.  I still need more.  I don’t know that I’ve yet decided to trust him again.  Perhaps wanting to take the next step is the right place to end off.  Maybe not for me but assuredly for her.

Christmas Embers
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About Chautona Havig

Chautona Havig

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of California (in the Mojave Desert) with my husband Kevin and five of my nine children. My eldest is married with five children, so I have the fun of a son-in-law and grandbabies to enjoy. I’ve graduated six out of my nine children from our home school, and they’re all doing quite well in their lives. My younger children keep me from getting too selfish, and someday I’ll be fully retired as their teacher. I have to say, I’m lookin’ forward to it. Teaching about gerunds was fun the first time… not so much anymore. I salute all of those in the education field. You are my heroes.

When I’m not writing (which I admit isn’t often) I enjoy blogging (a totally different kind of writing, trust me), paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old music. No, really, I like OLD stuff… the Beatles are too newfangled for me. Yeah,I know they’re before my time… but I like stuff before my PARENTS time.

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2 responses to “BOOK REVIEW: Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig

  1. I love this review. I love that you see the flawed characters that I wanted so much to make perfect and didn’t allow myself to do. I love that you got annoyed with the “victim” AND the adulterer. I love that Kate’s bitterness annoyed you and her parents made you want to throttle them. You should want to.

    And I love that you can see that her choice was about what was best for her… and that just because SOMEONE can, doesn’t mean everyone can. I’m not sure I could, but I’ve met people who have, and their lives and marriages were even BETTER afterward. That blows my mind.

    Thanks for reading. Thanks for reviewing. And thanks for “getting it.”

    • Fizzy Pop

      I think the idea of ‘wanting to’ is what I could relate to. I want to do so many worthy things. I don’t always make it but I do my best to try take want to and make it ‘did it’. Kristin and I have been talking a lot about our different writing styles here lately and I am very much an emotional blogger. I have to write when the emotions and feelings and thoughts are still fresh. I tend to approach life from an emotional perspective instead of from an intellectual perspective. Emotionally, it’s easier to ‘get it’ so to speak.

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