by Judy Duarte

Publisher: Kensington

Published: October 1, 2011

Format: Paperback (313 pages)

ISBN: 9780758238955

Series: Fairbrook Novels

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Even during the Christmas season, these neighbors on Nutcraker Court aren’t a close bunch, and when a stranger comes to town, odd things begin to happen.

This fourth book in the series illuminates more inhabitants of the town of Fairbrook.  Josh, a preteen boy, strives to help his single mother as best as he could, and his mother Carly is trying to raise two boys alone.  As if that isn’t enough, her money problems have her close to eviction. Meanwhile, Max Tolliver is a close-to-broke writer who is on leave from his real job to pursue a dream, but his work-in-progress and his dog stymie him.  Another neighbor, Grant Barrows’ risky investments have him landing on the fiance fail track, and all he wants is a job. The Diamond Lil’s are four poker-playing women who each have their own troubles and bad deals they have to contend with in life.

More than a few of these people don’t have the Christmas spirit as they are nursing their wounds, plotting new courses, and having issues with the past.

But when Mary-Margaret Di Anglelo—a.k.a. Maggie—comes into town to house-sit for one of the Lil’s, unusual happenings occur.  And Maggie tells the Lil’s a story that seems impossible; then, one-by-one, the Lil’s start to see past the story and into the message it contains. Nevertheless, in time, some of the other neighbors begin to see Maggie as odd, but she still seems to know more than she should.

In the meantime, more woes besiege many of the characters, including the Lil’s.  One of them falls ill, and Maggie is gone.

Will anyone learn that a penny isn’t just a coin?  Can another learn that prayers get answers, albeit not in the expected fashion?  Will someone come to realize that what they’ve prayed for they already have? Moreover, who will find out what they’ve asked for is something they really didn’t want? 

My Take:

My strong recommendation for Judy Duarte’s  CHRISTMAS ON NUTCRACKER COURT comes from her characters’ stories who could be you or me with backgrounds that could be any one of ours.  Romance is a part of this portraiture, and for some characters a motivation, but this element comes forth in an everyday “real life” approach.

While she links faith and love in an unexpected and compelling way, giving credence to the characters’ and readers’ emotions, Judy Duarte’s faith-filled tale puts life into perspective while showcasing hope and charity.

This is an excellent read for anytime of the year!  Add this book to your wishlist, this read won’t disappoint.  And you’ll want to check out the other books in the Fairbrook novels, ENTERTAINING ANGELS (May 2009), MULBERRY PARK (March 2010), and THE HOUSE ON SUGAR PLUM LANE (April 2010).


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