FICTION

Christmas Bells

Dutton. Oct. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780525955245. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698407091. F
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Inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Christmas Bells," Chiaverini (Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker) intersperses the story of how Longfellow came to write the poem with the stories of several people connected to St. Margaret's, a church in contemporary Boston. In the early 1860s, Longfellow is mourning the death of his wife and worrying about his son on the Civil War battlefields while in the present a music teacher faces the loss of her job, a family worries about their missing father in Afghanistan, and brothers clash. With a little help from Sister Winifred, however, those at St. Margaret's find the hope and joy of the season as they sing a hymn inspired by Longfellow's words.
VERDICT Chiaverini writes a heartfelt story of Christmases past and present. [See Prepub Alert, 4/6/15.]

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