FICTION

Midnight, Christmas Eve

Firefly Southern Fiction. Oct. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9781645262978. pap. $14.99. CF
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Clapp’s (Under the Lights) modern-day Hosea and Gomer retelling replaces the Biblical couple with rural, white North Carolina teenagers. Brady finds his first love in Sarah, a beautiful and troubled young woman in an abusive relationship. Brady’s friends tell him to leave her alone, but he follows his religious convictions and tries to help Sarah by folding her into his church youth group. As the high schoolers are pulled in different directions, Brady and Sarah make a pact to meet at their special bench at midnight on Christmas Eve in five years’ time. Clapp slowly follows Brady and Sarah as they grow and change. Sarah reaches out only when she hits rock bottom, while Brady remains faithful to Sarah even as friends and family urge him to move on and enjoy his own successes.
VERDICT Clapp’s novel will resonate with readers searching for peace in a busy holiday season, as a gentler take on the Book of Hosea’s lesser-known redemption parable, which was also retold in Francine Rivers’s classic Redeeming Love.
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