post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Christmas Embers
Author: Chautona Havig
Major Themes: Divorce, Unfaithfulness
Synopsis: When unfaithfulness is discovered, the effects are far reaching—is there any hope that one can find forgiveness after something like that?
Where do you even start to describe a book like Christmas Embers? My first reaction, when I (admittedly) gushed a little on the Facebook group, was summed up in the word “outstanding”. I’ll stick by that. That’s what this book is. It’s the most emotionally-charged book I think I’ve read all year (and that’s saying something, because A Bird Died ripped at my heart earlier this year), and it’s also the most unforgettable. Probably the most encouraging, too, actually.
Christmas Embers has a level of depth that I didn’t really expect when I first waded in. I loved the characters from the beginning—Sean, Emily, and their cute five-year-old Piper.
Emily longs for another child as she watches Piper grow older. As a “Mommy-blogger”, she takes on different projects in order to help boost her blog traffic and be a blessing to others. This year, she’s sketching portraits of the children in her daughter’s kindergarten class. While there, she meets an incredible diversity of children, many with heart-wrenching stories even though they’re so young. Meanwhile, she and Sean try to encourage a friend who is going through an ugly divorce to forgive. How can they help her deal with her grief and bitterness in a Christ-like way? But greater troubles loom on the horizon—are forgiveness and grace enough to keep them steady even when dealing with broken trust?
Christmas Embers deals with the incredible pain unfaithfulness brings not only into a marriage and family, but to the church and community at large. It’s awful. Ugly. Mrs. Havig exposes it for what it is, and shows how it can be totally devastating. The struggles of the characters were very real—almost too real, in fact! However, through the ugliness, the light of Christ—His love—shines true. I cried as I watched the affects of one person’s sin infiltrate so many different people, making many not only angry but even making some turn away from the Lord.
Basically, this book contains a message that needs to get out—sin is sin, there’s a reason why God says He hates it, and “be sure your sin will find you out” is all too true.
This book isn’t all dark, however, even though the subject matter isn’t an easy one by any means. I loved the children in the story—little Piper and Joey completely won my heart. One of my favorite quotes by Piper was on Christmas morning as she returned from a wake-up-Mommy mission. “She’s awake! She wasn’t, but I fixed that.” There’s just enough of their little bits of humor that this book doesn’t feel completely down. Yes, there are some terrible plot twists—ones that caught me completely by surprise and made me shout “NOOO!” (I’m sure the author would have loved to watch me read this—I’m certain I shouted at her several times out of pure commiseration for the heart-wringing she gave her poor characters.) The ending was satisfying, too.
I highly recommend this book to women of all ages, but preferably above 18. Due to the subject matter, there are some pretty difficult things discussed, even though I was (again) impressed at the lack of description Mrs. Havig managed to achieve. This book is very clean. Even though you know what’s going on, it’s not explicitly stated. I’m thankful for that!
Note: I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. I voluntarily wrote a review, and all opinions expressed are my own.
WARNING: Some women’s issues are mentioned once somewhere near the beginning of the book. Throughout the story, there are kisses and other things like that. Never described in detail. See the last paragraph of the review.
Links to buy Christmas Embers:
(SPECIAL NOTE: This book is releasing today, November 25! If you buy it before or on November 28, head over to chautona.com/bonus to claim your special bonus prize. 🙂 )
Keywords: Divorce, Unfaithfulness