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Publisher's Summary

It began with a quarrel over which newborn should be the baby Jesus in the town's Christmas pageant. Decades later, two scientists arrive to study small-town genetic patterns, only to run up against the invisible walls that split the leading citizens into two congregations that can only be joined by love and forgiveness - and maybe a little deception, because there might be some things people just don't need to know.  

©2018 Orson Scott Card (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

OS Card version of a Hallmark Christmas romance

This is the Orson Scott Card version of a Hallmark Christmas romance. Add in a little genetic and social theory... And voila!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hallmark?

Orson Scott Card made a Hallmark movie as an audiobook. Fairly predictable and sweet with the characters explaining everything.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nolan
  • central Ohio
  • 11-30-18

A Short Commute Christmas Story

Why does the fictional town of Good Shepherd, North Carolina have two churches whose names are remarkably similar. One includes a bell tower, the other a clock. In the early years of the 20th century, episcopalians in the community worshipped at the same church. But sometime after 1930, another building was constructed across the street. There was a division in the church that was so lasting in its divisiveness that nearly a century later, no one can remember what caused the split. But it's a fact that there hasn't been a marriage between members of the two congregations since the split. Folks think it happened because there was a dispute over which congregant infant should play Jesus in the Christmas pageant. But no one knows much about the parents of the two boys or why the division was so apparently bitter.

Enter the genetic research project at a university within driving distance of the small town. Dr. Delilah Spunk just wants a job teaching. She's understandably tired of being an academic slave to a researcher who will almost surely take any and all credit for whatever work she does. Delilah, an economist, and Elyon, a geneticist, are dispatched to the small North Carolina community to determine whether there is a genetic marker for home bodies--people who may leave home for a while, but who invariably come back or who never leave. It's her job, because she is far more socialized than he is, to interview the residents, gain their trust, and convince them to let Elyon, who is condescending and awkward around people, conduct the genetic testing.

Almost immediately upon their arrival in town, the young academics meet Eggie Loft. He's pretty much all of what city government is in the community. He's not the mayor because no one wants that job, so there isn't one. But he's that conscientious guy whose good heart leads the way and allows him to immerse himself in his community. It doesn't take long for Dr. Delilah (Spunky) Spunk to develop feelings for a guy who isn't the sculpted male model of all-too-much fiction, but who would make a great dad and a loving husband.

The awkward economist, Elyon, isn't without his own reasons for eventually liking the town. His primary reason is Jozette, a high-school senior whom he has hired to cook for him and who ensures that he has relatively unrestricted opportunities to glimpse her cleavage often. Her cooking isn't great, but he doesn't mind the view at all.

This isn't a profound plot that will shake you to your core. But it is a nicely written Christmas story that looks at all the ways we divide ourselves against one another and wonders whether most of those divisions are even necessary.

There's nothing preachy here, but you'll come away thinking about why we're so intent on dividing ourselves against one another and hoping that we individually have the power to bridge many of those divisions.

This is a single bus ride novella that is magnificently narrated. Emily Rankin literally can't turn in a bad performance. It's just not in her skill set. If she narrates it, you're guaranteed a great performance that enhances the book.

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Cute

Fun little warm and fuzzy story. Not very deep but a nice quick “read” for the holidays.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring and convenient

I guess it’s an ok Christmas story, but it’s not really a Christmas story. I thought it was kind of cute, kind of boring, way too convenient. Too many stories happening at once and nothing really happening. It seemed incomplete and it ends with a reveal but no real explanation. My husband gives it a 3.5. I would give it a 2.5 if I could. The writing was good, the story was not.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful