The story of a black family's move to a small all-white Tennessee town in 1947 inspires inspirational novelist VanLiere (Christmas Hope
; Christmas Shoes
; etc.) to expand her fictional range while trying to expand her audience. Narrator Jane Gable recalls two critical life events on the same spring day when she was nine years old: the funeral of her alcoholic father and the arrival of a black family of sharecroppers, the first blacks Jane has ever seen in Morgan Hill. Both events converge to make life harder for the impoverished Gables; Jane's mother, Fran, is pregnant, and the black Turner family, hired to work on a tobacco farm, is slighted, harassed and threatened. When the Turners' house burns down, Milo, the only survivor, is taken in by the Gables. VanLiere uses humor, memories of growing up Southern and touching moments of family unity to enrich her story of overcoming racism and poverty. Her retreat into familiar territory (another charming Christmas pageant, another holiday full of joy and sentiment) will satisfy fans of her earlier work. Author tour.