cover image The Christmas Promise

The Christmas Promise

Donna VanLiere, . . St. Martin?s, $14.95 (206pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36776-3

Van Liere’s seasonal confection (following The Christmas Hope ) finds 60-year-old Gloria Bailey doing informal good works for needy cases seven years after her husband died, and her youngest son, Matthew, disappeared without a trace at age 17. With infinite good nature, Gloria fends off the complaints of her crabby widow neighbor, Miriam, annoyed by the constant riffraff at Gloria’s house, while Gloria still sadly hopes that wayward Matthew will somehow return. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Chaz McConnell, a hard-luck drifter and drinker with a good heart, starts his Christmas season job as a security guard at the local department store and is reluctantly drawn into the lives of the people around him. Everyone changes for the better in this tidy fable. (Oct.)