Thursday, October 9, 2014

Evergreen by Susan May Warren

Evergreen by Susan May Warren

It’s always such a treat to read one of Susie’s books!

Let’s begin with the summary:

An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip planned abroad. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?

Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.

As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.

And now, my review:

I love novellas! They’re quick reads and when well-written, they pack a lot of emotion into a short story.

In Evergreen, we follow the empty-nest journey of the parents of the Christiansen family, John and Ingrid. The book opens with Ingrid’s repeated attempt to write her family Christmas letter, but failing because of her grief.

I appreciated how Susan kept the story from getting too heavy, yet dealt with real, even raw, issues. The layers just drew me deeper into the story.

My favorite tidbit? This is a married couple romance. You don’t see those very often. Kudos to Tyndale! (And Susie!)

Just when Ingrid thinks her useful days are over, God offers a new opportunity to her. I liked watching her competence. I sympathized with her and her empty-nest grieving. We didn’t camp on that topic long, but Ingrid’s depression resonated with me.

Being empty-nesters has brought this couple’s issues to the surface. No more hiding from the truth, or denying it. One of the themes is self-protection, and how that keeps others at a distance. Another theme was honesty and forgiveness. I liked the symbolism of the evergreen and how it relates to longevity in marriage. I think every reader will benefit from the nuggets sprinkled through this entertaining novella. 

Also, you might guess from the cover that this is a Christmastime-only read. It’s not. It’s a fall/winter read, with some Christmasy moments. I read my copy in the warm October sunshine. So, you can enjoy it anytime. One of the perks: you’ll get to revisit the picturesque northern Minnesota setting, which Susan makes sound appealing no matter what time of year.

Glad we’ve gotten to visit John and Ingrid again. Looking forward to the next book Christiansen Family series!

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