Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The Christmas Bus
The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson is a perfect little book to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Collin and Amy are a young couple traveling in a Partridge Family style bus. They're headed to California and on the way they plot a course that will take them through Christmas Valley. Christmas Valley, of course, capitalizes on it's name by making an industry of Christmas. With businesses like Mrs. Santa's Diner (featuring Blitzen Burgers) to The North Pole Coffee Shop to the Shepard's Inn B&B they are fully immersed in Christmas.
The pastor Charles Ryan and his wife Edith operate the B&B, which is normally closed Christmas week. This year, much to Edith's dismay, their four children are unable to come home for Christmas. During Wednesday evening service Charles gives a sermon about entertaining angels unawares and it inspires Edith to open the B&B over Christmas.
A disparate group congregates, two couples with issues, a single elderly woman, a single older gentleman and a newly single mother with her small daughter. And then there's the bus parked in front of the B&B. Oh - did I mention - Collin and Amy are very young and Amy is very pregnant? Of course being a Christmas story I think you can see where this is going.
The beauty of this book is how Ms. Carlson brings all the characters together. There's lots of tension, people not getting along, people not wanting things to be different than they normally are and personality clashes. There are cliches, no room at the inn, angels in disguise, a crusty busybody and the ever present Christmas pageant - but they work. There's also laughter, fun, long held traditions most of us are acquainted with and a lesson to be learned.
The Christmas Bus is a shorter book so it's a good quick read. And better yet, it begs to be read all at once - it's just too good to put down.