Title: O Little Town
Author: Don Reid
Genre: Christmas Fiction
Opening line: "… From where I’m sitting, I can see where most of it took place…"
Blurb: Christmas 1958 in a small town where everybody seems to know everybody, there are still a few secrets. Three families find they are connected in ways they never suspected: an angry teen, a dying man, a lonely wife, a daughter in trouble . . . just ordinary people, muddling their way through ordinary challenges. Spanning three generations, O Little Town is a reminder that people still make mistakes, forgiveness can still be granted, and people still rise to the occasion and do the right thing.
My Thoughts: O LITTLE TOWN is a wonderful feel good Christmas story, and I am not sure why it has taken me a few Christmas seasons to get around to reading it. But so glad I have now. There is a little bit of everything in the story, murder, drama and love.
Most of the story takes place around the events that occur during the few days prior to Christmas Day 1958 with one back story that links us back to the early 1900s. O LITTLE TOWN opens with Reverend Franklin’s 15-year-old daughter Millie caught shoplifting at Macalbee’s Five and Dime. Milton is the storekeeper and a close friend of Millie’s mother Dove who is very unhappy with her life as a pastor’s wife. The local police officer, Bobbie Briggs, is called in to deal with the situation but he has problems of his own. Buddy’s 16-year-old daughter announces she is pregnant and is going to marry Louis Sterrett the father of her child who is the nephew of Milton’s wife. Once the connections have been set up the story continues to follow the three families as they deal with the secrets that are gradually being uncovered. Weaving in and out of the main story is that of Walter Selman. Walter is an elderly man, grandfather of Louis, and something happened in his life when he was the same age as his grandson which kept me riveted as I wanted to understand why this event was so important to him now.
I found the plot very easy to relate to – every family has their issues and these seem to get worse at Christmas when relatives that have successfully been avoided all turn up at various family functions and start to press the right buttons! Every person has someone who they can confide in – and the friendships between different characters were portrayed so well. The writing was easy to read and very smooth as the story transitioned between the various characters and into the past – at no time did the story become confusing or the flow become choppy. In fact reading O LITTLE TOWN was just like a big gossip session – as if the narrator had said to you ‘Have you heard the latest about Doris and Colleen?’ and ‘My goodness what about that Dove!’ The setting was believable, as too were the characters and the story followed not only how they got to be in the situation they were in, but what they were doing about it, and where they are going to go on from here if they can. There was one excellent scene where three of the characters are looking at the falling snow through the window of their various houses all listening to the same Christmas song on the radio (a revamped version of “White Christmas” sung by the Drifters) and reacting to the song differently – just brought the story alive for me.
Of course being a Christmas story all the problems are solved to a certain extent – then an epilogue tidies up the loose ends nicely. I loved the story and recommend it highly.
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A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.