Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Review: A Forever Christmas

A Forever Christmas by Missy Tippens (Steeple Hill Love Inspired) Nov 09

Reviewed by Anita Mae Draper

This is Missy's 2nd book set in Magnolia, Georgia with their commonality of The Forever Tree. I find this concept fascinating. In each of Missy’s books, the couples who hold hands around the Forever Tree as youngsters find themselves drawn together as adults and the local myth is proved true. At least it did in the last book.

In A Forever Christmas, Sarah Radcliffe returns home for the Christmas holidays earlier than normal because of a tragedy. Disillusioned and angry with God, she’s hoping to find peace and renew her spirit but instead she’s thrown into community service when her friend’s advancing pregnancy means they need a director for the local church pageant. Sarah accepts the task when it becomes clear there’s no one else to take the job. After all, she has time on her hands and as a kindergarten teacher used to handling young children, there’s no real reason for her to refuse.

That is until she interacts with two endearing boys and discovers they belong to Gregory Jones. Every other time Sarah’s come home, she’s managed to avoid Gregory, the young man she held hands with around the Forever Tree. Sarah may still be single but it doesn’t mean she wants to renew a relationship with the man who betrayed her in high school.

Gregory can’t believe the new pageant director is Sarah Radcliffe who apparently still has the power to render him speechless. As a young man from the other side of the tracks, Gregory had been awed by Sarah’s status and the mansion she lived in. At the first sign of adversity, it hadn’t taken much to break the fragile thread holding them together.

Now, over ten years later, Gregory is a divorced father with two small sons who depend on him. Already deserted by their biological mother, the marriage and subsequent move of Gregory’s sister away from the boys have put them in a state of depression. Gregory feels the answer to their happiness lies under the Christmas tree and is working extra hours to provide material gifts for them.

Because of the recent loss of one of her own small students, Sarah knows Gregory will regret not spending quality time with his boys if anything should happen to them. She’s determined to make workaholic Gregory see what he’s missing even if it means spending more time with him herself.

What Sarah doesn’t realize is that maybe her parents had something to do with Gregory’s betrayal way back when and if she finds herself falling for him again, the old circumstances may still be in effect.

I cried several times while reading this book. From the sorrow of her lost student to the desertion of the boys’ mother, Missy went deep into the emotions of her characters and made me feel what they were feeling. Seeing how easy it was for Sarah to allow the actions of her parents to screw up her life made me realize how easily it could have happened to me. Not that my parents were well off, but they certainly didn’t agree with my choice of a life mate.

I believe this is Missy’s best book so far. When I closed the back cover, I was satisfied at having been part of an inspiring story. Missy doesn’t designate A Forever Christmas as part of a series and I don’t know if there will be any further Forever Tree stories, but no matter what she writes, I’ll be standing in line to buy it.

Here are Missy’s books which use The Forever Tree:

Jun 09 – His Forever Love
Nov 09 – A Forever Christmas

You can find out more about Missy’s books at

Up here in Canada, it's Boxing day today which equates to big shopping sales. But I think I'll huddle in my prairie home and spend some time with my children.

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? Care to share?


  1. I love the idea of the "forever tree." Very charming. I also enjoyed when Missy came to visit us. I'll have to check this out.

  2. A great review Anita. If I didn't already have the book in my TBR pile, I'd be looking for it when I hit the stores for boxing day.

    Not for sales, but groceries!

    Enjoy your quiet day at home.

  3. Great review, Anita. I loved, loved, loved this book. Missy is a rising star.

  4. Dina, Wendy and Suzie - Yes, indeed Missy is a rising star. I enjoyed her visit here as well as the numerous other times I've met and spoken with her. She's a warm, gracious lady - Southern hospitality at it's best.

    Yes, I am enjoying my quiet day at home. The kids are trying to get me to drive to the city so they can exchange gifts and spend their Christmas gift money but I'm putting my foot down. Boxing Day in Canada is like Black Friday in the US and you add that to the icy roads and I'm saying nope, not this chauffeur. I've spent so much time on them lately, I've ignored my Inky friends so I'm thinking I'll spend the next couple hrs seeing what y'all have been doing at the Inkwell. :)

    Have a God day!

  5. Thanks for the review, Anita. It sounds like a great book.

    I took my son out today so he could spend some of his Christmas money (he has two sets of aunts & uncles who always send cash or gift cards. God bless them!) Was hoping the game he wanted would be on sale. Alas, it was still full price. But that's okay. He had enough and we were only shopping for about half an hour. Then we came home to play. Fun stuff!

  6. Thanks for the review, Anita! I am currently enjoying this book. Missy is a fabulous writer.

    Hope you're all enjoying your day!

  7. I was blessed to receive this book as a gift from the author. To blow my own horn, did you see my name in there?! I was quite honored to get a public acknowlegement for a tiny bit of help I gave her while wearing my horticultural hat.

    So, I put it aside to read during my Christmas break when I could sit and enjoy it from beginning to end!
    Nice review Anita--you gave the gist without spoilers and now I'm doubly anxious to get to it!

    Life gets back to normal tonight. sigh. Good night all!

  8. Great review, Anita. Missy's not only a great writer but a great gal. Love her smile.

  9. Hey Jen and Susanne. Yes, I am enjoying my day. Spent a couple hrs checking blogs while kids were playing Wii and Rock Band. Now that supper is over, they're back to playing games. Hubby just came in after 5 hrs of our 20hp Kubota pushing snow around the yard and driveway. We don't even have a foot of snow yet but it all came down on the days preceding Christmas.

  10. Hey Deb, I did read that at the beginning. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. :D

    Thanks for the kind words, Deb. I try not to give anything away that would spoil it for the reader.

    And although I did win Missy's first book online, I've paid for the last 2 with my own money. Like I said, I'll stand in line for her books.

  11. You're right, Jill, I've met up with her twice now at ACFW conf and she's a wonderful, gracious lady with a smile and hug for everyone.

  12. Anita Mae, thanks for the wonderful review! What a great, late Christmas present!! :)

    I've been offline a couple of days, doing like some of you-- taking kids to spend Christmas money. :) Trying to get some bargains. But man, what crowds!! We could hardly park at the mall yesterday.

    Thanks for everyones' kind comments! I'm thankful for each of you! And I hope you have a happy new year


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