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I have been a fan of Eva Marie Everson’s since the late 1990s. I’ve read everything she’s written and have fallen in love with many of her characters. The Ornament Keeper is her first book for New Hope Publishers, adding yet another publisher and book to her accomplishments.
Everson wrote a strangely poignant Christmas novella. She uses flashbacks artfully as she takes her characters from Christmas season 2018 to Christmas season 1998 when they were first married. Felicia Morgan and her husband, Jackson, are estranged. As a result, she declares to her daughter that decorating for Christmas will not be happening this year. Her daughter persuades her to at least get a tree—that she and the two boys, Travis and Hank, can get the Fraser fir and string the lights.
With a heavy heart, Felicia brings down the Christmas ornaments. The first memory occurs as she unwraps the crèche Jackson bought for her Christmas 1999. That starts her on a journey of remembrance from their marriage in 1998—because Sara was on the way—to the present via the mechanism of each Christmas ornament Jackson gave her along the way.
The novella touches many topics every husband and wife will relate to from the blush of early marriage days to the flush of anger at perceived slights. As Christmases come and go, the anger and doubts become entrenched. Husband gets involved in work—wife with children. Conversation becomes minimal and only about necessities. Conflict stifles intimacy. Everson brings all of these to life wrapped in Christmas ornaments—the unhappy and the happy times.
I usually don’t like novellas because they’re too short and don’t allow for the nuances of character development. However, Eva Marie uses dialog with a flair to give us those clues. The Ornament Keeper is a keeper. Four stars.
Eva Marie Everson has many ornaments on her tree. She’s a best-selling, multiple award-winning author and speaker, serves as president of Word Weavers International, and co-directs the Florida Christian Writers Conference. She and her husband, Dennis, live in Central Florida.