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Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite
Christmas Charity by Susan G Mathis is set in the late 1800s; a story about an arranged marriage between Susan Hawkins, a 23-year-old young woman, and an older widower named Patrick O'Neill. Susan is a teacher and lives at home with her parents and siblings in Canada. She is all but wrenched from her island home and teaching job, both of which she adores, to relocate to a large farm in Cape Vincent in New York. Her new husband brings with him a young daughter from a previous marriage. Unfortunately, the young girl is less than pleased with her father's new bride and does not make life easy for the couple. Susan has to draw on every ounce of Christian charity to deal with the youngster but can she win her around?
Mathis provides a well-crafted Christmas novel for those of us who enjoy a good old-fashioned family drama. This is a truly delightful and heartfelt story describing the trials and tribulations of a new young wife who marries a man she barely knows. I enjoyed the gentle tone and the strong moral thread running throughout. Although set in times past, many of the social issues in the story remain pertinent today. There was an insightful glimpse into the problems of being a stepmother. At one point Susan tells the child, "And you did well not to lie. We never lie, even if it's for a good reason ..." which was lovely. Christmas Charity is a heartfelt, feel-good tale with a Christian theme that will entertain all ages, not only during the festive period but also throughout the whole year.