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Reviewed by Maria Stoica for Readers' Favorite
No one knew whether the miracles in Sutton, Massachusetts, were happening because of the Shafer miracle trees, but Papa Shafer believed they did and only to people who bought one of their Christmas trees. He only sold the trees to people who believed, people who had the light in their eyes. The Christmas Tree Keeper by Tamara Passey is a beautiful story about faith and love with a tad of pine scent. The Shafer Tree Farm, run by the Shafer family for nearly a century, is about to be passed down to Mark, Papa Shafer’s grandson. The young man would gladly take over the family business, but his girlfriend encourages him to sell the land and pursue his career in music since she doesn’t want to be around farm work. His doubts on selling increase, however, after he meets Angela and her daughter at the farm.
Angela, a single mother with a sharp, eight-year-old chatter-box is without a job and struggling with December's rent. She risks eviction just before the holidays, but she stoically bears her burden, trying to conceal it without much success from her all-seeing daughter. She promised her little one they would get a Christmas tree this year and when they go over to the Shafer tree farm, the miracles start happening from the cash register as someone had already paid for her tree. Both Mark and Angela’s faiths are put to the test as unusual events and coincidences start taking place in the days that follow, giving them a chance to make things right. Or are these opportunities miracles and are they really caused by the Shafer trees?
Lightly written and surprising are the words to best describe this novel. The skillfully built descriptions get the reader to feel the cozy environment of the small town of Sutton, and the dialogue is clever and well timed. The story flows on two narrative threads belonging to Angela and Mark’s perspectives. These characters’ mental remarks written in italics throughout the story are an added bonus to the reading experience since they emphasis the authenticity and humor of this book. I would recommend The Christmas Tree Keeper by Tamara Passey to anyone who could use a little slowing down in life’s rush.