Christmas Stories to Warm Your Heart, by Karen M. Conrad (2010, ISBN: 978-0-9865779-0-1)
Christmas Stories to Warm Your Heart is a collection of short stories that Karen M. Conrad has written each year for the ladies in her Sunday school class. They’re designed to be read aloud, and sure to bring good feelings and a few chuckles.
The book is available in paperback, but also can be purchased as a series of three audio cds. With the strong narrator feel, I think listening to the stories would be a lot of fun.
I really enjoyed this book. Any tears it prompted were the “touching” kind and not from sadness. The stories lifted my spirits and helped ease me into the Christmas season.
An extra delight for me is that most of the 14 stories are set in my own Canadian province, Nova Scotia. One is set in Newfoundland and one farther afield. They’re mostly rural or small-town, peopled with believable and mostly lovable characters.
The stories can be about the young, the in-between or the old, about family dynamics, loneliness, good deeds or good old-fashioned shenanigans. They’re teaching-oriented, but they’re real enough to support the lesson. I liked them all, but my favourite is the final story, “The Blessing”.
I’d be remiss not to point out that Christmas Stories to Warm Your Heart could have used more editing for punctuation. If you can’t stand seeing an apostrophe out of place, you’d get a lot more out of the audio version. The layout is nice, though, and easy to read.
All proceeds from sales of the book will go to Camp Peniel, a Christian camp and retreat centre in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. Camp Peniel began in the early 1960’s.