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24 October 2011

A Christmas Journey Home - Review

I'm back from 'The Festival of Romance' and will post a summary and some pictures later this week.  Today I'm  pleased to be able to review this lovely book on my blog today. It may be a little early for Christmas but may I suggest this book as 'Inspiration'. It's a truly enjoyable story for any time of year and one that will stay in your mind long after you've read it. 

During Isabella Alcantara's seventh month of pregnancy, her parents and siblings are murdered in gang and drug related violence, simply because their home was targeted by mistake. Isabella knows she was spared only because she now lives in a different location, but she knows too that the same thing could easily happen to her and her husband, Francisco. When her grandfather offers to hire her a "coyote" to bring then across the border to America, she agrees. But Francisco and Isabella are abandoned by the coyote and left to die. Francisco then valiantly sacrifices himself to get Isabella to safety. Homeless, nearly penniless, pregnant, and alone, Isabella determines to find a way to honor her promise to her beloved husband. 

Living on one of the smaller spreads along the Arizona border, Miriam Nelson becomes furious with God and turns from her faith when her border patrol agent husband, David, is killed in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Though her mother and young son do their best to woo her back from the anger and bitterness that have overtaken her, they make little headway.

Two widows-one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge-must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn full of animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.

A Christmas Journey Home by Kathi Macias is a deeply moving and thought provoking story of two women in very different circumstances but who have one thing in common - they each mourn the loss of their beloved husband – and they both have problems with their lack of Faith in God. 

Isabella Alcantara is left all alone in a strange country, pregnant and an illegal immigrant, after her husband is killed.  

Having given  his life savings to a ‘coyote’ who was supposed to lead her and her husband safely across the border, but who abandoned them instead, her grandfather, Don Alfredo prays daily to God, for their safety. For him, God is a very real presence and comfort. 

Isabella wishes she could have the same strong Faith Don Alfredo has, and which her husband also shared, but she finds it hard to trust in a merciful God when her entire family, and now her beloved husband, have been killed. Close to giving birth, with nowhere to go and no-one to help her, she finally makes her way to a barn, where she finds a corner to hide, near the horses, animals which she loves and has an affinity with.

Miriam Nelson has a young son to raise, alone, supported only by her mother whose failing health is cause for concern. She struggles to run their small farm and tend to the animals, including the horses which she is not entirely comfortable with, and feels are an unnessary expense, but which her son, Davey, loves as much as his father did. At times she feels the work is too much and wonders if she should to sell up and move to town Her anger at God, who, in her mind, allowed her husband to be taken from her, causes her to be impatient with her son, although she loves him deeply, and Davey himself is struggling to come to terms with the death of his father.

Kathi Macias takes us through a whole variety of emotions and feelings, love, hate, hope, despair, betrayal, denial, revenge - and finally trust and compassion. Both women learn to re-evaluate their fears and prejudices. 

This moving story addresses difficult issues, including that of illegal immigration, and teaches us not to be judgemental – things are not always as 'black and white' as they may seem.  The climax of the story reminds us of the true meaning of the Christmas Miracle – that it’s not about the tinsel and twinkling lights, turkeys and expensive presents, but the gift God gave us, his only son, a tiny baby lying in a manger.

This is a beautiful story, and I am very glad I had the opportunity to read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from 'Pump UpYour Book' but not in an effort to control the outcome of said review. No compensation has been paid or accepted and the review is my own, honest and personal opinion.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al. 

 Starquest *~* 'Children Of The Mist'(The sequel to Starquest) AVAILABLE HERE
(Also 'freeread' 'A Bargain with Death)
Dancing With Fate - available HERE