The Christmas Angel by Jane Maas was a perfect little one night read.
Maas opens her story with Owen Thomas in 1875 Wales. Sure that he's found the woman he wants to spend his life with, he carves her a beautiful wooden angel, who will be the crowning glory of their Christmas tree. The Thomas family tree is always outside - 'where it can look up to God."
But Owen's plans don't turn out the way he had hoped. Maas moves the story of The Christmas Angel to the next generation of the Thomas family, seeing us through five generations and the return of the Christmas Angel to her home.
I enjoyed the historical figures and their stories the most. I think I could have quite happily lived in simpler times. It's a nice reminder in these busy times that it's not always what you can buy, but instead time spent with loved ones and family traditions, that are truly memorable. I found myself stopping to think about our traditions as I was reading. Each of the generations has their own chapter, connecting to the next until the end serendipitously meets the beginning.
Maas weaves a lovely, sentimental tale of family, fate and love that will warm your heart on a cold winter's night. Fans of Debbie Macomber and Richard Paul Evans would enjoy tale. (Note that there are religious tones and views to this story.) Read an excerpt of The Christmas Angel. You can find Jane Maas on Facebook.
One of the traditions of the Thomas family was baking cookies - lots and lots of cookies - "enough to
last until Easter." One of my family's favourite cookie recipes are 'Aunt Jessie's cookies'. Now I'm sure these are known by a number of other names, but I love them because they're quick, easy, delicious and freeze well.
All you'll need is a bag of butterscotch baking chips, a bag of semi-sweet chocolate baking chips, chow mein noodles and some salted, skin-on spanish peanuts. Melt the baking chips together over a double boiler, then quickly stir in the noodles and peanuts. Spoon on to a wax covered baking sheet, refrigerate and ta-da! Yep, that simple. The picture doesn't really do them justice - they are quite good - and addictive.
Here's a recipe for one of the cookies made in The Christmas Angel - Jammie Dodgers.
And thanks to the lovely folks at Thomas Dunne Books, I have a copy of The Christmas Angel to giveaway! Simply leave a comment to be entered. U.S. only. This one's short and sweet -ends Dec 15/13.