Appointment at Christmas Bay, by Diane Chase

Appointment at Christmas BayBOOK DESCRIPTION:  Juliette Prescott intends to spend the summer at her parents' historic home in Galveston tending to her art history dissertation and September wedding details. What she doesn't plan is the minor accident at Christmas Bay or the miracle that follows. Imbued with new faith, Juliette must decide what...and who...stay in her revised life, including sport fisherman Paul Quinn who helped rescue her that day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Diane Chase is a Christian author and teacher who lives among family, friends, and various pets in Texas. Appointment at Christmas Bay is her first novel.

MY THOUGHTS:   You never quite know what you'll get when downloading a self-published ebook.  Sometimes there are really obvious reasons a book wasn't picked up by a major publisher, but every now and then, you find a delightful little surprise hiding in the bargain bin at Amazon.  That's what happened to me with Christmas Bay.

This is a delightful little story about a young lady who can't fathom why God would choose to work a miracle in her life, but gratefully accepts his gift.  As she ponders the new realization that there is, in fact, a God, she must reconcile that knowledge with her current situation, which includes an unbelieving fiance, friends, and parents.  With her eyes open to the possibilities her new faith brings, she finds a spiritual family and reevaluates the road she's headed down.

Despite that the love plot wasn't overt, I would still classify this as a romance.  There were hints at a possible connection from the beginning chapter, and we quickly learn that our heroine has some choices to make about her love life.  Although I suspected the ending, it wasn't the main thrust of the story, and I enjoyed all the sub-plots along the way.

One of the things I most liked about the book was that every step wasn't spelled out.  Sometimes the author skipped ahead and left me to imagine the details of how a particular meeting went, or what was said between characters.  This helped the book avoid the all-too-common superficiality of stories where the author feels he must spoon feed me every action.

I felt that Juliette's struggles were well-portrayed, the reactions from her friends and family realistic, and the questions she asked in her spiritual growth valid.  I highlighted several lines that spoke to me directly, spiritual truths that I can't share with you lest I spoil the ending.  But I identified with the themes of trust, faith, miracles, and determination.

I look forward to reading more from this author and hope she continues to share her wisdom through pertinent fiction such as Appointment at Christmas Bay.

PARENTAL RATING:  PG.  There are great lessons in this book for teens, including the context of sex within marriage, loving your neighbor, making God a priority in every part of your life, and dealing with hypocrisy without losing your faith.  I will definitely be sharing this book with my teen girls. I appreciate that this romantic fiction provides a solid heroine setting a good example, without crossing the lines of what I consider appropriate for teens to read.  A rare find.

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