Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Christmas Table - Fiction Review

 Goodreads:  The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: In June 1972, John Creighton determines to build his wife Joan a kitchen table. His largest project to date had been picture frames but he promises to have the table ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Inspired to put something delicious on the table, Joan turns to her mother's recipes she had given to Joan when she and John married.

In June 2012, Lauren Mabrey discovers she's pregnant. Gloria, Miriam, and the rest of her friends at Glory's Place begin to pitch in, helping Lauren prepare their home for the baby. On a visit to the local furniture builder, Lauren finds a table that he bought at a garage sale but has recently refinished. Once home, a drawer is discovered under the table which contains a stack of recipe cards. Growing up in one foster home after another, Lauren never learned to cook and is fascinated as she reads through the cards. Personal notes have been written on each one from the mother to her daughter and time and again Lauren wonders where they lived, when they lived, and in a strange way, she feels connected to this mother and her daughter and wants to make the mother proud.

The story continues to from 1972 to 2012 as Joan battles breast cancer and Lauren learns to cook, preparing for the baby's arrival. As Christmas nears, can Lauren unlock the mystery of the table, and find the peace she's always longed for?

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I have enjoyed some of the previous books by this author and this one sounded like one I'd enjoy.

My Impression:  This book is a bit like a Hallmark movie in the best possible way.  It was sweet and entertaining and I knew that everything would work out the way I wanted it to.  What makes this even better then a Hallmark movie for me is that I'm so connected to these characters.  I love Lauren and Travis, Glory, Miriam, and all the other characters in the community and catching up on them was so sweet.  Lauren has had a tough time of it and to see her in the middle of a community is just delightful.

This is a dual timeline story and the format really worked.  When Lauren, nervous about life changes and uncertain in her ability to create a home since she has so little experience, finds the recipes she's immediately drawn in and those recipes prove the connection between her and a woman named Joan in 1972.  I loved the stories on the recipes and the story of each of the women.  As many as you know, my 10 year old son is currently battling Leukemia (which is a much better diagnosis then what poor Joan has and they know so much more now then they did then) and I did struggle a bit with Joan's story.   While I was more emotional reading Joan's story then I would have been without my current experience it didn't feel like it was exploiting emotions or sensationalizing anything.  It was handled sensitively and it was overall a story of hope.  All of VanLiere's books have a Christian element in them and it seemed especially strong in this one.  It fit the storyline and I didn't find it preachy but if that content bothers you then you may want to give this a miss.

This was a sweet Christmas story of hope and community that was just what I needed right now.   

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I enjoy her Christmas books every year and will pick up the next one without

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you are looking for a sweet feel good story to start off the holiday mood this is a good one!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Like a Hallmark movie... Wha ha ha!! I soooo understand what you are saying. I only do Hallmark over Christmas time. Normally starting end of November. Hopefully this one will be turned into a Hallmark movie soon. Sounds sweet!

    Hope you guys are having a good week.

    Elza Reads

  2. Great review! I love Hallmark movies and think I would love this book too.

  3. Good that you enjoyed it. Funny I read one of her books and it was a bit too "sweet" for me who always loves a happy ever after. So I haven't read anything more by her.

  4. I love this type of book. I have to add it to my list.

  5. This does sound like a nice read. I can understand how it could be rather emotional for you as well.

  6. I wish we had the Hallmark channel but I am looking forward to watching the Christmas movies on Netflix this year. I created a December shelf on GR to remind me.