I recently read The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson. I have to admit that I love Christmas stories. This book wasn’t so much a romance novel as a cute Christmas story. The author’s style reminded me a lot of the Mitford Series, if you are familiar with those books.
The main character of the novel is the preacher’s wife in a small town of Christmas Valley that was built around a logging mill. When the mill shut down the town leaders decided to make the town a Christmas destination as a way to draw tourists to the town to keep it economically alive. After several years of everything focused on Christmas the members of the town have become a bit disenchanted with the entire Christmas season and solely focused on the consumerism side. Edith, the pastor’s wife and operator of a bed-and-breakfast, is facing her first Christmas without children present and decides to open up the Inn to guests for the first time. Edith imagines a perfect Christmas with perfect guests and ends up instead with a crazy old lady named Myrtle, a fighting couple, a single mother with daughter and a reclusive old man as guests. To top it all off, a tack 1970’s bus pulls up and the couple who live in it ask if they can park the bus in front of her Inn. Taking one look at the extremely pregnant wife, Edith agrees to let them park there until they can get the bus fixed. Pretty soon Edith is regretting all her Christmas decisions; the mayor doesn’t like the bus being parked where tourists can see it, Myrtle causes problems with everyone in the town, and Edith’s favorite Christmas angel figurine goes missing.
This story was a feel-good Christmas story. Some of the plot was pretty predictable but sometimes I need to be reminded of the real reasons for Christmas and what the Christmas spirit really is. I love reading Christmas stories before Christmas but I have learned, the hard way, that I have to double check copyright dates of Christmas stories because publishers have a tendency to re-release the same stories every year with new covers.
The book was a quick read and is available for free at Amazon.com for the Kindle and I recommend it.