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Review | Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past


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Her first-ever holiday novella, Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past brings back her most popular characters, Nora Bonesteel and Spencer Arrowood, in a heartwarming story of a ghost of Christmas past and a felon of Christmas present.

The book finds Nora happy to see some life brought back to the old Honeycutt mansion, even if it is by “summer people.” But when her new neighbors decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.

On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home.

In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, McCrumb revisits the mountains we call home, the folk we call family, and a familiar message that there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at Christmastime.

Hott Review:

What I liked: Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past is completely outside of my normal reading genre, but the synopsis was so compelling that I couldn’t pass it up. I found this novella to be thoroughly encompassing. It was fun while still emotional. There was a lot of history contained in this book and was so interesting I needed to look up pictures too!
What I didn’t like: The only thing I found confusing was that the book switched between two stories. At times, it took a moment or two to catch up – but that could just have been me.



Author: Sharyn McCrumb
Grade: B+
Steam: Nada
Setting: Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Series: A Ballad Novella

Praise for Sharyn McCrumb and her previous bestselling Ballad novels:

“Ms. McCrumb writes with quiet fire and maybe a little mountain magic….She plucks the mysteries from people’s lives and works these dark narrative threads into Appalachian legends older than the hills. Like every true storyteller, she has the Sight.” —The New York Times Book Review

“There are few writers today who are able to blend past and present, tradition and law, legends and headlines in a wholly credible fashion—Tony Hillerman springs inevitably to mind. Sharyn McCrumb is another; her widely acclaimed Ballad series is one of the finest being written today.” —Bookpage

“McCrumb provides fresh evidence that there is no one quite like her among present-day writers. No one better, either.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“True to the language and culture of its time and place…the Ballad series could be headed for bestsellerdom.” —Library Journal

“With fluid writing and sensitive telling, McCrumb presents her Appalachian series as perfectly as dogwood in the spring.” —Houston Chronicle

Author Bio:

Sharyn McCrumb is the New York Times bestselling author of The Rosewood Casket, The Ballad of Tom Dooley, and many other acclaimed novels.

Her much-loved Ballad novels weave together the legends, natural wonders and contemporary issues of Appalachia, also home to McCrumb’s own family legacy. Readers have come to love the characters, mountains, and mystery brought to life by the award-winning Southern writer.

McCrumb tributes her gift of storytelling to her great-grandfathers who were circuit preachers in the Smoky Mountains 100 years ago, riding horseback over the ridges to preach in different communities each week.

Her novels, studied in universities throughout the world, have been translated into 11 languages. She has lectured at Oxford University, the University of Bonn-Germany, and at the Smithsonian Institution; taught a writers workshop in Paris, and served as writer-in-residence at King College in Tennessee and at the Chautauqua Institute in New York.

She lives and writes in the Virginia Blue Ridge, less than 100 miles from where her family settled in 1790 in the Smoky Mountains that divide North Carolina and Tennessee.

Websites & Links: http://noraisback.com/ twitter facebook


Thank you to Abingdon Press and PR by the Book for generously offering this book to me for review.

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