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  • A Wreath of Snow
  • Written by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781400072170
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  • A Wreath of Snow
  • Written by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307729569
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A Victorian Christmas Novella

Written by Liz Curtis HiggsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Liz Curtis Higgs

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List Price: $9.99

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On Sale: October 02, 2012
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-307-72956-9
Published by : WaterBrook Press Religion/Business/Forum
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

 “A wonderful story of redemption and restoration that will warm your heart during the Christmas season—or any time of year!”
—Francine Rivers, best-selling author of Redeeming Love

Wrapped in a cloud of steam, the engine rolled to a stop, the screech of metal against metal filling the frosty air. Snow blew across the railway platform and around Meg’s calfskin walking boots. The weather definitely was not improving.

She ordered tea with milk and sugar, eying the currant buns and sweet mincemeat tarts displayed beneath a bell jar.
Later, perhaps, when her appetite returned. At the moment her stomach was twisted into a knot.

“Anything else for you?” the cashier asked as she handed over the tea, steaming and fragrant.

Meg was surprised to find her fingers trembling when she lifted the cup. “All I want is a safe journey home.”

“On a day like this?” the round-faced woman exclaimed. “None but the Almighty can promise you that, lass.”
 

“A Wreath of Snow glows with warmth, charm, and grace. A wonderful read.”
—BJ HOFF, author of The Riverhaven Years series

Christmas Eve 1894
 
All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home.
 
Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame.
 
When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together?
 
As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

Excerpt

Stirling, Scotland
24 December 1894

     In all her twenty-six years, Margaret Campbell had never been this cold. Shivering inside her green woolen coat, she passed the crowded shops of Murray Place as the snow fell thick and fast.
     She could only guess when the next train would depart for Edinburgh. Why had she not consulted her father’s railway schedule posted by the kitchen door? Because she left Albert Place in tears. Because she left without even saying good-bye.
     Meg lowered her chin lest a gust of wind catch the brim of her hat and wrench it from her head. Another minute and she would reach the corner. Two minutes more and—
     “Mind where you’re going, lass!”
     Startled, she nearly lost her balance on the icy pavement.
     “Beg pardon, Mr. Fenwick.”
     Her former schoolteacher, now bent with age, merely grunted in response.
     “I’m Miss Campbell,” she reminded him, knowing how many students had passed through his classroom door. “Have you heard that I’m a teacher now? In Edinburgh?”
     “Aye.” He stared at her for a moment, then tottered off without another word, the tip of his cane drawing a jagged pattern in the snow.
     Meg turned away, slightly stung by the elderly man’s rebuff. Perhaps Mr. Fenwick believed unmarried women should reside at home with their families. If so, he was not alone in his opinion. But he didn’t know what life was like beneath her parents’ roof. I tried to stay, Mum. Truly I did.
     Gripping her leather satchel, Meg headed toward Station Road, glancing at the shop windows with their mounds of fresh oranges and brightly colored paper bells. Her two dozen students would be home by now, celebrating Christmas with their loved ones. Just picturing bright-eyed Eliza Grant holding up her chalk slate covered with numbers and Jamie McFarlane shouting out the alphabet with glee renewed Meg’s confidence. She was living in the right place and doing the work she was called to do, no matter what the Mr. Fenwicks of the world might think.
     The heavy snowfall muted the clatter of horses’ hoofs in the busy thoroughfare and washed every bit of color from the sky. Was it two o’clock? Three? She’d been so upset when she left her parents’ house that she hadn’t checked the watch pinned to her bodice or arranged for a carriage. Now she had to send for her trunk and hope it could be delivered to the railway station in time for her departure.
     She turned the corner and was relieved to see a host of arriving passengers pouring into the street. It seemed the trains were running despite the weather. Easing her pace to manage the downward slope, Meg held out one hand, prepared to grasp a hitching post—or a stranger’s elbow, if need be.
     Few pedestrians were moving in the direction she was. Instead, they were flowing upward into the town. Gentlemen returning home from the city, cousins gathering for Christmas, young scholars toting ice skates instead of books—all were tramping up snowy Station Road with joy on their faces. Guilt, as sharp as the wintry wind, swept over Meg. Her
parents had looked anything but joyful when she’d quit Albert Place. Her brother, Alan, was the reason she’d left, yet Meg had hurt her father and mother all the same. “Forgive me,” she whispered, wishing she’d said those words earlier.
     For two long years she’d avoided a visit home, praying time might dislodge the bitterness that had taken root in her brother’s heart. But when she’d arrived in Stirling last evening, she’d discovered the sad truth. Alan Campbell, four years her junior, was even more churlish and demanding than she’d remembered and greedy as well, a new and unwelcome affliction.      His parting words would follow her back to Edinburgh—to Thistle Street, to Aunt Jean’s house, to her house. “What a selfish creature you are, Meg.” She flinched even now, remembering the cruel look on her brother’s face and the sharpness of his tone. “You could have sold the house Aunt Jean gave you and shared the earnings with your family.”
     You mean with you, Alan.
     Meg lifted the hem of her coat and stepped with care through the slush and dirt the horse-drawn carriages left behind. She could hardly deny Alan’s needs were greater than her own. But when she’d moved to Edinburgh to care for their late aunt, wrapping her aching limbs with compresses and feeding her bowls of hot soup, Meg had never imagined Aunt Jean would choose to bless her only niece with the gift of her town house.
     “Father should have been her heir,” Alan had insisted. Aunt Jean’s will, written in her neat hand, stated otherwise.
Over the midday meal Meg’s conversation with her brother had deteriorated into thinly veiled accusations on his part and tearful denials on hers, until she could bear no more. To be treated so unkindly, and on Christmas Eve! Her parents had tried to intervene, but Alan’s temper was not easily managed. Their patience with him was a testimony to their Christian charity. And to their love, though Meg wondered if guilt did not play an equal role.
     Meg wove through the crowd and kept her head down lest someone recognize her and draw her into a discussion. Much as it grieved her, she had no polite banter to offer, no cheerful holiday sentiments. By tomorrow her mood would surely brighten. Just now she wished to tend her wounds in private. She stepped across the threshold into the railway station and brushed off the snow that clung to her coat, glad to be out of the wind. Inside the nearby booking office a cast-iron stove glowed with heat, steaming up the windows. But in the waiting area and across the broad, open platform, winter prevailed. Holly wreaths, their crimson berries bright against the dark green leaves, decorated the painted iron pillars supporting the roof. Everyone’s arms were filled with packages, as if Saint Nicholas had already come and gone.
     Meg glanced at the clock mounted below the arched ceiling, then scanned the departure times posted for the Caledonian Railway. The southbound line, which stopped at Larbert, Falkirk, and Linlithgow en route to Edinburgh, departed at three twenty-six. Little more than an hour remained to collect her baggage.
     When a middle-aged porter lumbered past, bearing a trunk far larger than her own, Meg hurried after him. “Sir, might I engage your services?” As he swung around with an expectant look on his face, she paused, her resolve flagging. How might her family respond when a porter asked for her belongings? Her mother would surely burst into tears. And her brother? He would probably want the contents of her trunk tossed into the street.
     Determined not to lose heart, Meg reached for the small coin purse inside her satchel. “I’ve a single trunk to be transported from Albert Place onto the next train bound for Edinburgh,” she told the porter. She then informed him of the address and offered enough silver to guarantee his cooperation.
     “I know the house, miss.” The coins disappeared into his pocket. “Soon as I deliver this trunk, I’ll see to yours.”
     She sent him on his way, glancing up at the clock, hoping he would catch her meaning. Hurry, hurry.
     The queue at the booking window was blessedly short. Before she could join the handful of outbound travelers waiting to purchase tickets, a small dog appeared and began nipping at the hem of her coat. “Aren’t you a fine wee pup?” she murmured, bending down to stroke the young terrier. Even through her gloves she could feel his wiry coat and the light nip of his teeth as he playfully turned his head this way and that.
     Above the din floated a high, reedy voice. “Can it be Miss Campbell come back at last?”
     Edith Darroch. Of all the gossips in Stirling, she took the prize.
      Meg slowly rose to face the woman, who served up savory news and idle rumors like a hostess offering scones and jam. Though Edith’s hair had faded to the color of ashes, her eyes were bright with interest.
     “Mrs. Darroch,” Meg said. “Are you bound for Alloa to spend Christmas with your son?”
     “Indeed not.” The older woman gave her terrier’s leash a swift tug. “Johnny is returning home for the holidays, as any loving child should do. I expect him on the next train.” After a cursory glance about the station, she asked, “Is your family not here to greet you?”
     The question pierced Meg’s heart. Her parents had met her train last evening. But on this bitterly cold afternoon, she was very much on her own.
Liz Curtis Higgs

About Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs - A Wreath of Snow

In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God’s grace anew.
 
Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Dinah, Ruth, and Naomi to eighteenth-century Scotland, also have invited readers to view these familiar characters in a new light. Now, with The Girl’s Still Got It, Liz offers a twenty-first century take on the book of Ruth, dishing out meat and milk, substance and style, in a highly readable, always entertaining, and deeply personal journey with one of the Good Girls of the Bible.
 
Liz is the author of nearly 30 books, with more than 3 million copies in print. Her popular nonfiction books include Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, Rise and Shine, and Embrace Grace.

She’s also a best-selling novelist, creating both contemporary and historical fiction, including her latest award-winning novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night. And she’s written five books for young children, including Go Away, Dark Night.
 
Her children’s Parable Series received a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion for Excellence, her nonfiction book Embrace Grace won a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, and her novel Whence Came a Prince received a 2006 Christy Award for Best Historical Novel. Here Burns My Candle was named 2010 Best Inspirational Romance by Romantic Times Book Reviews, and her 2011 novel, Mine Is the Night, was a New York Times bestseller.
 
Liz was also an award-winning columnist for Today’s Christian Woman for ten years. Additional articles by Liz have appeared in Faith&Friends in Canada, WomanAlive in Great Britain, and Enhance in Australia. And more than 4,500 churches nationwide are using her video Bible study series, Loved by God.

A gifted professional speaker, known by her audiences as An Encourager®, Liz has presented more than 1,600 inspirational programs in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries, including Israel, Thailand, Portugal, and Indonesia. When the National Speakers Association honored her with their Council of Peers Award for Excellence, Liz became one of only thirty-five women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame. Her alma mater, Bellarmine University, presented her with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005, and she received an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown College in 2010.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines, as well as on Salon.com, Beliefnet.com, Spirituality.com, HopeforWomenMag.com, Kyria.com, and many other websites. She has been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MS•NBC, NPR, TBN, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Shine TV New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, Focus on the Family, Life Today, 100 Huntley Street, and Midday Connection on the Moody Network.

On the personal side, Liz is married to Bill Higgs, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking and writing office. Liz and Bill enjoy their old Kentucky home, a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville, and are the proud (and relieved!) parents of two college grads, Matthew and Lillian. Visit Liz’s Web site: www.LizCurtisHiggs.com.

Praise

Praise

Praise for A Wreath of Snow
 
“I loved it. A Wreath of Snow is a wonderful story of redemption and restoration that will warm your heart during the Christmas season—or any time of year!”
—Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love

“When A Wreath of Snow arrived at my doorstep, I settled down to read just a few lines and instead devoured it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys heart-tugging stories of forgiveness and grace.”
—Tracie Peterson, author of the Land of the Lone Star series

“A delightful Christmas jaunt through bonny Scotland in the Victorian era—complete with snow! I was drawn in by compelling characters who struggle to find love, joy, and belonging, only to discover the real meaning of Christmas. A heartwarming story!”
—Melody Carlson, author of Christmas at Harrington’s

A Wreath of Snow charms from first page to last, and Gordon and Meg will capture your heart. The story might even make you long for snow. Don’t miss this delightful novella. It’s a keeper!”
—Robin Lee Hatcher, author of Betrayal

“Journey to a time and place where hearth, home, and honesty are the gifts beneath the candlelit Christmas tree. You’ll find yourself lingering in the glow of this winsome tale that brims with comfort and joy.”
—Robin Jones Gunn, author of Finding Father Christmas

“I look for a richly textured story that draws me in and lets me become a part of its world. Liz Curtis Higgs has once again provided that kind of beautifully written and thoroughly involving story. A Wreath of Snow glows with warmth, charm, and grace. A wonderful read.”
—BJ Hoff, author of The Riverhaven Years series

“Like a perfect afternoon tea, A Wreath of Snow is sure to comfort, delight, and surprise. It offers the savory rewards of repentance tendered and forgiveness received, the liquid warmth of family affections, and a perfectly delicate setting in Victorian Scotland. A charming Christmas read.”
—Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

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