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Selection Info & Discussion Guides

The Christmas Secret
By Donna VanLiere

When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love. Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she's often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she's forced to use. When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson's department store, the owner of Wilson's wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious "Christy." Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is "above" working at Wilson's. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for. The Christmas Secret is a novel for anyone who wants to see how love is a gift that keeps giving back; that hope is a treasure that never runs dry, and that faith is a miracle that is reborn with each new day.

Discussion Guide

Publisher's Discussion Guide

1. What are some of the emotions and feelings that paint Christine's life in the prologue and Chapters One and Two? What are Jason's emotions and feelings? How do they differ from Christine's? How are they the same?

2. How would you describe Marshall? Is Jason anything like him? Why are names so important to Marshall and so unimportant to Jason? Do you think Jason really cared that Judy was in the hospital?

3. Did Christine and Brad ever really love each other? What is it that drives Brad to intimidation and threats? When Christine has argued and fought with him again and she's alone with her thoughts, how do you think she feels? Should Christine's mother been more persistent about her not marrying Brad? Would that have made a difference?

4. At what point did the boulder in the road get insurmountable for Christine? What if Judy hadn't pursued finding "Christy"? Do you think the boulder would have remained in Christine's life or do you think others would have helped her move it? Can you name a boulder someone helped you move?

5. Why does Christine feel so comfortable around Gloria, Miriam and Betty and so uncomfortable around Tamara? What is a word to describe Gloria? A word for Miriam? Betty? Tamara? Can you name some differences between Gloria and Miriam and explain why they get along so well? Why does Christine pursue conversation with Tamara?

6. Jason often feels he can get by on charm alone. Which character provides the most resistance to this and how? In what ways does Jason change throughout the book? What prompts this change? Be specific.

7. What is it about Jason that attracts Christine to him? He's obviously younger and immature. What is it? In the same sense, why is Jason drawn to her? Why does Christine feel so stupid the moment he asks for "Christy"? How is their relationship similar to Gloria and her mystery man? Why does Christine feel sad when she learns of Gloria's suitor?

8. Is there a scene that stood out to you as the most poignant? Was there a scene that made you laugh? Which character was most heartbreaking to you? Why? Which character would you most like to have over for dinner?

9. How did the other gifts get in the back of Christine's car? Why didn't the author come right out and say how they got in there? Have you ever given a gift without recognition? How did that make you feel? Why do you think Gloria and Miriam just didn't give the gifts directly to Christine?

10. What is the secret of the treasure? Was there a character who most embodied the secret? Can you name a specific scene with that character? Why would you recommend this book to someone else?

Publisher's Discussion Guide

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