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Monday, February 9, 2009

The Zebra in the Manger by Karen Hall

The Zebra in the Manger by Karen Hall
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Holiday
Length: Short (26 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Peony

Eleanor Hamilton's husband, Drew, had always called Christmas a magical time of year. Now, the tree is decorated, Christmas Eve church bells are tolling, and Drew has not come home. Couldn't the Foreign Office have sent another one of their spies on this dangerous mission? So far, Eleanor has been creative in her explanations to the children, but now her despair threatens to overwhelm her. When her daughter's whimsical story and a friend's legend give her a bit of hope, practical Eleanor must truly believe that Christmas is about the very best magic there is: love.

Karen Hall’s “The Zebra in the Manger” takes readers back to 1899 London, where a mother and her three children wait for their own Christmas miracle. Eleanor Hamilton’s husband is off on a mission to serve his country, one of the highest importance that could not be done by anyone else. He didn’t want to leave his family, especially just before the holidays, but when pressed he knew where his duty lay. Eleanor hasn’t heard from her husband in far too long and she worries that he is hurt—or worse. When her children voice their misgivings about whether or not Father will be home for Christmas, she swallows her own fears to reassure them.

A story of faith and miracles, filled with poignant moments that make the reader feel this little family’s situation, “The Zebra in the Manger” is a feel-good holiday tale. The secondary characters are just as endearing as the Hamilton family, and add depth to the short tale that makes it even more heartwarming. I enjoyed this story very much, and I believe others will, too.