Book Review: Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

"Roasted chestnut latte? How can that be a bad thing?" (1) 

Title:  Restoring Christmas
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher:  Worth Inspired
Release Date:  October 18, 2016
Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction

Alexis has one chance to land her own show on the Heart-and-Home Network, and nothing–not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer–is going to stand in her way.

Elsie Raymond, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise.

Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and save Christmas memories from being lost forever?

How can one not love a book that starts off like that?  Truly, one cannot not love Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti. And when you add in the fact that I'm a professional interior designer? How can you pass on this story about how restoration of a home resolves to restoration of the soul? How? There's no way.

Let's talk about the characters. Elsie has a debilitating home that she can't let go. She's stuck in her ways in more ways than one. Will her sullenness and stubbornness prevent her heart from healing?
Alexis has something to prove, and much at stake for her project to succeed. Her reputation, her finances and unbeknownst to her, her heart is on the line when it came to Else's home. As a designer, I am more than sensitive when it comes to descriptive settings and Alexis' professionalism. And I have to admire the author for doing an authentic job in both areas.  I like Alexis, but she also gets to me in an annoying way. What makes her annoying is that I see myself in her at times, the cynicism, the self-righteousness and the challenges. Yet, her search for life, for healing and comfort in her projects may very well reflect what she search for in her own life.  And that's where Mr. George Langley, Gabe comes in. His charm and wisdom not only create a strange bridge between Alexis and Elsie, but provided a comfort zone for both women.

"Alice Through the Looking Glass in a world where sharp lines were wavy and the only men she'd met so far shared a warped sense of humor." (41) 
A sense of humor is right when it comes to Gabe.  This fellow with his boyish charms and freestyle persona may very well have a more sensitive and deep side to him. He is cute. Whenever he grace the scene, I can't help but smile.

For a novella, Restoring Christmas packs a great depth in the story and each of the characters. What we see as Elsie's home transforms before our eyes on the pages of this book, we also see how souls, broken, hurt or lost are restored. That dinner scene has that same quality as when I read A Christmas Carol for the first time and that final scene of Scrooge, a changed man brings joy to a family in need - heartwarming and radiating with joy. Restoring Christmas may seem to just be about the holidays, but we know what Christmas truly is - bringing the love that is our Jesus Christ to heal all wounds, save all souls and celebrate love.

When you pick up a book  by Cynthia Ruchti, there's a certain level of expectation. You expect it to not only be a good book, but a great book.  You expect every word to have its place in the story, and ultimately expect to arrive at the conclusion satisfied and fulfilled. I can honestly tell you, Restoring Christmas will satisfy all expectations, and possibly even exceed them for many.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.


Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

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