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Finding Father Christmas    by Robin Jones Gunn order for
Finding Father Christmas
by Robin Jones Gunn
Order:  USA  Can
Faithwords, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

Miranda Carlson's personality was formed by her actress mother Eve and the wardrobe seamstress Doralee, who took small Miranda into her home when Eve died. Eve taught her not to trust anyone and Doralee taught her that maybe there is a higher power somewhere in the universe.

Miranda learned to rely only upon herself. The birth certificate she found in her mother's belongings listed the name Jay Ames as Miranda's father. Doralee and Miranda decided Jay Ames must be an actor. Who else would be in contact with actress Eve Carlson? Several aborted attempts to find her father made Miranda ambivalent about the man who fathered her and left her. But she is intrigued by the weathered play bill that Doralee found. It shows where Eve was appearing exactly nine months before her daughter was born.

And that picture of the crying boy and Father Christmas has the name of a photography studio on the back along with an address. A few clicks of the computer and Miranda is off to England to find Father Christmas, the man in the photograph. She arrives in England on Christmas Eve as the snow is falling on the picturesque street, only to find the photography studio has been replaced by a tea room. After that, events take a strange turn that leave Miranda breathless.

Miranda's search for Father Christmas is rewarded in more ways than one. Her adventures in finding Father Christmas give her a better understanding of her mother. She encounters an English family willing to share Christmas with her, one she desperately wants to be a part of. She finally understands that her mother truly loved her in spite of their gypsy lifestyle. She learns about trust and forgiveness and in the beautiful English church on Christmas morning, Miranda finds God.

The story seemed a bit contrived as Miranda found the street she was looking for, then people who took her in. Snow just happened to fall to keep her with the family through Christmas day. And the people she met just happened to recognize her features as belonging to someone they knew. But, all in all, Finding Father Christmas is a comfortable holiday read.

2nd Review by Melissa Parcel:

Twenty-eight year old Miranda Carson has traveled from San Francisco to a small town in England over the Christmas holidays. Her mother, an actress who died many years before, left only a photograph as a clue to the identity of Miranda's father. Miranda hopes that by traveling to the location of the photography studio she will find someone who recognizes the man featured in the picture. What she finds is totally unexpected - a small town full of Christmas spirit, joy, and acceptance.

As the people she meets embrace her and invite Miranda to join in their holiday festivities, she uncovers information about the man she believes might be her father. Should she disrupt the idyllic lives of these wonderful people or continue to keep quiet about her quest? Could the father she is looking for actually be a heavenly father?

Finding Father Christmas is a sweet novella that will appeal to readers' sense of holiday coziness. The exquisitely detailed setting will put you right in the midst of the action - just as if you were sitting in the Tea Cosy shop with Miranda and the others. Miranda is a well-defined and described character. Her drive to discover the truth about her past is admirable, and that drive is tempered with humanity. Her encounter with the Lord is subtle, yet very touching.

The ending is not nice and neat and is left open to a sequel focusing on the romantic side of Miranda's life, planned for next Christmas. If you have ever looked for a birth parent, or longed for a real family during the holidays, then Finding Father Christmas is an excellent choice.

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