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Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story
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Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  51 reviews
For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Melody Carlson comes, Jacob's Bell, a heartwarming Christmas story about how an unlikely friendship between an old man and a little girl saved a family.

Sometimes the road to forgiveness and restoration can be a rocky one. Set in Chicago and Baltimore in 1944 with flashbacks to the 1920s, Jacob's Bell follows Jacob MacCallum on his ardu
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by FaithWords
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  134 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: Carol CT tbr
This is a sweet simply written Christian Christmas story set in the 1940s that can be read in an afternoon if you are a fast reader. I found it heartwarming and life affirming. There were several issues, however, that kept me from rating it higher. Most importantly, there is too much tell and not enough show during some of the more critical portions of the story, especially during Jacob’s transformation. Secondly, there are three people named Robert in the story, which confused me into wondering ...more
Deanne Patterson
I wish I could give this book 10 stars! Not until I was done with this book did I realize the author of this book is also the author of The Golden Ring, another absolutely amazing book!
This book brought me to tears and has an incredibly important lesson in it we should all take away from it. When Jacob is a young man he is full of life and goes into business half and half with his friend. The business is wildly successful and Jacob is living the high life. He marries and starts a family with his
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Jacob MacCallum is an old homeless drunk, who is estranged from his children in 1944. He wants to repair his relationship with his children and is trying to figure out how. What did Jacob do that has put him at odds with his children and what can he do to win them back? Set mainly in 1944, Jacob's story is told in a simple, narrative style, using flashbacks. Details of his choices and hard living show us a selfish young man who could not deal with the stresses in his life. He chose the easy road ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story is a wonderful and heartwarming story. I loved it and I give it five stars. I recommend it for anyone’s Christmas reading list. ...more
Karen R
A touching story centered around one man's redemption and need for forgiveness.
Jacob's tale is one many may relate to as he wrestles with the past and searches for a way back to restore relationships he has ruined. Set mainly in 1944, his story is told in a simple, narrative style, using flashbacks. Details of his choices and hard living give way finally in the light of his redemption, and the tale takes a hopeful turn. It brought me to tears, which surprised me, but knowing we are all in need
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Christmas stories
Recommended to Dawn by: My Mom
A beautiful Christmas story about redemption and forgiveness. This story was emotional and touching, a perfect book for the holiday season. This story made me think of my Dad. He always made sure to put money in the Salvation Army kettles during the Christmas season.
This is the first book I have read by this author. I read some good reviews on his book The Golden Ring. I was able to find it on Amazon and I am anxiously waiting for it to be delivered.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacob’s Bell is a heartwarming tale of redemption and forgiveness just in time for the Christmas season. Jacob MacCallum is an old homeless drunk and he is estranged from his children in 1943. He wants to have a relationship with his children and is trying to figure out how. What did Jacob do that has put him at odds with his children and what can he do to win them back?

I really enjoyed the story of Jacob’s Bell. I liked how the story pealed back the layers to the back story of Jacob’s life and
Shirley Chapel
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All readers
Recommended to Shirley by: Reviews on Goodreads
Jacob McCallum had it all. Partner in a very successful business. Beautiful wife and three children. Lived in a nice house in an upscale neighborhood. In spite of all these things the demands of the business soon became too much for him. He began to drink alcohol to relieve the pressure. He soon started to hang out with all the wrong people. Before he knew it he'd lost everything he had.
For twenty long years he was homeless and drifted from town to town. He worked just enough to earn money for
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't imagine being penniless and living on the streets, not knowing anyone. Yet, Jacob McCallum in Jacob's Bell is that homeless person. He lived a hard life and made a lot of mistakes that led to his homelessness and loneliness. Those mistakes haunt him now and he feels badly about them as he has grown older. Jacob struggles to make changes in his life and to find his adult children to seek their forgiveness and to make amends. Throughout the book, Jacob is searching in more ways than he rea ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Jacob's Bell" is one of the best Christmas books I have read this holiday season. It is well written and will bring meaning to your life. I was brought to tears as I finished this book because of the lessons I learned from this book. Themes of forgiveness and second chances abound in this book. While Jacob has made plenty of mistakes and has had plenty of opportunities to make them right, this book will teach you that every second is a precious gift, you shouldn't take peo
Rating 4.5

This is the story of Jacob McCallum who has hit rock bottom in life. Through a series of events, Jacob finds transformation, forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. A little girl and a Christmas miracle while he is ringing a Salvation Army bell restore the life he thought was lost to him forever.

Although this was slow through the first half as Jacob remembers his life before and what he has become, I did enjoy how Howard Angel became an angel to Jacob as he stood by him through thick
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacob once had everything: a good, lucrative business, a trusted partner, a loving wife, three wonderful children and a firm place in his community as a leader. Then he lost it and sank into depths he never realized before existed. In this story, we find Jacob coming out of his current misery. Jacob wants to make everything right again, apologizing for all the wrongs he committed and making things right again. Lucky for him, he comes across a pastor from the local Salvation Army, who works with ...more
Nora St Laurent
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Forgiveness! That’s what the Christmas story is all about. Jesus took all our sins and came so that we’d be reconciled to our heavenly father. Forgiveness frees our soul and helps us love freely and not be caught up and trapped by unforgiveness. Our sin doesn’t define us but has a part in who we are today.

This novel takes place starting in 1944 while WWII was still raging. This story shows how there are little turns we can make that lead up to making one wrong move that can change your life fore
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jacob’s Bell by John Snyder has readers traveling to Chicago in September of 1944. Jacob McCallum is sixty-three years old and recently had a brush with death. He has been estranged from his children for over twenty years, and he now wants to make amends. At one time, Jacob was a wealthy businessman, with a loving wife and three kids. Then an accident changed his life and that of his family. Jacob has been traveling the country in an alcohol induced haze for the last ten years via freight trains ...more
Nadine Keels
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive."

After getting caught up with shady associates, underhanded business schemes, and far too much alcohol, Jacob lost his career and his beloved family. He's now in his sixties, collecting holiday donations for the Salvation Army, and his chance meeting with a little girl could lead to more heartache or to a miracle in Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story by author John Snyder.

When I skimmed the book blurb, I wasn't anticipating huge surp
For some reason, I forgot this was a novella when I began reading Jacob’s Bell. The visual of the freight train pulling into Chicago grabbed me and the description of Jacob, with hints of his past, pulled me in emotionally. Jacob had come home, but would he find the homecoming he was looking for? But a novella isn’t the same as a full length novel, and so portions of time are missed out and some detail is missing. But as the story rolled on, with its multiple perspectives, it was increasingly ea ...more
Peggy McAloon
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's perhaps once in a lifetime you read a book that moves you from the very depths of your soul to correct the wrongs you've suffered in life. Jacob's Bell is just such a book, filled with Christmas Love & Forgiveness.

John Snyder's book, Jacob's Bell, is about a man who brought unimaginable pain into the lives most precious to him.

Jacob McCallum is a man who has abandoned his children after the death of his wife. The guilt he suffers as a result of his part in her loss, drives him to the depths
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
jacob MacCallum had it all in the 1940s. He was a successful, well respected resident of Chicago. He had a wife, the woman of his dreams, and three wonderful children. Because he traveled a lot he began to drink to help with the loneliness. When his wife, Amanda took the children and left because of his drinking instead of changing he just got worse and then began to work with the local mob.

Now, he is out of prison and riding the rails. He has no money but the drink still calls to him. Then he d
Tiffany Hall
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacob's Bell

A wonderful Christmas story of faith, God's love, forgiveness, and second chances, Jacob's Bell, by John Snyder, will warm your heart this Christmas season.
Jacob lived a life most could only dream of with a successful business, friends, and family. Yet when bad decisions take away not only his business, but his best friend and family, he finds himself on a downward spiral heading no where good. After years of hating himself for all that he had done, Jacob meet an "Angel", a preache
This book is a perfect Christmas story. It’s all about forgiveness and redemption. This isn’t a book I couldn’t put down, but it is a book I looked forward to picking up after a long day.

Though the writing in this book is a bit cheesy at times, it fits the tone of a light Christmas novel. It’s not a difficult book to read, making it perfect for the crazy and stressful time of year. This is a great book to just curl up with and get lost in. It’s also not very long, so you could easily finish this
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacob McCallum was a miserable human being. At one time he had it all and lost it all. Now he is a bum with nothing.

Will the Salvation Army be able to lead him to the salvation of his life? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s lived the life of an alcoholic with nothing for many years, often just “riding the rails.”

His last goal in life is to find his adult children to ask for their forgiveness. Along the way he becomes a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. This becomes his joy in life. Especially when a litt
Jan 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: silly, predictable
Can I give it fewer stars than one? This was probably the most predictable book I've ever read. It was also a caricature of the "tell don't show" style of writing.
I would not have finished it except that it is for a book club I just joined. If this book is typical of the ones the club reads, I won't be in it for long.
The characters are unappealing and unlikely. The plot moves in implausible and unwieldy directions - for example, how Jacob went from hugely successful to a life on the streets - al
Susan Shipe
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I picked it up thinking I'd skim through it but before I knew it I was immersed in Jacob's story. I don't believe it is a true story but I'm sure it could be true of so many different people who have experienced the ministry of the Salvation Army.
The story is well written with depth of character and believable stories. I am glad it drew me in this holiday season. As we close the Thanksgiving holiday 2018 and open the drapes to Advent, Jacob's Star, is a reminder of what is tru
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful Christmas story!! This book is absolutely amazing. I have never had a book touch me like this one did, if we could only see things through the eyes of a child. A wonderful story about overcoming your past and seeking forgiveness from those who you hurt with God's help. I recommend you have a tissue handy when reading this book. This book deserves a lot more than 5 stars. I honestly think Jacob's Bell will be a new Christmas classic. Thank you FaithWords via NetGalley for the ARC ...more
Kelley Blair
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Jacob’s Bell is a story that comes full circle with forgiveness and redemption at the core. Set in the 40’s this time period lends the perfect backdrop to a touching message. Jacob’s journey will remain with me long after the last page has been read. If books set at Christmas time are a favorite this fills that niche. It has some of life’s hard knocks but love and family prevail. The paths we choose in life sometimes has painful consequences. Loved it.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was a wonderful story about mistakes, forgiveness,and new life in Christ. I enjoyed Jacob's story so much I didn't want to put it down. It had a great lesson about not giving up on people. So if you want to read a story that will bring fears to your eyes and remind you of God's love and forgiveness, I recommend this book. ...more
Gwen Van Amber
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! I love holiday stories. This story about forgiveness was excellent. The bible says a child will lead them, in this story that was true. I have always given to the challengers because my grandma and her children received a lot of help from the Salvation Army at a low point in their lives. Please read this novel,you'll come away encouraged. ...more
Mary Reed
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful Christmas story. I really enjoyed reading about Jacob and his bell. His story is a sad one that ends very happily. This is a book to read to put you in the Christmas spirit and to remind all of us that forgiveness is a great gift to give.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
What a wonderful story of forgiveness! God commands that we forgive each other because He knows how important it is to our own well-being. This story of Jacob, the bell ringer, is the perfect Christmas story.
Michelle Sweeten
Heartfelt story of a changed life and forgiveness

I really enjoyed getting to know Jacob, you couldn't help liking him even knowing his past. Not necessarily a page turner but well worth the time to read and easy to pick back up.
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John Snyder is the author of the bestseller The Golden Ring - A Christmas Story and a new Christmas Book, Jacob's Bell, due to be released by FaithWords/Hachette Book Group on October 2, 2018.

He is a member of the Authors Guild. Before retiring, he owned and operated an award-winning public relations/advertising/sports marketing firm in the Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC area for nearly twenty-five

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