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Christmas at Harrington's

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  4,142 Ratings  ·  479 Reviews
Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life after false accusations landed her in prison, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can ...more
Kindle Edition, 167 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Revell
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Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must say that I am guilty of judging a book by its cover, when I saw the cover for Christmas at Harrington's I immediately felt like it was going to be an amazing Christmas story, on the cover you find yourself on a street of any small town in the USA, you have a smiling lady, dressed in a red coat peering into a store window with a display of a Christmas tree and toys snowflakes falling all around her, its just beautiful and depicts the holiday season perfectly.
In this story we are introduced
Mike (the Paladin)
Dec 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Let me be a little "non-PC" here. I believe that you'll enjoy this book more if you're a woman. There are few male characters at all...and most are pretty negative. Still lots of encouragement and in the end a positive outlook.

I'm a Christian and while I don't recommend getting a lot of your theology or Christian thought from most novels, still you can get some encouragement or thoughts there.

I didn't get as involved in it as I would have hoped. As I said, I really believe that this will appea
It took me a few chapters to really get into this, and it needed another chapter at the end; the ending was hurried. But it's a heartwarming little tale of a woman, newly released from prison, trying to get a fresh start in a new town.
Mike (the Paladin)
Let me be a little "non-PC" here. I believe that you'll enjoy this book more if you're a woman. There are few male characters at all...and most are pretty negative. Still lots of encouragement and in the end a positive outlook.

I'm a Christian and while I don't recommend getting a lot of your theology or Christian thought from most novels, still you can get some encouragement or thoughts there.

I didn't get as involved in it as I would have hoped. As i said, I really believe that this will appeal
This was a nice, quick read to get into the Christmas spirit and pretty much just what I expected. I liked that the character was a bit out of the ordinary, being a woman recently released from prison and found it to come across as realistic for the most part. There were a couple of things that I found to be inconsistent (why would you set up a job for someone, but not make sure the owner was aware of their previous incarceration??) and kind of had me scratching my head.

Overall though, it was sh
This is my second attempt at a Melody Carlson book... I'm thinking now that I'm just not a fan of hers. Her writing doesn't pull me in. It's like I'm reading something that's not even real (well of course it's not REAL, it's a book, but it should FEEL real!). This wasn't doing that for me. And the thing I didn't get at all in the actual story was why the owner of Harrington's got so upset when she found out about the main character's criminal record...when she had AGREED to let her work there, a ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet story. I loved it.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After eight years spent in prison, all Lena Markham wants is a fresh start in a town where nobody knows her. She is ashamed of her past and would love to forget it in order to live a peaceful Christmas and a better life. Will her dream come true? Is she worth a second chance? It is Christmastime after all, and anything is possible!

“Christmas at Harrington’s” is a story about forgiveness. And what is the best moment of the year to forgive those who were bad to us? Christmas, of course. The injust
Dec 10, 2011 rated it liked it
I started out really enjoying this tale and thought I would be rating it 5-stars, but then somewhere around the time the silly Mrs. Santa junk started the story went off-track. It was like the author couldn't make up her mind what genre she wanted to write. It started out human and realistic which worked well in a story about a woman fresh out of prison, living on the edge of homelessness, trying to cope as best she could with gross injustice, but as the story went on, it dropped its aura of gri ...more
Giovanni Gelati
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that the cover is what drew me to Christmas at Harrington's. I absolutely love everything about Christmas. The cover depicts a snowy scene in what appears to be the main street in a small town. The street is decorated for Christmas; there is a beautifully decked out store window display. Pictured is a woman wearing what looks like a coat Santa might don, admiring the window display. It's such a warm and inviting scene; I couldn't wait to start the book.

Right from the start, I had
Nora St Laurent
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I’m a huge Melody Carlson fan, I was thrilled to receive this review copy of Christmas at Harrington’s. Melody knows how to tell a story to prepare your heart and mind for Christmas. Reading this book is the perfect way to start the holiday season. This novel opens with Lena Markham heading to New Haven for a fresh start.

Lena quickly adjusts to this new town and finds herself helping out a neighbor by watching her daughter, Jemima, as she looks for a job. Lena discovers an unexpected job
Lena Markham is an ex-con being released just a few short weeks before Christmas. With no family to return to, she makes her new home in New Haven and arrives filled with both apprehension and a small amount of hope. After locating the boardinghouse at which she will be staying she attends church at the request of an older woman next to whom she sat on the bus on the way to New Haven. Between Moira, and a few other well-planned characters, Lena begins to learn that she is not hopeless, but indee ...more
Deanne Patterson
Christmas at Harringtons is a book that let's you believe in second chances. Lena having been just released from prision. She is feeling devestated but trying to stay motivated. On the bus ride to her new town she meets an older woman whom invites to give her a ride to church. She settles in town in a boarding house and meets a down on her luck woman with a little girl. She helps the woman get a job at the restaurant she first went to when she just got to town. She watches the womans daughter wh ...more
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a heartwarming tale that involves a falsely accused woman, a little girl (Jemima), and an older woman, Moira, who seeks friendship with Lena and has the uncanny sense of knowing that Lena’s been through a lot of heartbreak. I highly recommend this book if you want a good Christian story to read during the holidays.

The only concern I had about this story is that I felt that there were a few loose ends that were left hanging with some of the secondary characters. But this is minor, and doe
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lena Markham, a 40 something middle aged woman has just been released from prison. She does not want to go home, there's really nothing there for her so she decides to relocate. While on the bus to her new home, she meets an older woman who lives where she is going and they become friends. Lena gets a room in a boarding house and meets a young mother with a 6 year old daughter. Sally needs to work so Lena offers to babysit Jamima until she gets her own job.

This is another heartwarming story by M
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every year at this time, I read at least one Christmas novel. If you do the same, add this one to your list! It's an easy read with a little substance. It's not sappy or over-simplified, but tells the story of redemption in a real life setting. The author does a good job of pointing out the difference between people of faith and merely religious people, perhaps without meaning to. I see Ms. Carlson has written a few other Christmas novels; I will definitely be looking for them.
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A Sweet Story

If you are looking for a quick Christmas read, look no further. Melody Carlson has composed a story of redemption nestled in the small fictional town of New Haven. The characters are believable and the story is realistic. Yet the outcome is one that will surprise and delight readers from young adults to mature folks!
C.J. Darlington
I do not normally read Christmas books. And yet when I picked this one up, I couldn't stop reading it. Would make a perfect Hallmark Channel movie! In fact, it reminds me a little of A Season of Miracles.
Darla Damron
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and a heart warming story. It held my attention and it was very hard to put down.
Predictable and simply too preachy for my taste. And I'm all in for compassion and kindness but leaving your child with a complete friendly stranger is too much of a good thing.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story. I thought the way the story of Lena's past was presented was done so with grace, and though not everyone chose to believe her (at least at first), those who had come to understand her heart did believe, and Lena was able to learn to trust in the kind Heavenly Father her friends told her about, and move forward into the future with faith.
That said, I loved these characters so much that I wish there had been a sequel. Or, if not a sequel following Lena's continued stor
Hemavathy DM Suppiah
🎄 A lovely story about faith and forgiveness, and forgiving yourself that resonated very much. The character development and plot was brilliant, but it ended so quickly it left me hanging. The super quick ending felt like a hastily put together series finale, which often happens when a series is cancelled. I don't know if there's a sequel to this story, but I hope there is.
This was NOT a romance and not what I thought. I expected a cute and sweet romance. Lena comes off as a cold, hard, naive doormat woman at first. Then pages and pages of boring minutia (the price of every item she buys, descriptions of her clothes, day tasks etc). Then smAll town busybodies treat her like crap, she feels suicidal and then prays and finds a backbone being Mrs. Santa.

Will work great for others, I got a bit bored.
3.5 Stars What a light and uplifting story for the holiday. It was a quick read for those who have busy schedules during the holiday season.
I actually had high hopes for this novel simply because the cover was so pretty, so it was a bit of a letdown that I didn't love it. I think it felt toooooo predictable. Most of these stories are naturally predictable, you expect that, but Christmas at Harrington's was just too much. A wonderful gal with an abusive father who happened to be a pastor and then she marries another pastor who turns out to be a skeeze, she ends up in jail, released before Christmas, heads to this small town where a k ...more
Elizabeth Ray
Every year, I like to read one of Melody Carlson's little Christmas novels to help me get in the spirit of the season. In this one, Lena was falsely accused of embezzlement and sent to prison. Nobody believed she was innocent. Years later, she is released and trying to start over in the little town of New Haven. She gets a job as Mrs. Claus, but her past is revealed and publicized to the entire town! Can she ever get a fresh start?

I thought this was a great story premise. It addressed some of th
Barb Klein
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Christmas at Harrington’s" by Melody Carlson was a different kind of story than I normally read. The story is about a woman, Helena (Lena) Markham, who has just been paroled from prison. Instead of going home to Indiana, she wants to be far away from her home town and is placed in New Haven, Connecticut where a job awaits her. As she is travelling on the bus, she befriends a nice older woman who provides her with a sandwich and some much needed companionship. Moira talks about her son and his 1 ...more
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
Christmas at Harrington's by author Melody Carlson, is a delightful book that has, at its core, the true meaning of Christmas.

Lena Markham has just been released from prison after spending eight years behind bars for a crime she didn't commit. Now, she is trying to start her life over again, in New Haven, Minnesota, far away from those who knew her in her former life. With hardly a cent to her name and wondering how she will survive, she lands a job as Mrs. Santa Claus, at Harrington's Departme
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading; so I'm very familiar with the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover." Admittedly, that IS exactly what I did. On the front cover, we see a lady wearing a red coat with white trim, which closely resembles a Santa coat. She is smiling into a store window decorated for Christmas, snow is falling all around her... This Lady's name is Lena Markham and she is new to New Haven.

Christmas is four weeks away and Lena is being released early from prison for a crime she did not commit; s
Tamara Tilley
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
CHRISTMAS AT HARRINGTON’S is a delightful read just in time for the holidays.

Lena Markham is ready to make a new start in life, but is society willing to accept her back? After being set-up, wrongly accused, and imprisoned, Lena heads to the small town of New Haven with the address of a boardinghouse and the promise of a job. But she never could have imagined that the job she is offered is to play Mrs. Santa for Harrington’s Department Store. Not exactly what she had in mind, but with no other o
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Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.

She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspi
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“a planner-the sort of person who could size up a situation and take control and be rewarded with a good outcome.” 1 likes
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