Today, I'm thrilled to participate in a blog/cookie tour for The Christmas Angel by Jane Maas!
It's a sweet, romantic generational tale about love, family and an angel that is passed down through the ages.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
Format read: Finished copy, courtesy of publisher
Synopsis via Goodreads:
When Jessica breaks off their romance, Owen, broken-hearted, wraps the angel in his mother’s shawl and brings her to America. There, she looks down over five generations, witnessing peace and war, triumphs and tragedies, reminding all who see her that Christmas is the time when families and sweethearts can come together, laughter and goodwill can lighten even the heaviest burden, and magic fills the earth.
Jane Maas' book is a story of faith and love. And of the miracle that brought the angel home again.
Because as it happens, I am a huge sucker for all things Christmas. Every year, I'm totally the person who has the house decorated before Thanksgiving, and I happily watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music all month.
But the reason I love Christmas so much isn't because of the presents or the food - though, both are pretty awesome - but the fact that the holidays seem to bring out the best in people. And this quality is something that Jane Maas's The Christmas Angelseems to have in spades.
The Christmas Angel is a generational story, beginning in 1875 with Welsh coal miner Owen Thomas and London actress Jessica Lavery. Owen falls in love at first sight at one of Jessica's Christmas performances, and the two of them begin an epistolary courtship that eventually leads Owen to carve an angel that he intends to put on the Christmas tree in their future home.
However, the relationship doesn't work out. Owen moves to the United States to start over, and falls for another women and begins a family with her. The subsequent chapters covers a member from each new generation of the family, including Owen's son - and leading all the way to the narrator.
I absolutely loved how Maas highlighted each member of the family, showing how they had been shaped by the generation that had come before them, but how they were also independent in their own right. Many of Owen's descendants made decisions that were challenging and difficult, but were always helped along by the streak of Welsh heartiness and a few choice nudges from the magic of the Christmas angel.
My favorite part of the book was the final chapter, where Susan - our narrator - takes over and shares her own story. Her experiences prove that there is magic in the world and sometimes, the world is a lot smaller and miraculous than we may think.
Final verdict: The Christmas Angel is a short but sweet tale that will really remind you of the importance of the holiday season, including the value of family, love and relationships.
I recommend this book for everyone, and I totally encourage you to get this book and share this with the loved in your life!
Now, onto the cookies!
I decided to go with a classic and make M&M cookies for Emmy Neal, because I figured that the festive M&M colors + MOAR chocolate = win/win, right?
(Also, in a hilarious turn of events, I apparently used the same exact recipe as Christine at Bookish Daydreamer!)
So here's the recipe I used:
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- one 12-ounce package of mini M&Ms
- In a bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). With the mixer on low, add in egg and vanilla. Return mixer to medium and mix until incorporated. Scrape sides if needed.
- With the mixer back on low, add dry ingredient mixture gradually until dough forms. Stir in M&Ms by hand. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat and set aside.
- Form balls from approximately 1 tablespoon of dough. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are just barely golden. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet before removing and placing on wire rack to finish cool. Store in airtight container.
I went to go get a tin for Emmy, and walked to my local grocery store. When I asked one of the employees for a tin and explained what it was for, her face lit up and she said, "No way! That's so awesome! We totally have containers for you to ship them in."
So even though the plastic boxes aren't quite as snazzy as a Christmas tin, I sort of like the fact that it was kind of a community effort, getting Emmy those cookies! Definitely makes you feel the Xmas spirit!
Now that you've read post, why not go visit the other...
Christmas Angel tour stops!
Read For Your Future
The Hiding Spot
The Bookish Daydreamer
2 Read or Not 2 Read
Reading Nook Reviews - YAY! :)
A Bookworm's World