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A Christmas by the Sea

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When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is c When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist. Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday.


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When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is c When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist. Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday.

30 review for A Christmas by the Sea

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mischenko

    I picked this up from my local library not even paying attention to the author's name due to the library stickers. My oldest daughter noticed when I got home and brought to my attention that it's one of her favorite authors. Although she's read Melody Carlson's "TrueColors" series multiple times, this is a first read by this author for me. The story begins with Wendy who's just lost her husband to cancer and currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio with their 12-year-old son Jackson. She's inherited I picked this up from my local library not even paying attention to the author's name due to the library stickers. My oldest daughter noticed when I got home and brought to my attention that it's one of her favorite authors. Although she's read Melody Carlson's "TrueColors" series multiple times, this is a first read by this author for me. The story begins with Wendy who's just lost her husband to cancer and currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio with their 12-year-old son Jackson. She's inherited her grandparent's cottage in Maine which is like a blessing because her finances are sort of a mess. She decides to drive to Maine with Jackson so she can prepare the cottage with plans to put it on the market. Wendy falls in love with 'small town' Seaside all over again, but knows that she has to sell the cottage and return to her job. She wants to do the best for her son Jackson, although he has plans of his own and that's moving to Seaside permanently. He won't take no for an answer. Wendy's feeling unsure about everything and wonders how she could ever make a living there while providing for Jackson financially. She meets a local man named Caleb Colton that really attracts her. While Wendy continues to make repairs on the cottage, she begins to weigh the possibilities of a new life at Seaside. Sweet and heartwarming, this Christian romance was a little too fluffy at times for me, but I still enjoyed it. It's a well-written, super quick read at about 167 pages. The writing was descriptive and with all the imagery I found myself wishing I could visit this beautiful town at Christmas. For being such a short read, I appreciated the character depth. I found the characters totally relatable except for Crystal of course. She was nearly unbearable for me! The romance is extremely light and there's not a single bit of profanity throughout the whole book. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The story is full of hope and joy which is always nice around the holidays. This is a book that will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit! I'm looking forward to reading some other Christmas books by Melody Carlson.  4**** You can see this review@ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2018/...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    Even though this is only a novella length book at 167 pages it truly packs a wallop. Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody's newest holiday read and for a small book it's packed to the brim with fabulous stuff! Melody weaves together a tale of what it really means to be at home no matter where you are. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago and inheriting her grandparents beach house is a true blessing. Planning on fixing it and quickly se Even though this is only a novella length book at 167 pages it truly packs a wallop. Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody's newest holiday read and for a small book it's packed to the brim with fabulous stuff! Melody weaves together a tale of what it really means to be at home no matter where you are. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago and inheriting her grandparents beach house is a true blessing. Planning on fixing it and quickly selling it and moving back to Ohio she doesn't plan on her son,Jackson falling in love with the house and area. She puts off telling him she plans on selling because he feels so happy there and she doesn't want to ruin it for him. Jackson, a very helpful and mature teen though and I do believe he knew what was going on the whole time. What could be better than spending the holiday season in a gorgeous beach town that feels like home and the bonus of a new possible romance for Wendy. A friendly and slobbery dog rounds out the picture but will Wendy be able to financially support her small family with the crafts she makes or will she and her heartbroken son have to return to Ohio? Beautiful story about spiritual and personal growth. Pub Date 04 Sep 2018 Thank you to Revell for a complimentary copy through Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody Carlson's newest holiday book. It was a quick story (only 167 pages) but it was packed with emotion, family love, and second chances. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago from cancer. Left with medical bills and student loans, finding out that she had inherited her grandparent's beach house seems like a true blessing. Heading to the small town of Seaside, Wendy plans on fixing it up the cottage and q Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody Carlson's newest holiday book. It was a quick story (only 167 pages) but it was packed with emotion, family love, and second chances. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago from cancer. Left with medical bills and student loans, finding out that she had inherited her grandparent's beach house seems like a true blessing. Heading to the small town of Seaside, Wendy plans on fixing it up the cottage and quickly selling it and moving back to Ohio. What she doesn't plan on is that her son Jackson will fall in love with the cottage, the town and the people. A friendly and slobbery dog rounds out the picture of the new home that Jackson is hoping will be theirs. With the help of local craftsman, Caleb, Wendy tries to make a living using her craft skills and shells she and Jackson find so she can remain in Seaside. When Jackson finds out that his mother wants to move back to Ohio, he does what an adolescent does, he tries to force his mother's hand. Will Wendy be able to financially support her small family with the crafts she makes or will she and her heartbroken son have to return to Ohio? This is a sweet story of family, second chances, independence and romance. What could be better than spending the holiday season in a gorgeous beach town that feels like home and the bonus of a new possible romance for Wendy. Can God answer their prayers to be able to start a new life in this small town that feels more like home than Ohio ever did. The story flows beautifully and is well paced. The characters in the story are all helpful in trying to get Wendy and Jackson to stay, all except for the pretty Crystal, who seems to have her own feelings for Caleb. This is a beautiful story about spiritual and personal growth. A magical Christmas story that can be read in a day by a warm fire. The publisher, Revell, provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Vollmer

    Not my typical genre. It was simple and sweet but the ending was a bit rushed and I wasn't fond of how dishonest Wendy was with Jackson about her intentions to sell the house.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    A delightful Christmas tale about second chances, love and trusting in the power of God.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Chapel

    Every year I always make it a point to read Melody Carlson's latest Christmas Novel. I have never read one that I didn't like. This year Melody takes her characters from Cincinnati Ohio to Seaside Maine. Wendy Harper lost her husband to cancer about four years before her Grandpa, who she called Poppa, passed away. He left her his cottage by the ocean in Seaside Maine. Wendy and her twelve year old son travel to Seaside to visit the cottage. Wendy was left with a lot of her husband's medical bills Every year I always make it a point to read Melody Carlson's latest Christmas Novel. I have never read one that I didn't like. This year Melody takes her characters from Cincinnati Ohio to Seaside Maine. Wendy Harper lost her husband to cancer about four years before her Grandpa, who she called Poppa, passed away. He left her his cottage by the ocean in Seaside Maine. Wendy and her twelve year old son travel to Seaside to visit the cottage. Wendy was left with a lot of her husband's medical bills and both of their college loans to pay off. She planned to fix the cottage up and have it ready to list for sale. Her plans were to have it sold before Christmas and be back at her job in Cincinnati. Seaside property should make a nice profit and enable Wendy to pay off her debts. Jackson, that's her son, wanted to live at the cottage and stay in Seaside. But Wendy couldn't see how she could provide for their needs working at a tourist town. How can she break this news to Jackson? He loves the ocean and makes friends with some of the youth there. But what can she do? Does she really have a choice? And then there's Caleb Colton who happens to cross Wendy's path everywhere she goes. Good looking blue eyed Caleb Colton who happens to be a bachelor that at least one other woman in town has her eyes on. This story was a very good Christmas read. It didn't disappoint. All fans of Melody Carlson would like this novel. If you enjoy contemporary romance this is for you. It's also Christian Fiction which means there's no swearing or bedroom scenes in the story. I highly recommend it to be part of your Christmas reading .

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    I read Melody's Christmas novellas every year. And they put me in such a great mood. I love them and each one is so different than the last. This years Christmas novella was such a sweet one. I love happy endings to so this was right up my alley. I feel in love with Jackson and I hope that you will love his story and his cottage by the sea. This is a 5 star must read. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and I read Melody's Christmas novellas every year. And they put me in such a great mood. I love them and each one is so different than the last. This years Christmas novella was such a sweet one. I love happy endings to so this was right up my alley. I feel in love with Jackson and I hope that you will love his story and his cottage by the sea. This is a 5 star must read. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julia Wilson

    A Christmas By The Sea by Melody Carlson is the most delightful Christian romance. Every year I eagerly await the latest festive offering from Melody Carlson and I am never disappointed. The novel is about blessings. Sometimes in life, we can see the hand of God at work in our lives, especially when we look backwards. There are new beginnings to be had. The fresh sea air contrasts with the oppressive city life. “She felt like the child inside her waking up.” Returning to the seaside of her childh A Christmas By The Sea by Melody Carlson is the most delightful Christian romance. Every year I eagerly await the latest festive offering from Melody Carlson and I am never disappointed. The novel is about blessings. Sometimes in life, we can see the hand of God at work in our lives, especially when we look backwards. There are new beginnings to be had. The fresh sea air contrasts with the oppressive city life. “She felt like the child inside her waking up.” Returning to the seaside of her childhood, hope begins to rise. Sometimes we just need to step out in faith and trust God. “She… had… believed that God would meet all their needs. When had she quit?” Life can be hard and we may drift from God but it is never too late to return to Him. Wanting to believe and trust God again is the first step to doing it. The inclusion of a dog is sure to make the reader smile. Memories are important, as is knowing our roots. We can remember the good times and also set about making new memories. A warm, wonderful community atmosphere pervades the novel. I ‘felt’ included in the action. The people pull together to meet needs. I absolutely adored A Christmas By The Sea. I cannot wait for the festive offering from Melody Carlson in 2019! Absolutely wonderful. I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    It wasn't snowing this week, but we did have a dark, cool, rainy day that felt a little winterish. It felt close enough to the Christmas season that it was the perfect day to get my tea and curl up and read A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson. A Christmas by the Sea is the story of Wendy and her son Jackson Harper. After Wendy's husband died a few years before from cancer, Wendy was left with mounting debts. Then she inherits her grandparents' cottage in Seaside, Maine. Wendy sees this as a It wasn't snowing this week, but we did have a dark, cool, rainy day that felt a little winterish. It felt close enough to the Christmas season that it was the perfect day to get my tea and curl up and read A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson. A Christmas by the Sea is the story of Wendy and her son Jackson Harper. After Wendy's husband died a few years before from cancer, Wendy was left with mounting debts. Then she inherits her grandparents' cottage in Seaside, Maine. Wendy sees this as a way to finally pay off her debts. However, Jackson sees it as a place to get a fresh start with fresh, new memories. Wendy wants her son to be happy but she doesn't know what else to do. But maybe God has something else in mind? A Christmas by the Sea was a sweet feel-good novella. I enjoyed this story and genuinely liked the characters. However, I did get a little frustrated by the communication struggles, but I have seen enough poor communication in families around me to find that the story was believable, especially since they felt they were helping someone by not sharing the complete truth. I do wish we could have had more romance going on but then this wouldn't be a novella like it was supposed to be. Yes, the ending was expected but this was just the kind of story I wanted on the dreary day that I read it. Sometimes we all need a little "feel good" story in our life and this story doesn't disappoint on that end. I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I feel like a GRINCH giving a Melody Carlson Christmas novella TWO STARS. But it is, what it is . . . Gorgeous cover - round of applause to the art/design department. The story itself, however, didn't 'wow' me in the least. Neither the characters nor the story felt genuine. It's like I have read it all before, so very predictable and cookie cutter similar to that of every other Christmas romance novella. Not to mention, the dialogue read like a freshman term paper; grammatically correct, but dub I feel like a GRINCH giving a Melody Carlson Christmas novella TWO STARS. But it is, what it is . . . Gorgeous cover - round of applause to the art/design department. The story itself, however, didn't 'wow' me in the least. Neither the characters nor the story felt genuine. It's like I have read it all before, so very predictable and cookie cutter similar to that of every other Christmas romance novella. Not to mention, the dialogue read like a freshman term paper; grammatically correct, but dubiously stilted and contrived. Especially if read aloud. I mean, adolescent/teen boys (or most anyone, for that matter) rarely speak in complete, pristine sentences. Plus, the adding of 'mom' at the end of every sentence when only the son and mother were conversing (as if the reader couldn't figure out who was talking to whom) read like a middle-grade chapter book. Perhaps I'm being ultra picky. And a bit uncharitable, considering it's Christmas. I simply think - and I could be WAY OFF BASE here - publishers push their contracted writers to produce seasonal novellas with little time to come up realistic storylines, write and edit, knowing that a gorgeous cover, branding, and the emotional pull of the season will guarantee sales - come-what-may between the covers. In essence, then, perhaps it's not entirely the authors doing, or undoing. After all, contracts are two-edged swords; everyone gets paid, but at what price? Then too, maybe it's just me being persnickety. Either way, I've enjoyed Ms. Carlson's Christmas novels/novellas in the past. And I'm sure I will again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Adamek

    I love kitsch & I love feel good especially in Christmas stories--this author does it well. BUT I have already read this story,by the author, just with different character names...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    I was immediately drawn to this cover and title. Christmas and the sea...double "yes!" I loved the sweetness of this story, weaving in family and friend relationships (and of course, romance) in a perfect way. I enjoyed Wendy and Jackson's interaction, and Caleb was especially endearing. It was nice to read a clean romance, where the couple actually have a friendship. There are two kisses, not detailed at all, and some attraction, but I found it sweet. The setting was amazing! I especially loved I was immediately drawn to this cover and title. Christmas and the sea...double "yes!" I loved the sweetness of this story, weaving in family and friend relationships (and of course, romance) in a perfect way. I enjoyed Wendy and Jackson's interaction, and Caleb was especially endearing. It was nice to read a clean romance, where the couple actually have a friendship. There are two kisses, not detailed at all, and some attraction, but I found it sweet. The setting was amazing! I especially loved the scene when Wendy and Jackson were finding sand dollars along the beach :) Although light, spiritual content was woven through the story and fit with the events in the characters lives. One character got a little irritating, and there is an issue with communication with some characters, but all in all, I highly recommend this story. The perfect book to get you ready for the Christmas season! *This book was provided courtesy of Baker publishing through Interviews & Reviews*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tarissa

    What I love: • The beautiful, vibrant winter scene on the cover. (It's so inviting... I want to go there!) • The title... it really drew me in. • The plot about inheriting a beach cottage and needing to fix it up... The ideas are limitless! • Wendy's son, Jackson. He is such a sweet teenager, and should be the role model for kids everywhere. • The ocean. • Sea shells. • Sand dollars. (Very inspirational element in the story. Right after both my mom and I both read this book, we had a similar experience What I love: • The beautiful, vibrant winter scene on the cover. (It's so inviting... I want to go there!) • The title... it really drew me in. • The plot about inheriting a beach cottage and needing to fix it up... The ideas are limitless! • Wendy's son, Jackson. He is such a sweet teenager, and should be the role model for kids everywhere. • The ocean. • Sea shells. • Sand dollars. (Very inspirational element in the story. Right after both my mom and I both read this book, we had a similar experience to Wendy and Jackson's beach-combing... Which we instantly christened "Our Sand Dollar Moment".) • Intriguing business endeavors. (The craftiness of inventive ideas.) • The loveliness of the overall story. What I didn't care for: • The too-quick romance. (I feel like the would have been better without it, to be honest.) Or the romance could have been done better if it felt like the two characters in "love" had taken the time to deeply get to know each other. Overall? I'm a sucker for Melody Carlson's Christmas books. And it's a clean read. So I enjoyed the book greatly!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    Another sweet Christmas read by Melody Carlson. I enjoyed seeing Wendy work with her son, Jackson, to restore the summer cottage that had belonged to her grandparents and was filled with fond memories. Caleb was a warm hearted hero who cared a lot about both Wendy and Jackson. A very predictable ending which was a bit rushed just to wind up this novella as she had only known Caleb for two weeks, so this felt a bit unrealistic and financially unsound. Focus was God's provision. A sweet, quick rea Another sweet Christmas read by Melody Carlson. I enjoyed seeing Wendy work with her son, Jackson, to restore the summer cottage that had belonged to her grandparents and was filled with fond memories. Caleb was a warm hearted hero who cared a lot about both Wendy and Jackson. A very predictable ending which was a bit rushed just to wind up this novella as she had only known Caleb for two weeks, so this felt a bit unrealistic and financially unsound. Focus was God's provision. A sweet, quick read for a curl up in front of the fireplace on a cold day. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Armelle

    I liked the characters and the location, but the ending was startlingly abrupt, and both totally predictable and totally unrealistic.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    A Christmas by the Sea is a warm Christmas story like we have come to expect from Melody Carlson. Wendy Harper and her twelve year old son, Jackson, has had a rough few years. Their husband and father died after a battle with cancer leaving the family with a strained financial situation. Jackson has had a hard time at school with bullying and teasing. When Wendy inherits her grandfather's beach house in Seaside, Maine, it seems an answer to their prayers. Wendy decides they can use the trip to g A Christmas by the Sea is a warm Christmas story like we have come to expect from Melody Carlson. Wendy Harper and her twelve year old son, Jackson, has had a rough few years. Their husband and father died after a battle with cancer leaving the family with a strained financial situation. Jackson has had a hard time at school with bullying and teasing. When Wendy inherits her grandfather's beach house in Seaside, Maine, it seems an answer to their prayers. Wendy decides they can use the trip to get away for Thanksgiving to get the cottage in shape to sell. Jackson thinks that this is a great new start for them. So, they set out from Ohio and drove to Maine. Wendy struggles to keep finances above water while she works on the cottage. Jackson won't talk about leaving. Caleb Colton is a local furniture builder and store owner that gets to know Wendy and Jackson. He befriends them and gives advice to Wendy while hiring Jackson as a helper. Jackson quickly makes a friend, rescues a dog and even enrolls himself in school. He tells Wendy to have faith that God will work things out. But Wendy knows that Jackson is a child who doesn't understand the dire straits they are in financially. This is a heartwarming story of faith and family during the special holiday time of hope and joy. I received a complimentary ARC from Revell Publishing through NetGalley. The thoughts and opinion stated are mine only.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA is the 2018 Melody Carlson Christmas story we've all been waiting for. i absolutely love the cover of this novella and I want to rent the cottage for a vacation getaway myself. What a lovely place. I don't like that Wendy wasn't honest with her son from the beginning. If he was old enough to register himself in school, he was old enough to understand the trip was to get the cottage cleared out and listed on the real estate market. It would've saved a lot of drama. Caleb wa A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA is the 2018 Melody Carlson Christmas story we've all been waiting for. i absolutely love the cover of this novella and I want to rent the cottage for a vacation getaway myself. What a lovely place. I don't like that Wendy wasn't honest with her son from the beginning. If he was old enough to register himself in school, he was old enough to understand the trip was to get the cottage cleared out and listed on the real estate market. It would've saved a lot of drama. Caleb was a sweetheart, and so there for both Wendy and Jackson. Wendy was hurting, worried, and running scared but she still found ways to be kind to her neighbors, make friends, and do artsy crafty stuff. I greatly enjoyed this novella and look forward to reading it over again for Christmases to come. I was given a copy off netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vera Godley

    I always enjoy reading a novella or two focused on Christmas time. Most are joyful, uplifting, sweet reads. Not too long--just right to immerse oneself in for a bit of relaxing reading, enjoying a good cup of tea or coffee.Author Melody Carlson has written several and doesn't disappoint. In A Christmas by the Sea we meet a single mom with a young teenage son. They have lost a beloved husband and father to the ravages of cancer and are trying to make it on their own. The story begins with them tra I always enjoy reading a novella or two focused on Christmas time. Most are joyful, uplifting, sweet reads. Not too long--just right to immerse oneself in for a bit of relaxing reading, enjoying a good cup of tea or coffee.Author Melody Carlson has written several and doesn't disappoint. In A Christmas by the Sea we meet a single mom with a young teenage son. They have lost a beloved husband and father to the ravages of cancer and are trying to make it on their own. The story begins with them traveling to the coast of Maine to Wendy's grandparent's cottage home that has been left to Wendy as an inheritance. Her plan is to put it on the market and glean enough to pay her husband's medical bills and get on with the task of living. Her son, Jackson, is all excited and looking forward to a new beginning. He sees everything through the lens of excitement and newness. Jackson is truly a character to love and appreciate his outlook and his ability to step up to the multitude of tasks and chores that come with making the cottage marketable. Only Jackson doesn't realize Wendy is planning to sell. He wants to make it his forever home. Gracing the pages of this sweet story are several other characters that win the reader's heart. The chemistry that sparks interest in each other is slow to be acknowledged by Wendy and Caleb, a handsome merchant and resident. You don't want to miss this sweet read. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from Revell a division of Baker Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes us to Seaside, Maine. Wendy Harper is traveling with her son, Jackson from Ohio to Seaside just before Thanksgiving. Wendy inherited a beach cottage from her grandfather. It is an answer to her prayers since she has a slew of debts incurred from her deceased husband’s battle with cancer along with student loans. Wendy has managed to get a month off to renovate the cottage and get it listed for sale. Jackson is excited about the trip and wants to rel A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes us to Seaside, Maine. Wendy Harper is traveling with her son, Jackson from Ohio to Seaside just before Thanksgiving. Wendy inherited a beach cottage from her grandfather. It is an answer to her prayers since she has a slew of debts incurred from her deceased husband’s battle with cancer along with student loans. Wendy has managed to get a month off to renovate the cottage and get it listed for sale. Jackson is excited about the trip and wants to relocate to Seaside permanently. The cottage is in better condition than Wendy expected, but it still needs some work. She hires Gordon, the local handyman, to help with the repairs. Jackson is thriving in the new environment. He makes a friend, finds a dog and enrolls himself in school. One day Wendy is at the hardware store and meets Caleb Colton, a furniture craftsman. She is surprised by what she feels when near Caleb. Wendy admires his beautiful furniture (works of art) and his Christian values. Wendy knows she should do the responsible thing and sell the cottage. However, she is drawn to the town, the cottage and a certain woodworker. To stay in Seaside, though, she needs a steady income stream. Christmas is rapidly approaching, and miracles have been known to happen. A Christmas by the Sea is a charming Christmas story. I thought it was well-written with steady pacing. It is a wholesome story with a light Christian element. The Christian themes include the importance of having a strong faith in God, prayer, reading the Bible, trust in God, and know that He will answer your prayers but not always in the way you expect. I liked the characters with Jackson being my favorite. He is delightful with his infectious joy. I like how he learned to complete certain repairs courtesy of online videos (they are helpful). I enjoyed the descriptions of Seaside and the ocean. There is a wonderful scene where Jackson and Wendy are finding sand dollars on the beach (they are not easy to find). Colton’s furniture sounded beautiful along with the seashell creations made by Wendy. My one complaint is the ending was rushed along with the romance between Wendy and Caleb. An epilogue would have been appreciated (a year or two later). A Christmas by the Sea is a short book at only 167 pages. One of my favorite sentences is “God takes care of us and He will provide what we need.” My rating for A Christmas by the Sea is 4 out of 5 stars. Melody Carlson has given us another lovely Christmas story filled with love, hope, faith, family and joy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I was completely charmed by this short, sweet Christmas novella. Melody weaves wonderful Christmas stories and this is without a doubt my favorite of all of them! Sweet characters(I adored Jackson!), a lovely setting and a great story line make this a great read. Definitely one for my keeper shelf! I received this book from the publisher, and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susan F

    I have a Christmas tradition of reading a Melody Carlson book each holiday season. Her 2018 offering is a sweet story about family and faith. There's a nice touch of romance too. I love that the setting is my state of Maine and an idyllic town on the coast. We all need a dose of hope and this story gives it to us. It's a reminder that God can and does shower miracles on us. I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for my copy of this heartwarming book. It was a pleasure to read it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    As with all of Melody Carlson's Christmas novellas, this was a very sweet and cute book that was perfect for getting me in the Christmas spirit. The ending was extremely abrupt (and honestly, somewhat ridiculous) but this book just made me smile, and sometimes that's all I need!

  23. 4 out of 5

    JD Sutter

    3.5 stars Charming characters with interesting real-life struggles. Loved the portrayal of the small oceanside town life. Made me want to move there. The too-perfect ending was what knocked down the rating for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    I loved this story, the author has given us a story about rebirth, building a life after the death of a loved one. I could just picture Jackson a young teenage still reeling from the death of his father, not happy and being bullied at his school in Ohio, and now a breath of fresh air, a new beginning, and at the ocean. His mother, and the friendly local have both lost someone they loved, is there a chance that they are now in the right place at the right time? This is a warm your heart Christmas st I loved this story, the author has given us a story about rebirth, building a life after the death of a loved one. I could just picture Jackson a young teenage still reeling from the death of his father, not happy and being bullied at his school in Ohio, and now a breath of fresh air, a new beginning, and at the ocean. His mother, and the friendly local have both lost someone they loved, is there a chance that they are now in the right place at the right time? This is a warm your heart Christmas story, and I am so glad to have read it! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Robb

    It's a sweet book--but you pretty much know the ending from the start. Wendy inherits a Maine beach cottage from her grandfather. She plans to sell it and continue their life in Ohio. Her son Jackson talks her into visiting it first and both he and Wendy like hearing her stories about the summers she spent their with her grandparents. Wendy is pleasantly surprised to find the town both changed and unchanged. Some aspects are similar to what she remembers and others (such as a gas station) are ne It's a sweet book--but you pretty much know the ending from the start. Wendy inherits a Maine beach cottage from her grandfather. She plans to sell it and continue their life in Ohio. Her son Jackson talks her into visiting it first and both he and Wendy like hearing her stories about the summers she spent their with her grandparents. Wendy is pleasantly surprised to find the town both changed and unchanged. Some aspects are similar to what she remembers and others (such as a gas station) are new since she was last there. In fact, the only things wrong with it seem to be Wendy's belief that there is no "family wage" work for her there and Crystal, an employee at "She Sells Sea Shells". Wendy meets Caleb Colton at the hardware store and then runs into him again at the sea shell store. Caleb befriends both her and Jackson--much to Crystal's dismay. The ending of the book came out of the blue for me. I knew the author was trying to set up a love interest between Caleb and Wendy, but the romance moved from meeting to proposal too fast for my taste. (The meet shortly before Thanksgiving and the book ends prior to December 23rd.) So while I did predict the where will we live? plot point resolution, I didn't think the romance would close the book. In the end, we don't know if Caleb made good on his words that Crystal would not have a job the following week (due to her eavesdropping and telling Jackson what she overheard). We don't know if Wendy goes to work as a salesperson for Caleb or takes over Crystal's job in both stores. We don't know if they choose to live in Wendy's cottage or Caleb's.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    A wonderful story packed with hope, faith and love! A single mom struggling to make ends meet inherits a seaside cottage that could be the answer to her prayers for help. A long road trip for the holidays brings her to a tough decision: to sell or stay. “You and Dad used to tell me God will provide what we need....So maybe we just need to trust him more." I thoroughly enjoyed this tender story, with characters struggling with real life problems like financial difficulties, single parenting, seeki A wonderful story packed with hope, faith and love! A single mom struggling to make ends meet inherits a seaside cottage that could be the answer to her prayers for help. A long road trip for the holidays brings her to a tough decision: to sell or stay. “You and Dad used to tell me God will provide what we need....So maybe we just need to trust him more." I thoroughly enjoyed this tender story, with characters struggling with real life problems like financial difficulties, single parenting, seeking security, and a renewing of faith after loss. I loved Jackson and his enthusiasm as he tried so hard to help and convince his mom to keep the house. His reminder to trust God was like a word from above to her heart. Wendy struggles to be present while dealing with the stress of everything, wanting to do what is best for her son; something most parents can relate to. The fixer upper details of working on the house were perfect, as anyone who owns a home can attest to! I enjoyed the descriptions of the lovely small town by the sea. I hope there may be more stories set there, so I can visit again. Recommend for readers who enjoy an inspirational tale with a little bit of romance tucked in. (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jen.

    A Christmas by the Sea is this year’s Christmas novella from Melody Carlson. It’s the story of Wendy and her son, Jackson as they remodel an inherited cottage in touristy Seaside, Maine. Their stay is supposed to be temporary. The plan is to refurbish her grandparents’ cottage, sell it and head back to Ohio…and fast. Only, Wendy hasn’t shared this information with Jackson, who is over the moon excited about this move. Will she break his heart…or will her own heart be refreshed by this quaint lit A Christmas by the Sea is this year’s Christmas novella from Melody Carlson. It’s the story of Wendy and her son, Jackson as they remodel an inherited cottage in touristy Seaside, Maine. Their stay is supposed to be temporary. The plan is to refurbish her grandparents’ cottage, sell it and head back to Ohio…and fast. Only, Wendy hasn’t shared this information with Jackson, who is over the moon excited about this move. Will she break his heart…or will her own heart be refreshed by this quaint little town? Wendy and Jackson have a fantastic mother-son bond and you can see they are clearly each other’s best friend as they navigate life after the loss of their husband and father. When they arrive in Seaside, they meet a cast of year-round charming locals who waste no time making them feel welcome. Local businessman Caleb Colton takes a special interest in both Wendy and Jackson and soon has Wendy rethinking her plans. This book was very easy to read and had a wonderful setting. It was easy to visualize the town of Seaside as Thanksgiving made way for Christmas. The whole story had a very “everyday life” sort of vibe and was very relatable. Jackson was an exceptionally wonderful character and he completely stole the show! A Christmas by the Sea was very cute, entertaining and well written. The story’s message was a gentle reminder that God has the best plans for us if we place our trust in Him. It was enjoyable to read and I do recommend picking this book up to get you in the holiday spirit! I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Reads for review purposes. A positive review was not required. Opinions expressed are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    What a fun story! Wendy inherits the family beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine. Being widowed and raising her son alone, she sees this as an opportunity to help her and her son financially. Her husband's illness left her with medical bills and she is struggling financially. So, she plans to fix up the cottage and sell it. So, they pack their bags and drive to Maine where Wendy has approximately four weeks to fix up the cottage, sell it and return to their life in Ohio. Well! Her son Jackson has What a fun story! Wendy inherits the family beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine. Being widowed and raising her son alone, she sees this as an opportunity to help her and her son financially. Her husband's illness left her with medical bills and she is struggling financially. So, she plans to fix up the cottage and sell it. So, they pack their bags and drive to Maine where Wendy has approximately four weeks to fix up the cottage, sell it and return to their life in Ohio. Well! Her son Jackson has other plans. Without a doubt, Jackson wants to live in Seaside. He is enthusiastic, full of energy and loving his life in this small town. This is a wonderful story. It's the type of book where I want to curl up in a comfy chair, with my favorite beverage and savor every moment of the small community of Seaside. I love the cottage and the work Wendy and Jackson put into the house making it a warm and welcoming home. I loved Wendy, Jackson, Caleb and Oliver along with the new friends they were making in Seaside. This would be a great Hallmark film! It's a short story but full of warmth and coziness. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I grabbed a copy of this book because I am familiar with this author. I have enjoyed previous books form this author. While, Christmas is still a few months away, I was in the mood for getting an early start with my holiday reading. Sadly, this book did not put me in the holiday mood. I struggled to connect to either of the main characters. Thus the story did not captivate me. In fact, I found it kind of dry. Try as I might, I had a hard time staying in the moment with this book. The details are I grabbed a copy of this book because I am familiar with this author. I have enjoyed previous books form this author. While, Christmas is still a few months away, I was in the mood for getting an early start with my holiday reading. Sadly, this book did not put me in the holiday mood. I struggled to connect to either of the main characters. Thus the story did not captivate me. In fact, I found it kind of dry. Try as I might, I had a hard time staying in the moment with this book. The details are hazy to remember. Overall, this book lacked the Christmas spirit for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Frost

    It was a heartwarming amazing read.

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