Title: Project Scrooge
Author: A. M. Heath
Series: Christmas in Garland collection (standalone series)
Major Themes: Christmas, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Synopsis: Still clinging to unresolved bitterness, Sanford isn’t about to try to get up any Christmas spirit for the season. Can Natalie, teaming up with Sanford’s granny and some friends, help him learn to forgive?
Years ago, back when I was nine or ten, I got a six- or eight-cassette tape set of Great Expectations out of the library to listen to. That was my first formal introduction to Dickens’ works, and while I enjoyed the parts of the story I understood, I know a lot of it escaped me as well. Years later, I picked up A Christmas Carol—and enjoyed it from the very first page, with that hilarious sidenote at the start on how dead can a doornail be—more dead than a man, or more alive than one? Since then, I’ve read it to my siblings once, and to myself once or twice, and it never ceases to amaze me how truly horrible Scrooge was at the beginning of the book, and end on such a lovely note at the end.
Then, when I saw that author A.M. Heath was writing a retelling of this favorite of mine, titling it Project Scrooge, I knew I wanted to read it. I enjoyed the one book I read from her earlier this year—Dance With Me—even though it was in a genre I do not normally read. This, on the other hand, was a much looked-forward-to book, and it’s finally here!
Still struggling with his fiancée’s decision to break their engagement just a few months before their intended wedding six years ago, Sanford isn’t in the mood for Christmas at all—hasn’t been, since she said goodbye to him so long ago. Now, as a coach in basketball, he has to coach her new stepson and face her at the end of the practices. She’s on her second marriage now, purported to be a hasty affair after she cheated on her first husband. Can he ever forgive her—ever stop wishing she’d suffer the way he has over these past six years?
Natalie, on the other hand, has been grieving all these years too. Once a close friend of Sanford’s, now she feels cut off—and hates to see him walking around discouraged. What can they do to help him see that he can find healing on the other side of forgiveness? Will Granny’s idea for reenacting A Christmas Carol’s three spirits for him—with different tasks each day during December—do him any good? Will he be able to let go of his bitterness long enough to see the forgiveness in Christ on the other side?
If I had to describe Project Scrooge in a few words, I’d choose something like sweet, challenging, and thoughtful. There were so many different elements to this book that I loved. I could relate to the whole unforgiveness theme, and what it does to a person. From that, I was challenged to study how I react to others (even those with helpful criticism—because that can hurt, too!). There was one particular scene that I thought was hilarious—when the characters went to a diner. I won’t tell you more, but I expect you’ll enjoy reading it, too. The ending is lovely. Just what I wanted! In all, a fun book. Not the deepest I’ve ever read, but if you want a light yet thought-provoking Christmas story, check this out.
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: In stave 1, there is a mention of a woman who committed adultery, then divorced and remarried the other man. She appears throughout the story. There is touching between unmarried characters in staves 2 and 5. There is kissing in staves 3 and 5. In stave 3, someone tells about her unfaithful husband, and how thy divorced and she remarried.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults