Title: The Bells of New Cheltenham
Author: Chautona Havig
Series: New Cheltenham Shopkeepers
Major Themes: Christmas, Christian Fiction
Synopsis: When Justine, who knows nothing about the Christmas story, decides to enter a short story contest based on Christmas carols, Ken suddenly sees themes in the old songs that he never dreamed of before.
A couple of years ago, Chautona wrote The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, which involved Mitchell being required to tell a ghost story in order to get his inheritance. The Bells of New Cheltenham has a much nicer theme! I enjoyed reading it as it was written, and again after it was all done.
Mitchell entered the ghost story telling competition two years in a row; this year he can’t bring himself to enter. What can he do instead? He has a bright idea: Sponsor a different kind of contest! His idea is simple; the contestants are to write a short story based on a Christmas carol. He prints up flyers and posters and gets the word around town.
Justine wanders into town with all her possessions on her back. She listens to the carolers going around the streets singing one Christmas carol after another, and then sees the flyer about the short story contest. It catches her attention, even though she knows nothing about the Bible, Christmas, or Christianity. Ken, one of the carolers, notices her interest in the carols and offers to tell her the story behind the one she thinks sounded quite depressing. She wants to hear the whole story, even though she is trying to reject it. Ken, finding himself very attracted to her, knows he has to be careful not to fall in love with someone who isn’t a Christian—but he very much wants to spend time with her and answer all her questions about Jesus and the whole Christmas story! Meanwhile, she must win that contest—it would solve all her problems!
The Bells of New Cheltenham is a great story with a unique premise. Chautona has carefully woven the entire story of why Jesus came to earth into this story, without being at all preachy. You must read this story about how Justine discovered love in everything around her. It’s delightful! Oh, and the scene in Chapter 8 where Ken talks about buying weed? It makes me laugh out loud every time I read it!
I received a free copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Reading Independently—15 and Above, Adults