She remembered dark days, too. The hopelessness felt like looking up from the bottom of a deep, narrow well, into a light that was impossible to reach on her own. But, sooner or later, she’d had to make a choice: keep living that way and die a slow, painful death of the spirit or decide to live and to do more than simply exist. She’d chosen to get up, dust off, and move along, day by day. She hoped, soon, that Ben might choose that path, too. But she couldn’t choose it for him.
(from Seeking the Star)
Quick summary: Seeking the Star is the third book in Traci Borum’s series set in the village of Chilton Crosse in the Cotswolds. Each of the novels in the series focus on different characters, so they can be read on their own. Those who read them in order will enjoy seeing the characters from the previous installments while getting to know new ones. This time around, Borum introduces George and Mary Cartwright, an older couple who generously take in the man found passed out in the snow in front of their house. Ben obviously is running from a tragedy in his past, but the Cartwrights welcome him into their home, no questions asked, assuming he will open up to them eventually. As the village prepares for Christmas and the Dickens festival, Ben slowly becomes part of the Chilton Crosse community and learns that he isn’t the only one who has suffered a horrible loss.
What I liked: Borum paints a beautiful picture of a small but bustling village in the midst of holiday preparations. Everyone knows everyone else, and everyone wants to know more about Ben. The Cartwrights are the kind of people you’d love to have as neighbors; they are kind-hearted and generous, but they give you plenty of space. Ben soon finds he can’t say no to their offer to stay in their cottage until after the holidays, and just as much as the Cartwrights help him, he helps them. Borum does a great job portraying a broken man who doesn’t know what to do with his grief and guilt, and I appreciated that the Christian aspect of the story wasn’t too heavy-handed.
What I disliked: I really wished it was longer, and while I was satisfied with the ending overall, I hope Borum finishes Ben’s story later in the series. There is so much more left to tell!
Final thoughts: Seeking the Star shows how the holiday season isn’t a happy one for everyone, and while it is a tale of loss, it also is a story of hope. Mary has learned to live with her grief, and she shows Ben that it is possible to move on without forgetting one’s past. There were plenty of light-hearted scenes about the village’s holiday celebrations to keep the story from getting too sad, and readers who enjoyed the first two books will be happy to see where Noelle and Holly are now. Borum has created a delightful village with characters that are as intriguing as they are endearing, and I can’t wait for the next installment.
Disclosure: I received Seeking the Star from the author for review.
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