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Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite
Always Noel by Kathleen Shoop is the fourth book in her 'Tis the Season series. The author takes you back to when our country struggled to get back on its feet after the Great Depression. Jane Scott dreamed of getting her bachelor's degree to become a teacher. When her little community college closed, she applied to the University of Oregon. Her acceptance letter was a dream come true until she discovered she didn't qualify for the scholarship that paid for her schooling. Her boyfriend, Jack Arthur, was all set for his schooling to become a dentist. Would this hinder their future plans? Who was she if she couldn't teach? So many questions cloud her mind that Jane doubts Christmas magic can break through her fears.
I found Always Noel a delightful novelette. Kathleen Shoop quickly knits your heart to Jane Scott with her roller coaster of emotions. Jane's deepest fear of Jack leaving her behind because she can't fulfill her part of their dreams sets the sentiment of the story. It isn't just about a woman wanting to make her way in the world alongside her future spouse, but a passion to educate. She felt there was nothing like the moment when a student's eyes lit up with understanding, and they grasped the knowledge she was teaching. Through an intricate weave of events, you connect with the characters and cry when the twist you were expecting is unveiled. The first couple of pages drew me in completely, and I knew I wouldn't put it down until Jane's doubts were resolved and Christmas magic was restored.