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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Chiaverini celebrates Christmas past and present with a wondrous novel inspired by the classic poem "Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I heard the bells on Christmas Day / Their old familiar carols play / And wild and sweet / The words repeat / Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

In 1860 the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow's classic Revolutionary War poem, "Paul Revere's Ride", was less than a month hence, and the country's grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.

In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia's music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children's choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.

Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow's family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow's patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. "Christmas Bells", the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn.

©2015 Jennifer Chiaverini (P)2015 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Christmas Bells

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I had a hard time following the story line

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No. I've enjoyed most of the other books by this author but not this one.

Would you recommend Christmas Bells to your friends? Why or why not?

Only if they are already familiar with the author.

What does Christina Moore bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her narration brought the story to life.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

While the story was interesting, I did not like the way the story was presented. I was disappointed and may not get any more by the author.

Any additional comments?

I hope the author goes back to her older format for writing.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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History comes to life!

What a beautiful story to compare current life situations with a bit of History. It brought forward dilemmas and challenges in the Civil War era which seems so relevant in today's political challenges and intense dialogue of recent elections. This story offers hope and a sense of peace that "God is not dead nor does He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on Earth goodwill toward men."

2 people found this helpful

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  • me
  • 04-19-16

Not her best

one story at a time would be better to confusing jumping back and forth between centuries

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Promising premise a little disappointing

Enjoyed the parallel stories of modern day and Civil War families. Characters and dialogue were not as well developed as I had hoped

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Half very good, have very weak

The Longfellow half of the book was considerably interesting as it is set during the Civil War and Poet Longfellow family’s true story. The other half of the book was seemly put there to somehow compare a supposedly similar modern day story to Longfellow’s. The modern day story was just didn’t work as it is below level writing. Narration was inept.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Never quite came together

This book tastes in different time periods. I never quite figured out how the related to ea h other. I almost stopped reading it several times but I finally got through it. I have read almost all of the author’s other books and enjoyed them very much. Just not this one.

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Forced

The historical facts on Longfellow and his family, as well as the historical events and people in his life were well written, interesting and had a nice flow. It’s unfortunate Chiaverini felt the need to entwine it with the modern fictional story. That interrupted the flow of Longfellow’s story and was unnecessary.

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Excellent historically related story

I love Jennifer Chiaverini’s stories. I especially enjoy the attention to detail which draws me in and makes me feel I’m “there.”

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Good Read

This book is very well written. I found the juxtaposition of the two families at two different historical and cultural families lives quite intriguing.

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sucked me in

this story became like listening to an insider peek into people I know. I've listened to the story three times already. BRAVO