In Scotland during the Victorian era, a “wreath” meant not just a circular decoration for your front door, but a drift, like a snowdrift. In A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs, a wreath, or giant snowdrift, has not only stopped but also damaged the train leaving the small town of Stirling. An invisible wreath of mistakes, pain, and deception has halted and damaged the lives of two of its passengers.
One of them, Meg Campbell, had fled from home in a hurry after an altercation with her brother, who had become churlish, moody, and demanding after an accident that left him without much use of his legs years ago. Now she will have to go back home and face him again.
Gordon Shaw is a newspaper man passing through Stirling. He used to live there but a thoughtless and harmful act on his part hurt someone else there several years ago, and he has been living under its shadow ever since.
At first Meg and Gordon do not recognize each their or their shared histories, and once they do, they feel it best to cover it all up again with lies to Meg’s family. But deception never leads to healing. Is there any chance this wreath, this impasse, in the lives of all involved can be removed?
This book was a perfect Christmas read. Since it is a novella, it’s not overly long or involved, but the characters and plot are well-developed. The ending is what you would hope, without being sappy. This season when we sing of peace on earth and goodwill to men can be fraught with conflict and a long history of hard feelings, and the truths of this story encourage readers to seek peace with each other.