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The Hope of Christmas Past

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When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future? On the brink of aging out the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future? On the brink of aging out the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the nineteenth century, Isla is forced to face hurts and memories she’s long tried to bury. With time running out and her heart in tatters, can God use an impossible miracle to bring Isla hope for a new future?


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When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future? On the brink of aging out the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future? On the brink of aging out the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the nineteenth century, Isla is forced to face hurts and memories she’s long tried to bury. With time running out and her heart in tatters, can God use an impossible miracle to bring Isla hope for a new future?

30 review for The Hope of Christmas Past

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I've never had a miss with this author's books, ever. She always keeps them fresh and exciting! A young girl weeks away from turning eighteen and aging out of the adoption system is bitter. Feeling she's caused her parents death and afraid to let her guard down and love and be loved since the relationship won't "last." I absolutely love old plantation homes and mansions and have toured as many as I could and look forward to touring so many more. Belmont Plantation sounds like a dream. When I'm in I've never had a miss with this author's books, ever. She always keeps them fresh and exciting! A young girl weeks away from turning eighteen and aging out of the adoption system is bitter. Feeling she's caused her parents death and afraid to let her guard down and love and be loved since the relationship won't "last." I absolutely love old plantation homes and mansions and have toured as many as I could and look forward to touring so many more. Belmont Plantation sounds like a dream. When I'm in the plantation homes I can always picture myself living there and what life would have been like back then. I loved the festive descriptions in this book and could truly picture myself there. A time travel book I believe you will enjoy reading the modern times as much as traveling back in time with our main character. Getting advice from a character from the past helps her to accept who she is and realize she has what she needs right here. Loved the characters and flow of the story. The hope of Christmas past gives her hope for the future. Couldn't have picked a better title! Very encouraging and I advise you to read In His Eyes ti find out more about the character Ella. Loved this book! Expected publication: November 1st 2019 by By The Vine Press. I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    This was such a sweet novella! I really enjoyed it! This story idea was so unique and original. I loved it! I enjoyed this trip back to Belmont. I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to write a review. The thoughts and comments are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)

    A time traveling Christmas novella that takes me back to one of my favorite settings from McGee!? Yes please! I was so eager to read this lovely Christmas story and I'm happy to report it did not disappoint. From the beginning McGee had my heart. I knew where the setting was taking me, but I was pleasantly surprised with the foster mom part of the story. Yes, I read the book blurb, but I wasn't sure what the dynamic would be between Ilsa and her foster mom. I could feel for both of these ladies, A time traveling Christmas novella that takes me back to one of my favorite settings from McGee!? Yes please! I was so eager to read this lovely Christmas story and I'm happy to report it did not disappoint. From the beginning McGee had my heart. I knew where the setting was taking me, but I was pleasantly surprised with the foster mom part of the story. Yes, I read the book blurb, but I wasn't sure what the dynamic would be between Ilsa and her foster mom. I could feel for both of these ladies, and couldn't read fast enough to see how their relationship ended up. Ilsa had a lot of growing up to do, but perhaps most important was for her to understand her place in the world, and how to love others. She had a lot of hurt, and I was curious to see how McGee could show such character growth and development in such a short period of time. But with the help of a special painting, Ella, and Belmont Plantation, McGee beautifully grows this character. There wasn't a moment my heart wasn't happy to be back at Belmont with old characters I love - especially Ella. With vivid descriptions, poetic faith themes, and wonderfully written characters, readers are in for a treat with this beautiful Christmas story! Highly recommend reading. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    A Christian Time Travel??? Well, let’s suspend disbelief for now and enjoy this novella! This was a unique story about a foster child, Isla, who is about to “age-out” of the system. She is a Christian but she has trust and self-worth issues. Jody, her latest foster Mom has invited Isla to the historical Belmont Mansion B&B for a Christmas trip. Looking at a beautiful painting in the music room, Isla is transported back into the 1800’s where she meets Ella, a woman who looks enough like her A Christian Time Travel??? Well, let’s suspend disbelief for now and enjoy this novella! This was a unique story about a foster child, Isla, who is about to “age-out” of the system. She is a Christian but she has trust and self-worth issues. Jody, her latest foster Mom has invited Isla to the historical Belmont Mansion B&B for a Christmas trip. Looking at a beautiful painting in the music room, Isla is transported back into the 1800’s where she meets Ella, a woman who looks enough like her to be her mother. Isla is there to learn a lesson and grow in her faith. The scripture “God is the Father of the fatherless and protector of widows.” keeps coming to Isla’s mind. “In that moment, love filled her in a way she hadn’t experienced before. It filled her from deep within, as though God opened her heart to pour love inside and then got distracted until it overflowed onto everything else.” This small story packs a punch with vivid imagery and it was fun to see a 21st Century girl trying to cope with no technology and the customs of the 1800’s. It was very well written and had a great spiritual message. A bonus at the end are Scottish Recipes. *I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tina "IRead2Escape"

    What a sweet uplifting story to remind us how much God loves and wants us to trust in his plan for us. Poor Isla has given up hope on ever having a family. Raised in the foster system she's just about to "age out" and she's been paired with a foster mom who seems to be everything a girl could want. Isla finds herself continually pushing her away and refusing to accept the love that she so genuinely seems to want to share. Well, they say God works in mysterious ways and that's exactly what he What a sweet uplifting story to remind us how much God loves and wants us to trust in his plan for us. Poor Isla has given up hope on ever having a family. Raised in the foster system she's just about to "age out" and she's been paired with a foster mom who seems to be everything a girl could want. Isla finds herself continually pushing her away and refusing to accept the love that she so genuinely seems to want to share. Well, they say God works in mysterious ways and that's exactly what he does for Isla. One minute she's looking at a painting and the next minute she's fallen through it back in time. Isla needed a sign that she should let go of the guilt of her parent's death and to learn to trust again and God gave her that sign in an undeniable way. The author is very clear on not reading The Hope of Christmas Past as an opinion of God using time travel to carry out his plan. She states that you should read this book for the fanciful notion of time travel that has a beautiful Christian message and I for one loved it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beth Erin

    Full review and the first line featured on FaithfullyBookish.com The Hope of Christmas Past is a sweet and inspiring afternoon read filled with moments of laughter and sprinkled with happy tears. Aside from the tastefully executed time-slip element, Isla's story reads much like an encouraging coming of age story. The author's portrayal of this young lady's heart and jumbled emotions are genuine and relatable. Messages of hope, belonging, and love soothe the bittersweet longings for loved ones out Full review and the first line featured on FaithfullyBookish.com The Hope of Christmas Past is a sweet and inspiring afternoon read filled with moments of laughter and sprinkled with happy tears. Aside from the tastefully executed time-slip element, Isla's story reads much like an encouraging coming of age story. The author's portrayal of this young lady's heart and jumbled emotions are genuine and relatable. Messages of hope, belonging, and love soothe the bittersweet longings for loved ones out of reach or situations beyond our control. What a wonderful story for young ladies to enjoy with their sisters, mothers, and grandmothers! This story reminded me to cherish the peace God graces us with as believers. I highly recommend this story! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    The Hope Of Christmas Past by Stephenia H McGee is a delightful Christian timeslip novella that will warm your heart. There are all the elements to make a perfect Christmas wrapped up in tantalising descriptions. A warm welcome awaits the reader. Themes of taking care of widows and orphans, and the all encompassing love of God swell the reader’s heart. God loves us forever and always, even when we think we have messed up. His love is unconditional. Christmas is the time for snow and miracles and The Hope Of Christmas Past by Stephenia H McGee is a delightful Christian timeslip novella that will warm your heart. There are all the elements to make a perfect Christmas wrapped up in tantalising descriptions. A warm welcome awaits the reader. Themes of taking care of widows and orphans, and the all encompassing love of God swell the reader’s heart. God loves us forever and always, even when we think we have messed up. His love is unconditional. Christmas is the time for snow and miracles and love. The Hope Of Christmas Past is a most charming tale that will entertain you and leave you feeling good. I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    jospeh jack

    BUY THIS BOOK!! IT CAPTURES A READER AND THE STORYLINE IS SPECTACULAR! A SPECTACULAR BOOK THAT TOUCHES YOUR HEART AND SOUL! A IMAGINATIVE STORY THAT WILL CARRY YOU ALONG !I'M VERY JOYOUS TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO READ THIS BOOK! I SINCERELY HOPE THAT MANY OTHER PEOPLE READ THIS AND BUY THIS! BUY THIS BOOK!😍! IT CAPTURES A READER AND THE STORYLINE IS SPECTACULAR! A SPECTACULAR BOOK THAT TOUCHES YOUR ❤ HEART AND SOUL! A IMAGINATIVE STORY THAT WILL CARRY YOU ALONG !I'M VERY JOYOUS TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO READ THIS BOOK! I SINCERELY HOPE THAT MANY OTHER PEOPLE READ THIS AND BUY THIS!😍

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    A sweet and fun story of the fear of aging out of the foster system with a bit of time travel mixed in. Author Stephenia H. McGee has written a charming story where readers will be able to connect to the emotions of the main character, especially her fears of aging out of the foster care system. With a bit of time travel mixed in where the main character meets some of her family from the past, the main character comes to learn that is she is loved and wanted and there is hope for a miracle of A sweet and fun story of the fear of aging out of the foster system with a bit of time travel mixed in. Author Stephenia H. McGee has written a charming story where readers will be able to connect to the emotions of the main character, especially her fears of aging out of the foster care system. With a bit of time travel mixed in where the main character meets some of her family from the past, the main character comes to learn that is she is loved and wanted and there is hope for a miracle of home and family. Genre: Christian romance, inspirational Publisher: By the Vine Press Publication date: November 1, 2019 Number of pages: 102 An ecopy of this book was purchased for review. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I don't normally read time travel books, because I've always thought it just didn't fit in with my favorite Genre', Historical Romance. Well, I gave it a shot with Miss Stephenia's book, Her Place in Time, and I loved it. Just as I loved this one. Of course this isn't a romance story, but it is about love and acceptance. Miss Stephenia has a way with time, yes, but she has an even better grasp on time travel and how to fit the two different time periods together to weave a wonderful story for all I don't normally read time travel books, because I've always thought it just didn't fit in with my favorite Genre', Historical Romance. Well, I gave it a shot with Miss Stephenia's book, Her Place in Time, and I loved it. Just as I loved this one. Of course this isn't a romance story, but it is about love and acceptance. Miss Stephenia has a way with time, yes, but she has an even better grasp on time travel and how to fit the two different time periods together to weave a wonderful story for all to enjoy. The story is clean and presented nicely so that any age may enjoy a story that carries you into the past right along with the character in question. Isla Laird is about to turn 18 years old and will age out of the Foster care system and will be on her own. Isla refuses to bond with her current Foster mother because what was the point? She will be aging out soon, therefore, she is sullen and apprehensive about a Christmas trip to Belmont Plantation with her Foster mother. While examining an old painting, Isla is suddenly transported to the past. To Belmont Plantation as it was back in the nineteenth century. The people there are so much different than the people Isla is used to, but she warms to their offer of friendship. If I have whet your appetite, pick up a copy of The Hope of Christmas Past by Stephenia H. McGee and find out what Isla finds at the old Belmont Plantation. Enjoy! FTC Disclosure: An ebook was provided by the author. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    E

    The Hope of Christmas Past is an amazing story of finding peace, hope, and family. I was hooked the moment I started reading and I did not want to stop. Isla is perfectly portrayed as teen who is being foisted into adulthood and doesn't know what to do about it. Isla's past forced her to grow up far too quickly and now that she will soon be considered an adult and forced to become truly alone she is lost within her hurt and so burdened that she can't see the hope right in front of her. The The Hope of Christmas Past is an amazing story of finding peace, hope, and family. I was hooked the moment I started reading and I did not want to stop. Isla is perfectly portrayed as teen who is being foisted into adulthood and doesn't know what to do about it. Isla's past forced her to grow up far too quickly and now that she will soon be considered an adult and forced to become truly alone she is lost within her hurt and so burdened that she can't see the hope right in front of her. The mysterious elements were wonderfully written and I absolutely loved how unexpected some things were. I can't wait to reread this novella when it finally gets to be around Christmastime, but of course, by then I will have already read it a million times over but one or two or ten more times wouldn't be a hardship with glistening snow outside, Christmas music playing, and a cup of hot lavender tea. I have always loved McGee's novels and lately, I have loved them even more, her writing is becoming even more amazing and her books are shining with Truth and Hope, I can't wait to see what her next books will have to offer. With breathtaking plots and character's that will induce smiles at the sweetness of moments and heartbreak because of a character's pain or grave mistakes, Mcgee's carefully crafted worlds are rich with history and filled with the Truth that only comes through Jesus Christ.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I love this author's books and I try never to miss one!! I loved this story so much!! Stephenia is a very talented writer and her style of writing is wonderful. I love it because of the ability to draw you into the book from the opening page! Almost reminds me of a Mary Poppins type of story. I won't say why because it will give away the story and I don't want to do that!! The characters in this story are wonderful and exciting! They're also easy to make friends with well all except one. Isla was I love this author's books and I try never to miss one!! I loved this story so much!! Stephenia is a very talented writer and her style of writing is wonderful. I love it because of the ability to draw you into the book from the opening page! Almost reminds me of a Mary Poppins type of story. I won't say why because it will give away the story and I don't want to do that!! The characters in this story are wonderful and exciting! They're also easy to make friends with well all except one. Isla was a little harder to get to know than Ella and the others. Isla has one big chip on her shoulder but as you read along you'll see why. I did love to watch her become someone I knew she could be. In fact there are some things that I really admired about her. I love adventure and this one is no different!! I've never visited any old homes so this book has enabled me to do that. But still, it's not the same as if I were actually seeing it for myself and getting the feel of who might've lived there etc. I want to strongly recommend this book because it is so good and it will leave you on the edge of your seat wanting to see what happens next! I received a complementary copy of this book with NO compensations received. All opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Sluiter

    Oh my! Author Stephenia McGee certainly knows how to write an intriguing, split time story. She wonderfully ties two time periods together, making her story easy to follow. This novella reminds us that life isn’t always easy as McGee writes about a young woman who is in the foster care system. She just wants someone to be her forever family, yet feels that will never happen and pushes her foster mother away. But it’s Christmas, the time for miracles and Isla has an adventure ahead! With a Oh my! Author Stephenia McGee certainly knows how to write an intriguing, split time story. She wonderfully ties two time periods together, making her story easy to follow. This novella reminds us that life isn’t always easy as McGee writes about a young woman who is in the foster care system. She just wants someone to be her forever family, yet feels that will never happen and pushes her foster mother away. But it’s Christmas, the time for miracles and Isla has an adventure ahead! With a challenging subject handled well, this story of hope will warm your heart. A page turner, I highly recommend it if you enjoy a wonderful Christmas story, split time or historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I really enjoyed this novella. A time travel story that was fun and unique with wonderful characters. The old Belmont plantation was the perfect place for Isla and her foster Mom, Jody, at Christmas, even though Isla didn’t think so. When Isla “fell” into a different time and visited Ella from the past I knew this was going to be a wonderful book. Isla learned a lesson but would that make her realize the truth? This book has a spiritual aspect that we can all learn and was very intriguing. I I really enjoyed this novella. A time travel story that was fun and unique with wonderful characters. The old Belmont plantation was the perfect place for Isla and her foster Mom, Jody, at Christmas, even though Isla didn’t think so. When Isla “fell” into a different time and visited Ella from the past I knew this was going to be a wonderful book. Isla learned a lesson but would that make her realize the truth? This book has a spiritual aspect that we can all learn and was very intriguing. I received a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    What a sweet novella! I love time travel stories, and Stephenia H McGee really knows how to write compelling time travel stories (Her Place in Time is another amazing story), and she really has perfected the novella format of drawing you in immediately into a short story. I really enjoyed The Hope of Christmas Past. Isla, the main character is about to age out of the foster system after losing her parents at a young age. What's the point of getting close to her latest foster mom? She finds What a sweet novella! I love time travel stories, and Stephenia H McGee really knows how to write compelling time travel stories (Her Place in Time is another amazing story), and she really has perfected the novella format of drawing you in immediately into a short story. I really enjoyed The Hope of Christmas Past. Isla, the main character is about to age out of the foster system after losing her parents at a young age. What's the point of getting close to her latest foster mom? She finds healing in the most unexpected places! Check it out, you know you want to. I was given an advanced copy of this book with no obligation to post a positive review. All thoughts and comments are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Judy Christiana

    The was the first book I read by this author. I enjoyed her writing style very much. I am open to some fantasy in the books I read, and I enjoyed the time travel aspect of this story. It serves a purpose and helped the character see her world through different eyes and come to a decision that might have taken a while longer. I enjoyed this Christmas novella and I recommend it. I plan to explore the author's other books after reading this short story. It was a good introduction to her work.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janice Sisemore

    The Hope of Christmas past Isla and her foster mom goes to bed and breakfast to spend a few days. Isla is getting very close to eighteen when will be out of the foster care system. What will she do then? While at the bed and breakfast Isla ends up going back in time to the 1800’s. She learned a lot from the family there. Will she make it back to the present time? This a short story that has a lot of meaning to it. I really loved the concept of the story. I received a complimentary copy of the The Hope of Christmas past Isla and her foster mom goes to bed and breakfast to spend a few days. Isla is getting very close to eighteen when will be out of the foster care system. What will she do then? While at the bed and breakfast Isla ends up going back in time to the 1800’s. She learned a lot from the family there. Will she make it back to the present time? This a short story that has a lot of meaning to it. I really loved the concept of the story. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author. This book review is my own opinion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    PAMpublish

    Always enjoy a time travel novella, in this inspiring book with a lovely cover and alluring title. It takes a trip to the past for a teen, about to age out of the foster system, to appreciate her current foster mother despite past difficult experiences. With her challenges of returning to the present, she becomes desperate to make amends, having learned her lessons in life. Good clean adventure, recommended to readers of all ages who enjoy this genre.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Bryant

    The Hope of Christmas Past is a beautiful, enjoyable story. Through believable characters, vivid descriptions, and an extraordinary plot, Ms. McGee has crafted a very inspiring story of hope, trust, and family ties. It was fun getting reacquainted with Ella from In His Eyes, one of my favorite books by Ms. McGee. I highly recommend this Christmas Novella. I was given an advanced copy of this book with no obligation to post a positive review. All thoughts and comments are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joan Arning

    Time travel is not my favorite genre but The Hope of Christmas Past was an enjoyable read! My heart went out to orphan Isla Laird who has been in multiple foster homes and is now going to age out! She just wants to feel loved! Isla and her foster mother, Jody, are great characters! Ella, from the past, is a caring mother figure. You will enjoy this Christmas novella. I received a complimentary e-book from the author. This is my honest opinion,

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I would rate this book higher if I could. It has an obnoxious, hurt teenager trying to make sense of her life. Time travel back to the 1800, a very different lifestyle and finding meaning to her life. The reassurance of love from those around her & that family comes in many disguises. I loved this book, & read it from beginning to end in one sitting. Stephanie has once again written a great book, an interesting storyline that succeeded. I received an advance copy of this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    What an incredibly unique and lovely story! A time-travel Christmas novella? Yes, please! I really enjoyed the spiritual content and the joy of this story. Very enjoyable! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hulah

    A very unique and charming story. I really enjoyed the time travel element; well thought out and vividly described. If you are looking for something a little different from a typical Christmas story; look no further.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    The Hope of Christmas Past Very interesting and entertaining storyline about an orphan teenager who has lived in foster homes for years and feels unloved and unwanted especially at Christmas time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Stephenia H McGee has once again written a beautiful story. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy a sweet and inspiring Christmas story. Five stars. I received this book from the kindle unlimited program. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Knudsen

    I definitely enjoyed this book and even wished it was longer. I appreciated how the author handled a somewhat difficult issue of foster care and young people aging out of the system. This was my first book by this author but it won’t be the last!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janet Gangwer

    Quick, sweet Christmas read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Boyd

    History mixed with a little time travel fantasy-some of my favorite things. Love it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I enjoyed The Hope of Christmas Past by Stephenia H. McGee. Thought provoking and imaginative novella. Wouldn't it be exciting to journey into the past and discover how life used to be. Great characters and a lovely story with family, dealing with loss and a new beginning. Isla and her foster mother go to an old plantation for Christmas holiday, where she finds a portrait and is taken back into the nineteenth century. What she finds there will change her life. Looking forward for more by this I enjoyed The Hope of Christmas Past by Stephenia H. McGee. Thought provoking and imaginative novella. Wouldn't it be exciting to journey into the past and discover how life used to be. Great characters and a lovely story with family, dealing with loss and a new beginning. Isla and her foster mother go to an old plantation for Christmas holiday, where she finds a portrait and is taken back into the nineteenth century. What she finds there will change her life. Looking forward for more by this author. I received this novella from Stephenia H. McGee and all opinions are my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shamekka

    Sweet story I really enjoyed this Christmas tale that taught a valuable lesson to a young girl who wasn’t use to unconditionally love. I could relate to Isla in many ways and it reminded me that love and family comes in many forms.

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