Category Archives: Christmas Hope Series

Review: The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Title: The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere
Christmas Hope Series Book Eleven
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical (’70s), Inspirantional
Length: 240 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From Donna VanLiere, the New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series comes another heartwarming, inspirational story for the holidays, The Christmas Table.

In June 1972, John Creighton determines to build his wife Joan a kitchen table. His largest project to date had been picture frames but he promises to have the table ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Inspired to put something delicious on the table, Joan turns to her mother’s recipes she had given to Joan when she and John married.

In June 2012, Lauren Mabrey discovers she’s pregnant. Gloria, Miriam, and the rest of her friends at Glory’s Place begin to pitch in, helping Lauren prepare their home for the baby. On a visit to the local furniture builder, Lauren finds a table that he bought at a garage sale but has recently refinished. Once home, a drawer is discovered under the table which contains a stack of recipe cards. Growing up in one foster home after another, Lauren never learned to cook and is fascinated as she reads through the cards. Personal notes have been written on each one from the mother to her daughter and time and again Lauren wonders where they lived, when they lived, and in a strange way, she feels connected to this mother and her daughter and wants to make the mother proud.

The story continues to from 1972 to 2012 as Joan battles breast cancer and Lauren learns to cook, preparing for the baby’s arrival. As Christmas nears, can Lauren unlock the mystery of the table, and find the peace she’s always longed for?


The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere is a heartwarming inspirational novel that is very uplifting. Although this newest release is the eleventh novel in the Christmas Hope series, it can be read as a standalone.

Lauren Mabrey and her husband Travis are surprised but happy to find they are having a baby.  But Lauren, who grew up in foster care, is a little nervous about becoming a mom. She is also fretting over the fact that she seems to be missing the home decorating gene. Luckily her close circle of friends are thrilled to help her decorate the house. 

While their house is mostly furnished, Lauren and Travis are lacking a kitchen table.  With her friends assistance, she locates and purchases a beautiful table that has been refurbished. Lauren and Travis are astonished when he finds a bunch of recipe cards in a drawer under the table. Lauren begins making some of the recipes but she strongly feels she needs to locate the previous owner of the table.  With very little information to go on, she and Travis set out to see if they can locate the family.

In 1972, Joan and John Creighton are happily married with two young children.  While John is making a kitchen table for his wife, Joan is finally using the recipe cards her mom gave to her. She includes the kids as she prepares delicious meals and makes scrumptious desserts.  But a stunning breast cancer diagnosis soon turns their world upside down. As Joan undergoes treatment for the devastating disease, John finds faith and comfort in his newly discovered faith.

The Christmas Table is a heartening novel of family, friendship and faith. The characters are likable but Joan and John are more fully developed. The storyline is engaging with the narrative shifting back and forth in time. Both story arcs are interesting, but John and Joan’s story is more compelling. Donna VanLiere brings this charming inspirational novel to lovely conclusion that readers are going to love. A lovely holiday read that old and new fans of the Christmas Hope series will enjoy.

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Filed under Christmas Hope Series, Contemporary, Donna VanLiere, Historical, Historical (70s), Inspirational, Rated B, Review, The Christmas Table