I’ve always found the idea of Christmas in July a challenging one. After all, summer is the time for picnics on the grass, reading at the beach, backyard cookouts, vacations, lemonade, hammocks…
However, I know there are many people who start to plan — and shop? — for Christmas in July — people who, though perhaps reluctant to admit it, feel a mild frisson to know that in a few short months, they will be wrapping presents, decorating a tree, and baking Christmas cookies. So for those people, I give you the opening paragraphs of the final book in my Christmastime series: Christmastime 1945: A Love Story (available this fall).
The snow fell softly over Manhattan as Lillian Drooms hurried home. She was still smiling from her meeting with Mrs. Huntington and the art director of children’s books. Her drawings had been well received and Mrs. Huntington hinted that Lillian had a good chance at being selected to illustrate a children’s adventure series – she would love nothing more! Happiness and Christmas were in the air, and wanting to catch even more of the holiday spirit, Lillian decided to walk up Fifth Avenue and then cross through Central Park on her way home.
The crowds thickened as she neared and then turned onto the Avenue. All around her the sense of excitement was palpable – in the carolers and newspaper boys, in the honking and braking of traffic, in the calls from the vendors: “Hot chestnuts! Pretzels!” Workers rushed from jobs, couples walked arm in arm, shoppers ducked in and out of stores, their arms laden with packages and shopping bags, and groups of servicemen explored Manhattan while they awaited their final train or bus ride home.
Lillian took a moment to look around her at the bustling city, so alive! And this was just one avenue. She knew the harbor and piers, and Grand Central and Penn Stations bustled with returning soldiers. The roads into and around New York City were crowded as never before – the city was bursting at its seams with life and happiness. At long last, the war was over! And this first Christmas after the war was sure to be a memorable one.
Bumped and jostled by the throng of people, Lillian tucked herself into a doorway to take in the post-war Christmas euphoria. The very air tingled with promise and future, and she smiled out at the swirl of commotion. She observed the faces passing by, all united by a sense of cheerfulness and gratitude. A soldier and a young woman passed by, briefly stopping to embrace and kiss. Across from her, a family, with the father in uniform, stopped to buy bags of roasted peanuts from a street vendor. An older couple laughed as they nearly collided with a ho-ho-hoing Santa Claus bell ringer. Down the block, a cluster of sailors pointed and gawked at the skyscrapers, and across the avenue, a group of WACs – such smart, confident women – chatted with a group of soldiers.
Lillian stepped back out into the stream of people but continued to look all about her. The signs of Christmas were everywhere – wreaths and decorations appeared in nearly all the windows and doors, along with red ribbons and garlands of shimmery tinsel. After the gray of war, everything seemed to be in color. Was it her imagination? Was it her own happiness coloring the world? No, indeed, the dresses in the department store windows boasted brighter shades, and young women sported bolder makeup, brighter lipstick that suited their flashing smiles. And the lights! Strings of colored bulbs shone everywhere – outlining windows and doorways and awnings. It was the first time Christmas lights were used freely since before the war and no one was holding back.
The war was over, Christmas was in the air, and Charles would be home soon! Lillian took a deep breath, checking herself, not trusting to such perfect happiness. She would muster the calm and pragmatism that had gotten her through the war years. Charles was not home yet – in fact, she hadn’t heard from him for several weeks. It could be January or February or later before his arrival. But he would be home – and he would never have to leave her again.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of Christmas in July.
If there are any readers, book bloggers, or book clubs who would be interested in writing reviews for my series, please let me know (email me at Linda@LindaMahkovec.com) and I’ll send you a link to my ebooks. My goal this year is to increase my reviews, especially on Amazon. To those followers who have already left reviews, THANK YOU!! and let me know if you would like to review my other books — The Garden House, The Dreams of Youth, and Seven Tales of Love.
I hope the rest of your summer is lovely, relaxing, and filled with much happiness.
15 thoughts on “Christmas in July (and seeking book reviewers)”
Oh Linda I am so excited for your next book in the series, but I am so sad it’s the last book in the series. I just loved the previous books.
Hi Karina –
Thank you for that sentiment. I’m also sad that the series is ending – but there are other books crying out to be written.
So as soon as the 1945 book is finished, it’s on to those other books. Thank you for all your support over the years!
You are such a storyteller! I can’t wait to read it!! I, of course, will post my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The cover is enchanting. And now the whole entire series standing up all together on their very own stage, looking all magical, quite mysterious and so so intriguing. What an accomplishment! Your devoted fan!!! Esther Krivda
Thank you, Esther!! So glad you’ve enjoyed the series!
I have recently started writing reviews again (it’s been a few years). I would love to add “Christmas in July ” to my list.
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I would love to have you as a reviewer of my Christmastime series. Please send your email address to Linda@LindaMahkovec.com and I will send you the first book in the series via BookFunnel.
Thank you so much for your response.
I haven’t read any of your books at this time. I would love to read and review one of your books as a way to get to know you.
Hi “mizmta” – Thank you for your response. I’ll send you the first book in the Christmastime series. Please let me know if you enjoy it and I’ll send others. Many thanks. Linda
Please send your email address to Linda@LindaMahkovec.com
I found you via Facebook and read the first chapter of Christmas 1945 that you so graciously posted. I am a teacher who is an avid reader and use my summer break to catch up not only on housework but books! I would love to read more of your series. I have been reading several WW2 historical fiction novels this summer.
Hi Margo –
I’d love to have you review my books. I’ve been delighted by the number of teachers who have responded! Please send me your email address to Linda@LindaMahkovec.com and I’ll send you the first books in the series. Let me know if you enjoy them, and I’ll be happy to send the others.
I would love to read your book! Very interested in WW 2 stories and I love All things Christmas. Would be a great intro to your writings.
Hi Karen –
I would love to have you read and review my Christmastime books. Please send your email address to Linda@LindaMahkovec.com and I’ll send you the first two books through BookFunnel. If you enjoy them, let me know and I’ll the others to you as I upload them to BookFunnel. Thank you!
I am a teacher who has reviewed many school level award winning books over the years. I have really enjoyed that. I love everything about Christmas.I have followed southern living stories and holiday traditions ever since my. Husband’s cousin was a writer for them. I am looking forward spending my retirement years visiting the many Christmas traditions. In the U.S. I would love to review yearbook and read your other ones.
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Hi Diane –
I would love to have you for a reviewer. I’ll send you the first few books of the Christmastime series through BookFunnel. Let me know if you enjoy them and I’ll send the others as I upload them to BookFunnel. Thank you so much for reaching out to me.
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