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A Christmas by the Sea

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When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is c When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist. Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday.


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When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is c When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist. Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday.

30 review for A Christmas by the Sea

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    Even though this is only a novella length book at 167 pages it truly packs a wallop. Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody's newest holiday read and for a small book it's packed to the brim with fabulous stuff! Melody weaves together a tale of what it really means to be at home no matter where you are. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago and inheriting her grandparents beach house is a true blessing. Planning on fixing it and quickly se Even though this is only a novella length book at 167 pages it truly packs a wallop. Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody's newest holiday read and for a small book it's packed to the brim with fabulous stuff! Melody weaves together a tale of what it really means to be at home no matter where you are. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago and inheriting her grandparents beach house is a true blessing. Planning on fixing it and quickly selling it and moving back to Ohio she doesn't plan on her son,Jackson falling in love with the house and area. She puts off telling him she plans on selling because he feels so happy there and she doesn't want to ruin it for him. Jackson, a very helpful and mature teen though and I do believe he knew what was going on the whole time. What could be better than spending the holiday season in a gorgeous beach town that feels like home and the bonus of a new possible romance for Wendy. A friendly and slobbery dog rounds out the picture but will Wendy be able to financially support her small family with the crafts she makes or will she and her heartbroken son have to return to Ohio? Beautiful story about spiritual and personal growth. Pub Date 04 Sep 2018 Thank you to Revell for a complimentary copy through Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody Carlson's newest holiday book. It was a quick story (only 167 pages) but it was packed with emotion, family love, and second chances. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago from cancer. Left with medical bills and student loans, finding out that she had inherited her grandparent's beach house seems like a true blessing. Heading to the small town of Seaside, Wendy plans on fixing it up the cottage and q Every Christmas season I look forward to Melody Carlson's newest holiday book. It was a quick story (only 167 pages) but it was packed with emotion, family love, and second chances. Wendy and her son are struggling financially after her husband died several years ago from cancer. Left with medical bills and student loans, finding out that she had inherited her grandparent's beach house seems like a true blessing. Heading to the small town of Seaside, Wendy plans on fixing it up the cottage and quickly selling it and moving back to Ohio. What she doesn't plan on is that her son Jackson will fall in love with the cottage, the town and the people. A friendly and slobbery dog rounds out the picture of the new home that Jackson is hoping will be theirs. With the help of local craftsman, Caleb, Wendy tries to make a living using her craft skills and shells she and Jackson find so she can remain in Seaside. When Jackson finds out that his mother wants to move back to Ohio, he does what an adolescent does, he tries to force his mother's hand. Will Wendy be able to financially support her small family with the crafts she makes or will she and her heartbroken son have to return to Ohio? This is a sweet story of family, second chances, independence and romance. What could be better than spending the holiday season in a gorgeous beach town that feels like home and the bonus of a new possible romance for Wendy. Can God answer their prayers to be able to start a new life in this small town that feels more like home than Ohio ever did. The story flows beautifully and is well paced. The characters in the story are all helpful in trying to get Wendy and Jackson to stay, all except for the pretty Crystal, who seems to have her own feelings for Caleb. This is a beautiful story about spiritual and personal growth. A magical Christmas story that can be read in a day by a warm fire. The publisher, Revell, provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Chapel

    Every year I always make it a point to read Melody Carlson's latest Christmas Novel. I have never read one that I didn't like. This year Melody takes her characters from Cincinnati Ohio to Seaside Maine. Wendy Harper lost her husband to cancer about four years before her Grandpa, who she called Poppa, passed away. He left her his cottage by the ocean in Seaside Maine. Wendy and her twelve year old son travel to Seaside to visit the cottage. Wendy was left with a lot of her husband's medical bills Every year I always make it a point to read Melody Carlson's latest Christmas Novel. I have never read one that I didn't like. This year Melody takes her characters from Cincinnati Ohio to Seaside Maine. Wendy Harper lost her husband to cancer about four years before her Grandpa, who she called Poppa, passed away. He left her his cottage by the ocean in Seaside Maine. Wendy and her twelve year old son travel to Seaside to visit the cottage. Wendy was left with a lot of her husband's medical bills and both of their college loans to pay off. She planned to fix the cottage up and have it ready to list for sale. Her plans were to have it sold before Christmas and be back at her job in Cincinnati. Seaside property should make a nice profit and enable Wendy to pay off her debts. Jackson, that's her son, wanted to live at the cottage and stay in Seaside. But Wendy couldn't see how she could provide for their needs working at a tourist town. How can she break this news to Jackson? He loves the ocean and makes friends with some of the youth there. But what can she do? Does she really have a choice? And then there's Caleb Colton who happens to cross Wendy's path everywhere she goes. Good looking blue eyed Caleb Colton who happens to be a bachelor that at least one other woman in town has her eyes on. This story was a very good Christmas read. It didn't disappoint. All fans of Melody Carlson would like this novel. If you enjoy contemporary romance this is for you. It's also Christian Fiction which means there's no swearing or bedroom scenes in the story. I highly recommend it to be part of your Christmas reading .

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    I read Melody's Christmas novellas every year. And they put me in such a great mood. I love them and each one is so different than the last. This years Christmas novella was such a sweet one. I love happy endings to so this was right up my alley. I feel in love with Jackson and I hope that you will love his story and his cottage by the sea. This is a 5 star must read. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and I read Melody's Christmas novellas every year. And they put me in such a great mood. I love them and each one is so different than the last. This years Christmas novella was such a sweet one. I love happy endings to so this was right up my alley. I feel in love with Jackson and I hope that you will love his story and his cottage by the sea. This is a 5 star must read. I HIGHLY recommend this one. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    I was immediately drawn to this cover and title. Christmas and the sea...double "yes!" I loved the sweetness of this story, weaving in family and friend relationships (and of course, romance) in a perfect way. I enjoyed Wendy and Jackson's interaction, and Caleb was especially endearing. It was nice to read a clean romance, where the couple actually have a friendship. There are two kisses, not detailed at all, and some attraction, but I found it sweet. The setting was amazing! I especially loved I was immediately drawn to this cover and title. Christmas and the sea...double "yes!" I loved the sweetness of this story, weaving in family and friend relationships (and of course, romance) in a perfect way. I enjoyed Wendy and Jackson's interaction, and Caleb was especially endearing. It was nice to read a clean romance, where the couple actually have a friendship. There are two kisses, not detailed at all, and some attraction, but I found it sweet. The setting was amazing! I especially loved the scene when Wendy and Jackson were finding sand dollars along the beach :) Although light, spiritual content was woven through the story and fit with the events in the characters lives. One character got a little irritating, and there is an issue with communication with some characters, but all in all, I highly recommend this story. The perfect book to get you ready for the Christmas season! *This book was provided courtesy of Baker publishing through Interviews & Reviews*

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    It wasn't snowing this week, but we did have a dark, cool, rainy day that felt a little winterish. It felt close enough to the Christmas season that it was the perfect day to get my tea and curl up and read A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson. A Christmas by the Sea is the story of Wendy and her son Jackson Harper. After Wendy's husband died a few years before from cancer, Wendy was left with mounting debts. Then she inherits her grandparents' cottage in Seaside, Maine. Wendy sees this as a It wasn't snowing this week, but we did have a dark, cool, rainy day that felt a little winterish. It felt close enough to the Christmas season that it was the perfect day to get my tea and curl up and read A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson. A Christmas by the Sea is the story of Wendy and her son Jackson Harper. After Wendy's husband died a few years before from cancer, Wendy was left with mounting debts. Then she inherits her grandparents' cottage in Seaside, Maine. Wendy sees this as a way to finally pay off her debts. However, Jackson sees it as a place to get a fresh start with fresh, new memories. Wendy wants her son to be happy but she doesn't know what else to do. But maybe God has something else in mind? A Christmas by the Sea was a sweet feel-good novella. I enjoyed this story and genuinely liked the characters. However, I did get a little frustrated by the communication struggles, but I have seen enough poor communication in families around me to find that the story was believable, especially since they felt they were helping someone by not sharing the complete truth. I do wish we could have had more romance going on but then this wouldn't be a novella like it was supposed to be. Yes, the ending was expected but this was just the kind of story I wanted on the dreary day that I read it. Sometimes we all need a little "feel good" story in our life and this story doesn't disappoint on that end. I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    Another sweet Christmas read by Melody Carlson. I enjoyed seeing Wendy work with her son, Jackson, to restore the summer cottage that had belonged to her grandparents and was filled with fond memories. Caleb was a warm hearted hero who cared a lot about both Wendy and Jackson. A very predictable ending which was a bit rushed just to wind up this novella as she had only known Caleb for two weeks, so this felt a bit unrealistic and financially unsound. Focus was God's provision. A sweet, quick rea Another sweet Christmas read by Melody Carlson. I enjoyed seeing Wendy work with her son, Jackson, to restore the summer cottage that had belonged to her grandparents and was filled with fond memories. Caleb was a warm hearted hero who cared a lot about both Wendy and Jackson. A very predictable ending which was a bit rushed just to wind up this novella as she had only known Caleb for two weeks, so this felt a bit unrealistic and financially unsound. Focus was God's provision. A sweet, quick read for a curl up in front of the fireplace on a cold day. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    A Christmas by the Sea is a warm Christmas story like we have come to expect from Melody Carlson. Wendy Harper and her twelve year old son, Jackson, has had a rough few years. Their husband and father died after a battle with cancer leaving the family with a strained financial situation. Jackson has had a hard time at school with bullying and teasing. When Wendy inherits her grandfather's beach house in Seaside, Maine, it seems an answer to their prayers. Wendy decides they can use the trip to g A Christmas by the Sea is a warm Christmas story like we have come to expect from Melody Carlson. Wendy Harper and her twelve year old son, Jackson, has had a rough few years. Their husband and father died after a battle with cancer leaving the family with a strained financial situation. Jackson has had a hard time at school with bullying and teasing. When Wendy inherits her grandfather's beach house in Seaside, Maine, it seems an answer to their prayers. Wendy decides they can use the trip to get away for Thanksgiving to get the cottage in shape to sell. Jackson thinks that this is a great new start for them. So, they set out from Ohio and drove to Maine. Wendy struggles to keep finances above water while she works on the cottage. Jackson won't talk about leaving. Caleb Colton is a local furniture builder and store owner that gets to know Wendy and Jackson. He befriends them and gives advice to Wendy while hiring Jackson as a helper. Jackson quickly makes a friend, rescues a dog and even enrolls himself in school. He tells Wendy to have faith that God will work things out. But Wendy knows that Jackson is a child who doesn't understand the dire straits they are in financially. This is a heartwarming story of faith and family during the special holiday time of hope and joy. I received a complimentary ARC from Revell Publishing through NetGalley. The thoughts and opinion stated are mine only.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA is the 2018 Melody Carlson Christmas story we've all been waiting for. i absolutely love the cover of this novella and I want to rent the cottage for a vacation getaway myself. What a lovely place. I don't like that Wendy wasn't honest with her son from the beginning. If he was old enough to register himself in school, he was old enough to understand the trip was to get the cottage cleared out and listed on the real estate market. It would've saved a lot of drama. Caleb wa A CHRISTMAS BY THE SEA is the 2018 Melody Carlson Christmas story we've all been waiting for. i absolutely love the cover of this novella and I want to rent the cottage for a vacation getaway myself. What a lovely place. I don't like that Wendy wasn't honest with her son from the beginning. If he was old enough to register himself in school, he was old enough to understand the trip was to get the cottage cleared out and listed on the real estate market. It would've saved a lot of drama. Caleb was a sweetheart, and so there for both Wendy and Jackson. Wendy was hurting, worried, and running scared but she still found ways to be kind to her neighbors, make friends, and do artsy crafty stuff. I greatly enjoyed this novella and look forward to reading it over again for Christmases to come. I was given a copy off netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vera Godley

    I always enjoy reading a novella or two focused on Christmas time. Most are joyful, uplifting, sweet reads. Not too long--just right to immerse oneself in for a bit of relaxing reading, enjoying a good cup of tea or coffee.Author Melody Carlson has written several and doesn't disappoint. In A Christmas by the Sea we meet a single mom with a young teenage son. They have lost a beloved husband and father to the ravages of cancer and are trying to make it on their own. The story begins with them tra I always enjoy reading a novella or two focused on Christmas time. Most are joyful, uplifting, sweet reads. Not too long--just right to immerse oneself in for a bit of relaxing reading, enjoying a good cup of tea or coffee.Author Melody Carlson has written several and doesn't disappoint. In A Christmas by the Sea we meet a single mom with a young teenage son. They have lost a beloved husband and father to the ravages of cancer and are trying to make it on their own. The story begins with them traveling to the coast of Maine to Wendy's grandparent's cottage home that has been left to Wendy as an inheritance. Her plan is to put it on the market and glean enough to pay her husband's medical bills and get on with the task of living. Her son, Jackson, is all excited and looking forward to a new beginning. He sees everything through the lens of excitement and newness. Jackson is truly a character to love and appreciate his outlook and his ability to step up to the multitude of tasks and chores that come with making the cottage marketable. Only Jackson doesn't realize Wendy is planning to sell. He wants to make it his forever home. Gracing the pages of this sweet story are several other characters that win the reader's heart. The chemistry that sparks interest in each other is slow to be acknowledged by Wendy and Caleb, a handsome merchant and resident. You don't want to miss this sweet read. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from Revell a division of Baker Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes us to Seaside, Maine. Wendy Harper is traveling with her son, Jackson from Ohio to Seaside just before Thanksgiving. Wendy inherited a beach cottage from her grandfather. It is an answer to her prayers since she has a slew of debts incurred from her deceased husband’s battle with cancer along with student loans. Wendy has managed to get a month off to renovate the cottage and get it listed for sale. Jackson is excited about the trip and wants to rel A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes us to Seaside, Maine. Wendy Harper is traveling with her son, Jackson from Ohio to Seaside just before Thanksgiving. Wendy inherited a beach cottage from her grandfather. It is an answer to her prayers since she has a slew of debts incurred from her deceased husband’s battle with cancer along with student loans. Wendy has managed to get a month off to renovate the cottage and get it listed for sale. Jackson is excited about the trip and wants to relocate to Seaside permanently. The cottage is in better condition than Wendy expected, but it still needs some work. She hires Gordon, the local handyman, to help with the repairs. Jackson is thriving in the new environment. He makes a friend, finds a dog and enrolls himself in school. One day Wendy is at the hardware store and meets Caleb Colton, a furniture craftsman. She is surprised by what she feels when near Caleb. Wendy admires his beautiful furniture (works of art) and his Christian values. Wendy knows she should do the responsible thing and sell the cottage. However, she is drawn to the town, the cottage and a certain woodworker. To stay in Seaside, though, she needs a steady income stream. Christmas is rapidly approaching, and miracles have been known to happen. A Christmas by the Sea is a charming Christmas story. I thought it was well-written with steady pacing. It is a wholesome story with a light Christian element. The Christian themes include the importance of having a strong faith in God, prayer, reading the Bible, trust in God, and know that He will answer your prayers but not always in the way you expect. I liked the characters with Jackson being my favorite. He is delightful with his infectious joy. I like how he learned to complete certain repairs courtesy of online videos (they are helpful). I enjoyed the descriptions of Seaside and the ocean. There is a wonderful scene where Jackson and Wendy are finding sand dollars on the beach (they are not easy to find). Colton’s furniture sounded beautiful along with the seashell creations made by Wendy. My one complaint is the ending was rushed along with the romance between Wendy and Caleb. An epilogue would have been appreciated (a year or two later). A Christmas by the Sea is a short book at only 167 pages. One of my favorite sentences is “God takes care of us and He will provide what we need.” My rating for A Christmas by the Sea is 4 out of 5 stars. Melody Carlson has given us another lovely Christmas story filled with love, hope, faith, family and joy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I was completely charmed by this short, sweet Christmas novella. Melody weaves wonderful Christmas stories and this is without a doubt my favorite of all of them! Sweet characters(I adored Jackson!), a lovely setting and a great story line make this a great read. Definitely one for my keeper shelf! I received this book from the publisher, and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    I loved this story, the author has given us a story about rebirth, building a life after the death of a loved one. I could just picture Jackson a young teenage still reeling from the death of his father, not happy and being bullied at his school in Ohio, and now a breath of fresh air, a new beginning, and at the ocean. His mother, and the friendly local have both lost someone they loved, is there a chance that they are now in the right place at the right time? This is a warm your heart Christmas st I loved this story, the author has given us a story about rebirth, building a life after the death of a loved one. I could just picture Jackson a young teenage still reeling from the death of his father, not happy and being bullied at his school in Ohio, and now a breath of fresh air, a new beginning, and at the ocean. His mother, and the friendly local have both lost someone they loved, is there a chance that they are now in the right place at the right time? This is a warm your heart Christmas story, and I am so glad to have read it! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    A wonderful story packed with hope, faith and love! A single mom struggling to make ends meet inherits a seaside cottage that could be the answer to her prayers for help. A long road trip for the holidays brings her to a tough decision: to sell or stay. “You and Dad used to tell me God will provide what we need....So maybe we just need to trust him more." I thoroughly enjoyed this tender story, with characters struggling with real life problems like financial difficulties, single parenting, seeki A wonderful story packed with hope, faith and love! A single mom struggling to make ends meet inherits a seaside cottage that could be the answer to her prayers for help. A long road trip for the holidays brings her to a tough decision: to sell or stay. “You and Dad used to tell me God will provide what we need....So maybe we just need to trust him more." I thoroughly enjoyed this tender story, with characters struggling with real life problems like financial difficulties, single parenting, seeking security, and a renewing of faith after loss. I loved Jackson and his enthusiasm as he tried so hard to help and convince his mom to keep the house. His reminder to trust God was like a word from above to her heart. Wendy struggles to be present while dealing with the stress of everything, wanting to do what is best for her son; something most parents can relate to. The fixer upper details of working on the house were perfect, as anyone who owns a home can attest to! I enjoyed the descriptions of the lovely small town by the sea. I hope there may be more stories set there, so I can visit again. Recommend for readers who enjoy an inspirational tale with a little bit of romance tucked in. (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen.

    A Christmas by the Sea is this year’s Christmas novella from Melody Carlson. It’s the story of Wendy and her son, Jackson as they remodel an inherited cottage in touristy Seaside, Maine. Their stay is supposed to be temporary. The plan is to refurbish her grandparents’ cottage, sell it and head back to Ohio…and fast. Only, Wendy hasn’t shared this information with Jackson, who is over the moon excited about this move. Will she break his heart…or will her own heart be refreshed by this quaint lit A Christmas by the Sea is this year’s Christmas novella from Melody Carlson. It’s the story of Wendy and her son, Jackson as they remodel an inherited cottage in touristy Seaside, Maine. Their stay is supposed to be temporary. The plan is to refurbish her grandparents’ cottage, sell it and head back to Ohio…and fast. Only, Wendy hasn’t shared this information with Jackson, who is over the moon excited about this move. Will she break his heart…or will her own heart be refreshed by this quaint little town? Wendy and Jackson have a fantastic mother-son bond and you can see they are clearly each other’s best friend as they navigate life after the loss of their husband and father. When they arrive in Seaside, they meet a cast of year-round charming locals who waste no time making them feel welcome. Local businessman Caleb Colton takes a special interest in both Wendy and Jackson and soon has Wendy rethinking her plans. This book was very easy to read and had a wonderful setting. It was easy to visualize the town of Seaside as Thanksgiving made way for Christmas. The whole story had a very “everyday life” sort of vibe and was very relatable. Jackson was an exceptionally wonderful character and he completely stole the show! A Christmas by the Sea was very cute, entertaining and well written. The story’s message was a gentle reminder that God has the best plans for us if we place our trust in Him. It was enjoyable to read and I do recommend picking this book up to get you in the holiday spirit! I was provided a copy of this book by Revell Reads for review purposes. A positive review was not required. Opinions expressed are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    What a fun story! Wendy inherits the family beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine. Being widowed and raising her son alone, she sees this as an opportunity to help her and her son financially. Her husband's illness left her with medical bills and she is struggling financially. So, she plans to fix up the cottage and sell it. So, they pack their bags and drive to Maine where Wendy has approximately four weeks to fix up the cottage, sell it and return to their life in Ohio. Well! Her son Jackson has What a fun story! Wendy inherits the family beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine. Being widowed and raising her son alone, she sees this as an opportunity to help her and her son financially. Her husband's illness left her with medical bills and she is struggling financially. So, she plans to fix up the cottage and sell it. So, they pack their bags and drive to Maine where Wendy has approximately four weeks to fix up the cottage, sell it and return to their life in Ohio. Well! Her son Jackson has other plans. Without a doubt, Jackson wants to live in Seaside. He is enthusiastic, full of energy and loving his life in this small town. This is a wonderful story. It's the type of book where I want to curl up in a comfy chair, with my favorite beverage and savor every moment of the small community of Seaside. I love the cottage and the work Wendy and Jackson put into the house making it a warm and welcoming home. I loved Wendy, Jackson, Caleb and Oliver along with the new friends they were making in Seaside. This would be a great Hallmark film! It's a short story but full of warmth and coziness. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I grabbed a copy of this book because I am familiar with this author. I have enjoyed previous books form this author. While, Christmas is still a few months away, I was in the mood for getting an early start with my holiday reading. Sadly, this book did not put me in the holiday mood. I struggled to connect to either of the main characters. Thus the story did not captivate me. In fact, I found it kind of dry. Try as I might, I had a hard time staying in the moment with this book. The details are I grabbed a copy of this book because I am familiar with this author. I have enjoyed previous books form this author. While, Christmas is still a few months away, I was in the mood for getting an early start with my holiday reading. Sadly, this book did not put me in the holiday mood. I struggled to connect to either of the main characters. Thus the story did not captivate me. In fact, I found it kind of dry. Try as I might, I had a hard time staying in the moment with this book. The details are hazy to remember. Overall, this book lacked the Christmas spirit for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I have come to equate a great Christmas story with Melody Carlson. She has been writing a Christmas novel every year for several years now, and I have a shelf containing those books. It may seem odd to be reading and reviewing a Christmas book in September, but there was no way I'd pass up a chance to review her newest Christmas novel. I would rather have read it closer to Christmas, but the review dates are this month. Of all of her books I have read, I find this one to be her best one yet. It I have come to equate a great Christmas story with Melody Carlson. She has been writing a Christmas novel every year for several years now, and I have a shelf containing those books. It may seem odd to be reading and reviewing a Christmas book in September, but there was no way I'd pass up a chance to review her newest Christmas novel. I would rather have read it closer to Christmas, but the review dates are this month. Of all of her books I have read, I find this one to be her best one yet. It is possible there are aspects of the book that made me like it even better. The setting is a beach house by the ocean, and I love the ocean and have vacationed there several times. Granted, I have no desire to be there in the winter, but it still made a great setting for the book. I am also a sucker for a book with kids in it, especially a fatherless young boy. Carlson did a great job on creating his likable character, along with the other main characters. The book actually takes place before Christmas, a week before Thanksgiving, and the time after. There is a lot of talk about Christmas, and much decorating for the holiday also. The town in the book sounds like a delightful place to live, whether or not it is modeled after a real town or not. These Christmas books are actually novellas, with this one coming in at just 167 pages. A lot is packed into those pages, and the story tugged at my heart strings of a 12 year old boy so desperately wanting what seemed impossible, but then Christmas is a time for miracles..... I thoroughly enjoyed the book, though the whirlwind romance was was too fast to happen in real life...though I did love the ending and how it was all wrapped up. A great read indeed. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes place in Seaside Maine. Wendy Harper is barely making ends meet after the death of her husband. Her grandfather has past away and has left his beach cottage to her. She takes her son to the cottage with plans to renovate it and sell it to help out her financial situation. Her son has different ideas, he wants to stay there to live. Her goal is to be done with the cottage by Christmas. This is a very touching story. I enjoyed reading how her son helpe A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson takes place in Seaside Maine. Wendy Harper is barely making ends meet after the death of her husband. Her grandfather has past away and has left his beach cottage to her. She takes her son to the cottage with plans to renovate it and sell it to help out her financial situation. Her son has different ideas, he wants to stay there to live. Her goal is to be done with the cottage by Christmas. This is a very touching story. I enjoyed reading how her son helped her so much. He definitely took on the helper role with the loss of his father. For being just 12 years old, he is very mature and responsible. I enjoyed reading the part that her grandfather did not let the cottage deteriorate, he did take care of the cottage so it just needed minor work. I also enjoyed reading of the memories Wendy had of the small town and it's community members. This is a great story to read to prepare for the Christmas season. I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing. I have written an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Suzie

    Wendy Harper remembers her grandparents’ cottage on the coast of Maine as a place of comfort and peace, but life has taken over and she hasn’t been there in years. With plans to update and make repairs in order to sell the cottage and make life more comfortable for her and her son, the two make the trip from Ohio to Maine. But Jackson has other plans. It will take a miracle to allow this little family to stay in the cottage, but Jackson is determined to make it happen regardless of his mom’s agen Wendy Harper remembers her grandparents’ cottage on the coast of Maine as a place of comfort and peace, but life has taken over and she hasn’t been there in years. With plans to update and make repairs in order to sell the cottage and make life more comfortable for her and her son, the two make the trip from Ohio to Maine. But Jackson has other plans. It will take a miracle to allow this little family to stay in the cottage, but Jackson is determined to make it happen regardless of his mom’s agenda. As Wendy spends time in the small coastal community, will her practical side overrule her heart? Melody Carlson weaves a sweet tale of family, home, and finding what your heart desires in A Christmas by the Sea (including a fun meet cute). The perfect quick read to get you in the mood for the holidays. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    A Christmas by the Sea by author Melody Carson is a perfect holiday story about a family needing hope and a new start in life. I enjoyed the story so much! Wendy Harper is a widow with a son, Jackson. She inherits a small cottage in Seaside, Maine which she hopes to sell. Wendy needs the extra money to pay college debts and leftover hospital bills which accumulated during her husband's illness. Once Wendy and Jackson arrive at the cottage they are faced with a lot of work to make the place appea A Christmas by the Sea by author Melody Carson is a perfect holiday story about a family needing hope and a new start in life. I enjoyed the story so much! Wendy Harper is a widow with a son, Jackson. She inherits a small cottage in Seaside, Maine which she hopes to sell. Wendy needs the extra money to pay college debts and leftover hospital bills which accumulated during her husband's illness. Once Wendy and Jackson arrive at the cottage they are faced with a lot of work to make the place appealing to a potential buyer. Jackson wants to live in Seaside. The place has renewed faith and a sense of new hopes for Jackson, especially since he found Oliver.A beautiful story for hope and holiday hearts! Publication date: September 4, 2018 Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Johnson

    Title: Christmas by the Sea Author: Melody Carlson Pages: 176 Year: 2018 Publisher: Revell My rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Melody’s tale brings forth hope after loss, and joy after sorrow. Christmas by the Sea shares about Wendy who has inherited the summer cabin she visited with her grandparents as a little girl. Wendy is filled with stories and memories she has shared with her son Jackson throughout the years. Now she has inherited the cabin and Jackson can’t wait to see the ocean and town his mother t Title: Christmas by the Sea Author: Melody Carlson Pages: 176 Year: 2018 Publisher: Revell My rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Melody’s tale brings forth hope after loss, and joy after sorrow. Christmas by the Sea shares about Wendy who has inherited the summer cabin she visited with her grandparents as a little girl. Wendy is filled with stories and memories she has shared with her son Jackson throughout the years. Now she has inherited the cabin and Jackson can’t wait to see the ocean and town his mother told him so much about during the hard years of his Dad’s fatal illness. Jackson wants to stay there, and his mother Wendy would love to as well but there are tons of medical bills to pay and she doesn’t think the small town can provide for their needs. Jackson enjoys working alongside a man named Caleb who is a local woodworker and owns his own store selling his unique pieces. What follows is a very endearing tale that was enjoyable to read. The only other thought I have about the book is I think the author could have written a little more and set the ending up better before just suddenly getting there. I will read more of Melody Carlson’s books as they are fun to curl up and read. I hope readers will enjoy her Christmas by the Sea as much as I did!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Welcome to November in Maine, where widow Wendy Harper and her 12 year old son Jackson have inherited a tiny cottage on the shores of the Atlantic in a tiny town called Seaside where Wendy vacationed with her grandparents as a child. Wendy’s plan is to spruce up the cottage and put it on the market to help with the debt incurred during her husband’s battle with cancer but she knows doing so will break her son’s heart. I really enjoyed the beach atmosphere because it was so easy to imagine the su Welcome to November in Maine, where widow Wendy Harper and her 12 year old son Jackson have inherited a tiny cottage on the shores of the Atlantic in a tiny town called Seaside where Wendy vacationed with her grandparents as a child. Wendy’s plan is to spruce up the cottage and put it on the market to help with the debt incurred during her husband’s battle with cancer but she knows doing so will break her son’s heart. I really enjoyed the beach atmosphere because it was so easy to imagine the sun on my face and the sand and water between my toes and I wanted to search for sea shells and sand dollars at low tide right along with the characters. I just wish the author had included another chapter about the romance between Wendy and town native, Caleb, which would have remedied what I felt was an abrupt ending to the story. I read an early copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group through NetGalley and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    Each year I look forward to Melody Carlson's annual Christmas book. And each year they are a blessing. This one takes the reader to a small town in Maine when Wendy is left her grandfather's small cottage to which she visited every summer as a child. Her husband has died and she and her 12 year old son visit, with the intent to sell the cottage to help her struggling finances. But circumstances transpire to change her mind. A delightful read and surely to bless your heart. *My thanks to the publi Each year I look forward to Melody Carlson's annual Christmas book. And each year they are a blessing. This one takes the reader to a small town in Maine when Wendy is left her grandfather's small cottage to which she visited every summer as a child. Her husband has died and she and her 12 year old son visit, with the intent to sell the cottage to help her struggling finances. But circumstances transpire to change her mind. A delightful read and surely to bless your heart. *My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I was not required to leave a review and my opinion is my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A Christmas by the Sea is a pretty good read. I would give it 4 stars and recommend it to add to any readers Holiday reading.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-bennett

    A Christmas by the Sea By Melody Carlson It's that time of year again - time for another Melody Carlson Christmas book. You know without a doubt the ending won't leave you in the dumps and that there will be a touch of romance. Her Christmas books rank with Hallmark Christmas movies in my opinion. This year's offering is in the contemporary category and features Wendy Harper a struggling widowed mother to twelve-year-old Jackson. Life since the death of her husband has been difficult struggling to A Christmas by the Sea By Melody Carlson It's that time of year again - time for another Melody Carlson Christmas book. You know without a doubt the ending won't leave you in the dumps and that there will be a touch of romance. Her Christmas books rank with Hallmark Christmas movies in my opinion. This year's offering is in the contemporary category and features Wendy Harper a struggling widowed mother to twelve-year-old Jackson. Life since the death of her husband has been difficult struggling to make ends met while paying off all the bills (medical, student loans, etc..). But when she inherits her grandparent's summer cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees a way out of her mounting debts. But Jackson has other plans he is determined to call Seaside home and get a fresh start away from everything. Seaside isn't the same small seasonal destination Wendy remembers - it still has that small town feel and charm it's just a bit more grown-up than it used to be. But she still feels that selling the cottage after some much-needed work is her chance at getting a fresh start. Seaside offers some unexpected surprises that tug at her heart making her wish to call it home but wishes cannot provide the financial support that she needs to provide for herself and Jackson. And then there is Caleb Colton a stranger to whom she feels a connection. Being a responsible adult is never easy and Wendy is determined to do what is best for the future and she has little time to decide where it will be. If you are in the mood for an easy and quick read that leaves you ready for Christmas pick up A Christmas by the Sea - you just may want to find a seashell or two for this year's tree. At 166 pages you'll have time to get this one read without adding to the chaos that, for many, surrounds Christmas. This is a progressive story that moves along at a steady pace. Find a favorite corner and settle in with a cup of tea (or coffee or cocoa), and a cookie or two and some quiet instrumental Christmas music and immerse yourself in a seaside vacation. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Revell with no expectations except that I provide my honest opinion and in my opinion, this one is a 3.5-star book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Narita

    Hooray! A new Christmas book from Melody Carlson! It has become a holiday tradition for me! I love them! Each one stirs up Christmas nostalgia and those warm feelings the season brings. Wendy is struggling financially after her husband’s death and trying to keep her life has she has known it afloat, not only for her but for her son Jackson. She can’t see past putting one foot in front of another and maintaining her job. She gets word she has inherited her grandparent’s beach cottage in Maine. We Hooray! A new Christmas book from Melody Carlson! It has become a holiday tradition for me! I love them! Each one stirs up Christmas nostalgia and those warm feelings the season brings. Wendy is struggling financially after her husband’s death and trying to keep her life has she has known it afloat, not only for her but for her son Jackson. She can’t see past putting one foot in front of another and maintaining her job. She gets word she has inherited her grandparent’s beach cottage in Maine. Wendy sees it as a way to pay off her bills by fixing it up and selling it in the 3 weeks they are there. This will enable them to be home by Christmas. As she enters the little town that held so many happy childhood memories her emotions are in turmoil. Her 12 year old son has other plans. He wants a fresh start in a new place, as he has been miserable since his Dad’s death. The town isn’t as small and dead as it used to be. It has grown with new people and businesses. With each reminiscence, she wards off the tugs at her heart to love the town, house and people. She has blinders on envisioning their life in Ohio as the only way they can live. Jackson barrels ahead embracing every experience and moment, and appears to think they are moving there. Wendy, not wanting to burst his bubble, makes it harder on herself by not telling him the truth. His enthusiasm and joy draws her in. When we are adults and suffer tragedy, we cling to what is familiar, unable to realize new opportunities in front of us. Children’s eyes and hearts are clear to comprehend and embrace the joyfulness of new beginnings. I saw this in Wendy and Jackson. I can relate as after my husband died I too wanted to cling to what I had known, changes were frightening and sometimes still are. I have grown to realize that I cannot continue to in the life I had because a vital part of it is no longer there. Thank you Ms. Carlson for another wonderful and touching book to warm my heart! I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Cole

    Christmas by the Sea is a sweet story of a widowed mom who is taking her son to Maine. The goal of the trip is to determine the state of the beach house she spent summers in as a child, so that she can sell the house and pay off debts. Spending the summers at this house filled her childhood with countless memories that she still remembers fondly, but she Wendy knows that there is no way she can actually live in this quaint summer tourist town! Caleb, Wendy’s 12 year old son has other plans. He’s Christmas by the Sea is a sweet story of a widowed mom who is taking her son to Maine. The goal of the trip is to determine the state of the beach house she spent summers in as a child, so that she can sell the house and pay off debts. Spending the summers at this house filled her childhood with countless memories that she still remembers fondly, but she Wendy knows that there is no way she can actually live in this quaint summer tourist town! Caleb, Wendy’s 12 year old son has other plans. He’s packed everything he cares about into their car for their “two week trip” with high hopes of making this a permanent move. Caleb falls in love immediately with the ocean, the coast, the house and everything else about Seaside, where their cottage is. Surprised that her grandfather did more to the cottage than she expected, Wendy realizes that she will be able to sell it quickly, after a few fix-ups. As she is getting the place fixed up Wendy also remembers her creative passions and begins creating things with the finds that she and Caleb bring back after their daily beach combing trips. This is a sweet story on so many levels. I loved seeing how Wendy and Caleb settle in quite quickly into their little cottage, even though she things they will be leaving soon. I loved seeing Caleb find his joy again, since losing his father a few years ago. And I love seeing how Wendy lets her heart find love again. This is a quick read, with a sweet story. I loved the scenery and the picture that Melody Carlson paints of Seaside, the cottage and more. Every detail is right on with what I know and have experienced in Maine! I recommend this sweet story, it would make a great read for you, or a great Christmas present for the reader in your life! NOTE : I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deana Dick

    This enchanting story will be coming out in September but it's worth getting excited about. The author writes with such compassion for her characters. Wendy has just discovered that she has inherited her family's picturesque cottage by the beach. Wendy can remember all the fun times she had there as a kid and it brings back fond memories. She packs up her twelve year old son, Jackson and takes a trip to see the cottage in Seaside, Maine. I could easily hear the waves as she got closer to the cott This enchanting story will be coming out in September but it's worth getting excited about. The author writes with such compassion for her characters. Wendy has just discovered that she has inherited her family's picturesque cottage by the beach. Wendy can remember all the fun times she had there as a kid and it brings back fond memories. She packs up her twelve year old son, Jackson and takes a trip to see the cottage in Seaside, Maine. I could easily hear the waves as she got closer to the cottage. It was a glorious sight to take in. I loved Jackson's excitement as he got closer to what he thought was going to be his new home. I wonder when Wendy will tell Jackson they are only there long enough to fix the place up and sell it? I'm sure Wendy is a bit surprised to see how much work needs to be down on the place. She finds a very helpful person at the hardware place who is an expert it seems in paint and floors. Caleb knows his way around since he is a craftsman. With an overwhelming amount of work to get done, Wendy and Jackson get to work on the cottage. I liked that Wendy took time to go shell hunting with Jackson. Jackson has so much energy and happiness is written all over himself. He loves the new place and is hoping his mom will change her mind about moving. Will the sea call Wendy to stay and make new memories with her son? Can Caleb convince Wendy to spend Christmas there or will she leave and go back to her home in Ohio? This is a short book, but it has so many great qualities that make the story flow with hope and a promise of a wonderful Christmas that feels your heart with family and love. I received a copy of this book from the Early Reader Program from The LibraryThing. The review is my own opinion.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Locklear

    Melody Carlson is an author that I have enjoyed reading her books for a while now. Fall and winter are some of my favorite times of the year and I especially enjoy reading any books about Christmas. A Christmas by the Sea was a very easy read that captured my attention and interest from the very beginning. Wendy Harper's husband has passed away and with that loss came debts that she's struggling to pay. She inherits a cottage at the beach that she loved as a child, but as an adult she sees it as Melody Carlson is an author that I have enjoyed reading her books for a while now. Fall and winter are some of my favorite times of the year and I especially enjoy reading any books about Christmas. A Christmas by the Sea was a very easy read that captured my attention and interest from the very beginning. Wendy Harper's husband has passed away and with that loss came debts that she's struggling to pay. She inherits a cottage at the beach that she loved as a child, but as an adult she sees it as the answer to her prayers. She can hopefully sell it, pay off the debts and put aside a little for her son, Jackson's, education. Jackson sees this as a different opportunity. He wants to put aside the sadness of losing his dad and give him and his mom a fresh start in a place that brought her such happiness as a child. As much as Wendy is focused on selling the cottage Jackson is focused on finding a way for them to keep it and stay there. This was such a great read and a sweet story. Jackson worries about his mom so much now that his dad has passed. He knows she's stressed, but she always seems so happy when she talks about her times at the beach cottage when she was a child. He just wants to do whatever he can to help her get back to those happy times. He knows she worries about money, but when she can just sit down and relax she seems peaceful. As she tells Jackson about the sand dollars that her grandparents collected they decided to go on a hunt for themselves. Wendy is shocked at the number they find and realizes this might help answer her money issues. As she works with the sand dollars making beautiful art she starts to find some peace and possibly a new future for her and her son. **I received this book free from Revell for my honest review."

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