★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
We generally read a tale from front to back. Cottrell reverses the order, speculating on the feelings and activities of the characters of Christmas. The wise men, Anna and Simeon, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, Elizabeth ... they're all here.
It's a novel, a delightful narrative, the story of possibilities. If you've every wondered how the people surrounding the birth of Jesus responded to God and others, here's a lovely retelling of the scriptures.
It made me smile and wince - how like the characters we are. The beauty of a life of worship and awareness of God our Father and Christ his Son leaps out of the pages, along with observations on Israel's landscape, culture, and people.
I'd recommend it and will read it again during Advent next year.