Message From The Author

Beth Albright

Book Title: SLEIGH BELLES
Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Author's Message

The holidays make me totally giddy and I have always known why — I am swimming in the sweet storybook memories of my childhood Christmases. I remember as a child feeling as though no one did Christmas as well as we did, and I would actually feel sorry for my friends because they would be missing out on the most amazing times at my grandmother’s house.

Her house was like a dream every Christmas Eve. Oh, it wasn’t overly decorated or anything, just a beautiful Noble fir with simple ornaments standing near the fireplace. It wasn’t the gifts, either. There was only ever one or two per person, nothing over-the-top. It was about the people, the family and the way that Christmas heightened the feeling of togetherness.

My young aunts and uncles, who were like older sisters and brothers to me, invited their friends over. My aunt and her friends usually went out caroling. The crack of the cue ball against the racked pool-table balls could be heard from upstairs. My uncle and his friends gathered downstairs and played all night. The front door swung open regularly for hours on end. Neighbors, my friends, my other grandmother from my dad’s side, everyone making sure to stop by at some point in the night — and everyone was the happiest they would be all year. Then we would all get ready and go to midnight mass together.

To be at my Nanny’s house amidst all the fun and confusion was the very best place on earth — a night I looked forward to all year long, but that passed much too quickly. It was like making a wish and watching it come true for an instant, or getting to live inside a snow globe just for a moment.

In my adult life, I realized it was my Nanny who made Christmas so magical. Her Charles of the Ritz perfume floating through the house and the food she’d made — oh, my Lord, the food — spread out everywhere from the kitchen counters to the dining room table, every available surface covered in delicious, mouthwatering appetizers. Sausage balls, cheese balls, then the rum-and-bourbon balls and cookies — a feast for an army! She had a deep rolling laughter that filled the house, and she made everyone around her laugh and feel warm and welcome on those frigid December nights. She was jolly in her way and gentle with everyone. She was the very definition of Southern hospitality, too. She would dance the Charleston and would incessantly ask if you wanted any more to eat.

I miss those Christmases so. But each year, I return to the bosom of my childhood in my mind, to my Nanny’s house, and her laughter fills me as I imagine sitting at her yellow kitchen table, and all my senses are filled and satisfied with what Christmastime really means. For me it means swimming in the love of my family, to be warmed and nurtured with the love that one day I would pass on to my own family.


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