The Forgotten Christmas Tree
Abby Grant grieves because she failed to fulfill her father’s dying wish—that she take care of her identical twin sister and their mother. Now her sister has gone her own way, their mother is dead, and Abby’s left to fend for herself and her five-year-old nephew Blaine—and she’s failing again. Homeless and almost broke, she travels to Barbourville, Tennessee, looking for a clue as to the identity of Blaine’s father. What she finds is a man who holds her responsible for the death of his best friend and a place that she longs to call home, both for Blaine and for herself.
After Jim Markman lost his best friend to an IED in Iraq, he returns home to Barbourville, hoping to heal his spirit in the peacefulness of the quiet mountain town. Then she arrives—the woman who jilted Anthony, causing him to drop out of college and join the Army. Except she claims to be Abby Grant—not Annie, the female he blames for Anthony’s death. Although he first tells Abby to get out of town, he’s soon eager for her to stay, at first because he hopes to determine if the boy she has in tow might be Anthony’s son and later because he can’t imagine going on without her.
As Jim and Abby get caught up in Barbourville’s many Christmas festivities, can they also make peace with their pasts and learn to embrace the promise of their future?
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The Forgotten Christmas Tree won the 2014 HOLT Medallion in the short contemporary category. Winners in this contest are selected by readers.