I felt as if Tess was the backbone of the story, perhaps even more so than Belle. She is the person who forms and loves the adult Belle grows up to be.
Through all the disappointment, neglect and heartbreak Belle always has Tess holding her up and pushing her forward.
It must be incredibly hard for both foster parents and foster children to say goodbye when the children return to their parents, especially when they have managed to form a bond. Not all foster parents do it for the right reasons, but those who really care can change the lives of children in dire need of support and love.
Harrington draws upon the plot of It’s a Wonderful Life quite a bit. In a way it makes the story seem more nostalgic. In essence the moral of the story is to acknowledge how lucky we are and to be happy for what we have instead of wanting what we might never be able to have.
I think we are all guilty from time to time of not being able to understand that we may be luckier than we think. Belle is stuck in her obsession of Lauren. The bond has grown into something that could be viewed as detrimental for a foster child, who eventually has to return to their biological parents.
Someone needs to remind Belle or make her aware of what is really important. What her life would be like without certain people in her life, and if she hadn’t been part of their lives either. Harrington has created a Christmas story that leaves the reader with plenty to think about.