The Christmas Lights is told from the point of view of Louis Éclat, a young man who just wants the right to marry the girl he loves. It doesn’t help that he’s poor, fatherless, and has vision so horrible that he might as well be blind. However, these barriers fail to stop the young man when the father of his love, Emmeline, proposes an ultimatum: if Louis becomes a man of wealth by Christmas, he may marry Emmy. Only, December is merely nine months away. With no time to lose, Louis hops the Atlantic and seeks his fortune in the unforgiving nooks and crannies of European cities: Paris, Switzerland, and London. Becoming wealthy is harder than it seems, but Louis accumulates an odd band of friends along the way. An eccentric artist, a Russian jeweler and two factory boys swear to help him on his quest. This nineteenth-century romance twists and turns as Louis must get home to Pennsylvania in time for Christmas—and not lose himself along the way.
This is a sweet little novella that fits nicely into a short span of reading. However, with it being a novella, it gets my usual stamp of, “It wasn’t long enough.”
Louis loves Emmeline, and in getting her father’s permission to marry her, her father tasks him with making his fortune before they got married. Hopping across the Atlantic, he ends up in Paris where his adventures truly begin. Along the way, he picks up several friends to help him.
Why 3 stars? The book is well-written and takes the reader on a sweet little journey to the expected finale. Unfortunately, due to its short length, a lot is left out. The characters aren’t fleshed out much. Near the end, I kept getting characters mixed up because I didn’t know enough about them to keep them separate.
I also would have loved to have seen Louis and Emmeline’s love a little more. The book begins with Louis proposing to Emmy. However, the reader isn’t given a chance to form a true bond with these two characters. The fact it was written in first person point of view might have contributed to it.
I have no doubt, with more writing and fleshing out, this would be a terrific story. As it sits now, it’s a fun little read, but probably won’t stand out in my mind for long.