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The Christmas Child (Redemption River) [Kindle Edition]

Linda Goodnight
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $5.24
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Book Description

In Redemption, Oklahoma, a young boy is found huddled in a Dumpster, clutching a Christmas book. Scared and refusing to speak, he captures undercover agent Kade McKendrick's guarded heart. Kade brings the child home until he can track down his family—and his story. All Kade has is a name, Davey, and the boy's trust of sweet, pretty teacher Sophie Bartholomew. With her kindness and faith, Sophie helps both the boy and the battle-scarred cop to smile again. And as they uncover the mystery of a very special child, a family is formed—just in time for Christmas.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Winner of the RITA Award for excellence in fiction, Linda Goodnight has won various other highly acclaimed awards, and her romance novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Active in orphan ministry, this former nurse and teacher enjoys writing fiction that carries a message of hope and light in a sometimes dark world. A country girl, she lives in Oklahoma. Readers may contact her through her website:

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

In twenty years of Dumpster diving, Popbottle Jones had found his share of surprises in other people's trash. But nothing prepared him for what he discovered one chilly November dawn.

Agile as a monkey at seventy-two, Popbottle hopped over the side of the giant bin located downwind of Redemption's municipal building and dropped lightly onto a mound of battered cardboard boxes. The usual garbage and old-food smells rose to greet him, odors he'd trained his nose to ignore in pursuit of more profitable treasures. After all, he and his business partner, GI Jack, were in the recycling business.

From one corner of the dimly lit bin came a scratching sound. His heart sank. Rats or kittens, he suspected. Rats he shooed. The kittens, though, troubled him. He'd never leave domestic creatures to be scooped into a compactor and bulldozed at a landfill.

Gingerly picking his way through the mess, Popbottle directed his steps and his miner's lamp toward the sound. His stomach plummeted. Not rats. Not kittens, though two eyes stared out. Blue eyes. Frightened eyes. The eyes of a child.

Taking a bullet would have been easier, cleaner, quicker. Dying slowly wasted a lot of time.

Kade McKendrick dropped one hand to the golden retriever sitting patiently beside him along the riverbank and tried to relax.

Even now, when he'd been shipped off to Redemption, Oklahoma, for R & R, he wielded a fishing rod like a weapon, fingers tight on the reel's trigger. He'd become too paranoid to go anywhere unarmed.

Memories swamped him. Faces swam up from the muddy red river to accuse. Kade shifted his gaze to the far bank where straggling pale brown weeds poked up from the early winter landscape, hopeless sprouts with nothing in their future but more of the same. Feathery frost tipped the dead grass, shiny in the breaking dawn.

"Might as well give it up, Sheba." Kade reeled in the ten-pound test line, mocking his ambitious tackle. The clerk at the bait and tackle warned him that fish weren't biting this time of year.

He slammed the metal tackle box, startling the dog and a red-tailed hawk still napping on a nearby branch. The bird took flight, wings flapping like billows over the calm, cold waters. Sheba looked on, quivering with intense longing. Together, man and dog watched the hawk soar with lazy grace toward the rising sun. Other than a rare car passing on the bridge, all was quiet and peaceful here on the predawn river. The place drew him like a two-ton magnet in those dark hours when sleep, the vicious tease, evaded him.

Kade sniffed. His nose was cold, but the morning air, with crisp, clean sharpness, invigorated more than chilled. He picked up the scent of someone's fireplace, a cozy home, he surmised, with two-point-five kids, a Betty

Crocker mom and a dad who rose early to feed the fire with fragrant hickory wood.

His lip curled, cynic that he was. Happy ever after was a Hallmark movie.

He, too, had risen early, but not for a cozy fire and a loving family. Although gritty-eyed with fatigue, he hadn't slept a full eight hours in months. But the shrink said he was making progress.

Kade huffed, breath a gray cloud. The shrink probably didn't wake up when his dog barked.

Gathering his gear, Kade started toward his car, a red Mazda Miata parked at an angle near the edge of the Redemption River Bridge. Sheba padded softly at his side, a loyal, undemanding companion who never complained about the nocturnal ramblings.

His great-aunt, on the other hand…

Ida June rose early and she'd be waiting for his return, spouting sluggard quotes, her favorite being, "The field of the sluggard is overtaken by weeds." There were no weeds in Aunt Ida June's fields. One positive aspect of visiting his feisty great-aunt was that she kept him too busy all day to think. Days were all right. Nights were killing him.

Sophie Bartholomew bebopped out the door of the Redemption Register, a happy tune on her lips and an order for six dozen cookies on her notepad. She stopped on the sidewalk and danced a little boogie to celebrate the sale. Her students would be pumped, too.

Sophie loved mornings, especially this time of year with Christmas right around the corner. Already, Redemption geared up for the monthlong celebration.

This crisp morning when the town was just awakening, the scent of fresh doughnuts tantalized the streets in front of the Sugar Shack bakery and cafe. Sophie headed there next to round up more orders for the annual fifth-grade charity cookie sale. Miriam, owner of the Sugar Shack, never minded, even though the sales cut into her business.

Down the block a city worker dangled from a bucket truck to lace white lights along the front of the town's historic bank building. Sophie gave a little wave. Christmas was unofficially here, and no one was happier about that than Sophie.

She loved everything about Christmas, from the celebrations and festivities to church and decorated cookies and gaily wrapped gifts. Even the commercialism didn't bother her. Christmas, she'd long ago decided, meant joy and love and Jesus, in whatever form it was celebrated.

Across the street on the town square, Ida June Click, octogenarian handywoman, pounded on a half-erected stable while a lean, dark man unloaded lumber from a truck, his navy plaid shirt open over a white T-shirt. Sophia recognized him as Kade McKendrick, Ida June's nephew, although Sophie didn't know him well. He was new in town, but her single friends and several not-so-singles noticed his comings and goings. He mostly stayed to himself. His quiet aloofness made everyone wonder, including her. But he was a looker, as her close friend Jilly Fairmont said. A mysterious looker. What could be more intriguing to a female? Not that Sophie thought all that much about her single status. She was too busy teaching kids and loving the life the Lord had given her.

She had one hand on the glass door of the Sugar Shack when she heard a shout. Over on the curb by the buff-brick municipal building, GI Jack, the eccentric old Dumpster diver who ran a recycling business and created junk art, waved his arms and yelled for help.

"Ida June," he called to the twig of woman in bright red overalls and a man's work jacket. "Get over here quick."

"Here" was a spot right next to an industrial-size trash bin.

"Not another cat. My cup runneth over already." But the feisty eightysomething woman hustled toward him just the same.

So did Sophie. GI Jack was not an alarmist, and one quick glance told her Popbottle Jones, the other eccentric Dumpster diver, was nowhere to be seen.

Traffic was slow this time of day, and Sophie darted across the street with barely a glance. Had something happened to Popbottle Jones?

"What can we do? Shall we call for an ambulance? I have my cell phone." Ida June, still a little breathless from the jog, whipped a modern smartphone from the bib of her overalls. "We must get him out of that Dumpster ASAP. He who hesitates is lost."

Confusion clouded GI Jack's face. "Well, yes, ma'am, I reckon so, but we don't need no ambulance."

"If Popbottle is hurt—"

The funny old man blinked. "Popbottle ain't hurt."

"My friend is correct. I've suffered no ill effect." Ulysses E. "Popbottle" Jones grasped the top of the heavy metal trash bin and peered over the edge, his red miner's hat tipped to one eye. "But we do require assistance."

Curiosity got the better of Sophie and she tiptoed up for a look. The sight she beheld chipped off a piece of her teacher's heart. Cowering against the side of the bin and surrounded by trash, a young boy, maybe eight or nine, clutched a book against his chest and stared out with round blue eyes. Poorly dressed for the cold day, his shaggy blond hair hung limp and dirty around a pale, thin face smeared with something yellow, probably mustard from the piece of old hamburger gripped in his other hand.

"The small fellow won't allow me near him," Popbottle said with some chagrin as he hopped to the street. "Must be my unusual attire or perhaps the miner's lamp. I thought one of you ladies would fare better."

"Probably thought you were an alien from Jupiter," Ida June grumbled. Barely tall enough to see inside, she chinned herself like a gymnast, peered in, then slithered back to earth, muttering. "My nephew will know what to do." Whirling toward the town square she barked loud enough to be heard over the din of a city truck rattling past. "Kade, on the double! We need help."

Sophie, too concerned with the child to wait, said, "GI, boost me up."

The gentle old man, still strong as the soldier he'd been, patted his bent knee. "Foot here."

She grabbed the top of the trash bin and vaulted up and in to slide unceremoniously onto a pile of damp newspapers. She rested there for a few seconds to study the little boy and gauge his reaction to her presence. Dampness soaked through the back of her sweater. She'd need a trip home before schooltime. Not that her clothes mattered at the moment.

When the little boy didn't scramble away, she slowly moved toward him, picking her way across the junk, careful not to turn an ankle in the heeled boots.

"Hello, there," she said in her kindest voice. "My name is Sophie. What's your name?"

The question was met with a silent stare.

Sophie went into a crouch, inches from the child, but careful not to touch until he was ready. Holding back was hard. She was a toucher, a hugger, believing children needed physical connection. "I'm a nice person, honey. You can talk to me and I'll help you."

Still only that bleak stare.

"I'm a teacher here in Redemption. Fifth grade. What grade are you in?" Nothing.

Outside the trash bin voices rose and fell—Ida June's spit and vinegar, and a chorus of males. By now, someone had likely called the police station, and Sophie...

Product Details

  • File Size: 539 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired (October 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HRT6L0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,605 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A romance for any time of the year October 19, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you tend to read your Christmas romances right before the holiday like I do, the Christmas cover and title of Linda Goodnight's latest keeper may have kept you from diving into a marvelous read. The Christmas Child, the latest in Goodnight's Redemption River series, is worth reading now before Halloween, during Thanksgiving or right before the Christmas holiday. I am already thinking a reread would be wonderful during July!

A mysterious child, a dashing yet wounded hero, and charming heroine, a plot full of mystery, lessons to be learned, as well as hope and caring in abundance, combine to make reading this book more than a simple pleasurable past time. It is set in Redemption River after all. Bottom line: Get this book now and just see if you can keep from reading it before Christmas. I couldn't wait and was so glad I looked past the cover on an Indian Summer day. Can't wait for the next in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Great Book January 23, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am 65 years old and have read many, many books in my life but this one will rank on top of my list! I so enjoyed this story and the characters were absolutely wonderful, especially Auntie! I loved her quips and wit, she reminded me of my precious mother in some ways.
Whether it is the Christmas season or not, you will love this book. Like one of the other reviewers, I plan on reading it again this year. However, I am now going to order several more of Ms. Goodnights books but just have to thank her for a most joyous experience. Thank you so much for a great story, clean, funny and enjoyable. God bless you!
Bettie Rogers
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great series. January 21, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Linda Goodnight is one of the two authors who first got me hooked on the Love Inspired line of books (the other being Jillian Hart). Her stories are heartwarming, the settings charming (love the town of Redemption), and the characters well drawn out and easy to connect with.

Kade, staying temporarily with his aunt in Redemption, is the ultimate wounded warrior, an undercover cop who's faith has been shaken by the human horrors he has witnessed on the job in Chicago. Sophie is an optimistic and upbeat teacher who loves Christmas and winter and snow and pretty much everything that comes along. Including a lost little boy and a lost man, both of whom she longs to take care of. One is eager to accept her love, one is not.

As Kade throws himself wholeheartedly into the search for Davey's family and for answers to how and why the little boy ended up alone in a dumpster, cold and hungry and unable to talk, he also finds himself doing some soul searching about his own life and whether he really wants to go back to Chicago after the holidays. Kade is a wonderful hero who I was a little in love with from the first chapter. The banter between Kade and Sophie was amusing and I smiled a lot while reading this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can't tell you how much I loved this book February 25, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
I can't tell you how much I loved this book. I wish I could have given it more stars. The quick wit of Kade and his Aunt made me laugh out loud. Kade McKentrick came to Redemption for some R&R from an undercover job he had recently finished. With a chip on his shoulder, Christmas just wasn't in his plans, now or ever. Entering into the story is an elementary school teacher Sophie who jumps into a dumpster to rescue a little boy lost and scared. With Kade, not far behind the dumpster dive,the two share fostering duties when he runs away from his current foster family. Learning of his dire circumstances and disability, Kade and Sophie work on giving him a Christmas miracle and in turn receive one of their own.
Highly recommend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars miracles February 16, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a wonderful book. Especially nice to read at Christmas, but anytime is good. Loved all of the characters. I'd recommend it to everyone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent book by Linda Goodnight January 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed every book that I have read and I must say this was the best one yet. I am certainly going to continue to read her books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Miracle December 27, 2013
By Mary B.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a delightful story. There were some serious moments in this book especially about exploited children. In Redemption Oklahoma some miraculous things happen like a small boy found in a dumpster and rescued by a cop, a dog and a school teacher who become a family. This a Christian book and nobody in this genre can tell a better story than Linda Goodnight. Recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars good December 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this series of books. They are an easy read and interesting. I would recommend this series to my friends.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Christmas Child (Redemption River) ...
This is the 4th book I read by Linda Goodnight. This book's story line was sad & touching. I liked Kade & Sophie's character. I liked Davey's character also. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Liz
4.0 out of 5 stars The Christmas Child
I enjoyed this mysterious and romantic Christmas story. It is a fresh view of Christmas told with awe and wonder. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kandy H. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Peggy from St Louis
It never ceases to amaze me about the appropriateness of a title of a book and the beautiful story within it's pages. The Christmas Child was a very touching story.
Published 6 months ago by Peggy A Rumph
5.0 out of 5 stars a great feel good book
It took a year to read been busy! I loved that it was very easy to pick back up! Would give 5 stars
Published 7 months ago by Jaedanmac
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Story is awesome. Revealed GOD working through this entire story. Recommend this book to everyone who likes a great read.
Published 9 months ago by Sherry Oswalt
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute boy
Redemption River
Book 4

A child found in a dumpster brought together new arrival Kade McKendrick and school teacher Sophie Bartholomew. Read more
Published 17 months ago by M. Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
I gave this book to my mother for Christmas. She read it right away and I think she really liked it.
Published 19 months ago by Brent J.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I enjoy christian books & christmas, so this was just right for me. You can never get enough of the christmas spirit. This book has plenty of it. It's a feel good book.
Published 22 months ago by Batty B.
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More About the Author

NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer's Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher. Connect with Linda on Facebook, Twitter, or at

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