After nearly a decade of being apart, tragedy brings together Hadley and Monroe. Take a break from the holiday busyness and settle in for a story of young love lost and second chances in Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall’s The Gift of Christmas Past. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?
Read our character interview with Hadley Granger to learn more!
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Well, maybe I shouldn’t share this, but it’s the most prevalent thing that stays on my mind and heart. At seventeen I was ready to pledge my life to a young man I loved. Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between us.
Promises were made.
Lies were spoken.
Dreams were shattered.
I was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
But that’s a bitter thing to reveal, and I refuse to allow that to be the most interesting thing about me. The most interesting thing is the relationship with my sister. Elliott’s my sister—not by blood, but she’s been with me through thick and thin. When we were teens living in foster care in North Carolina, we ran away to find freedom. We lived in a tent for a while and in a tiny, kitchen-less hotel room as a perk for being maids there. Now we have an apartment in Asheville and we’re closer than ever to achieving our goals. We just have to stay on the right path and away from distractions.
I’m in college, pursuing my dream of becoming a speech therapist. Until I graduate, I’m working as an orderly in the children’s wing of the local hospital, Mission Health. Although I’ve just begun the process of getting my master’s, I already work with a four-year-old girl who’s a neighbor of mine. She has speech apraxia, and she used to only able to say a couple of words—mama and ball. And she couldn’t say them all the time. But I’ve been working with her regularly, and we’ve made good progress. When I was young, I had a stutter, and my speech therapist from school really changed my life for the better. I want to be able to do the same for other kids.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Driven, giving, and loyal
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy going for hikes in the Smoky Mountains. We have camping gear that we use at least once a year, but it’s not Elliott’s favorite thing to do. Sometimes I go rock climbing with our other foster sister, Tara.
What is your life motto or goal?
When I was seventeen, standing in the restroom of the courthouse in Asheville, North Carolina, about to sneak away from the authorities with the help of my foster sisters, we voiced our goal and vowed to keep it. If only we’d understood more…
“One caveat.” Elliott took Hadley by the shoulders. “Promise me that if we pull this off, no more boys. Who needs guys anyway? We work hard, we steer clear of the garbage that ruined our parents’ lives, and we make something out of the time God gives us.”
Hadley nodded and saluted before she pulled Elliott and Tara in for a hug. “Thank you both.” She released them. “Let’s do this.” Hadley twisted her long hair into a bun and secured it with the tie and clips.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d want the ability to truly forget what’s behind me and move forward. If I’m honest with myself, I’m still hung up on a guy who betrayed me and returned to his wealthy parents while I faced a courtroom trial. Oh, how I long to forget him.
Is coffee a food? No? Okay. Elliott’s chicken noodle soup is amazing. You should get her recipe.*
What is the most important thing to you?
The most important is the people that I love. I have a small circle of close friends, but I would do anything for Elliott, Tara, Jason, little Chloe, and her family.
Biggest pet peeve:
I have two: my own flaw of occasionally believing liars and building my actions and decisions on their lies, and dishonest, fake people.
*Note: this recipe is in the back of the book!