In Richard Paul Evan's sequel to The Christmas Box, he recounts the tale of a magnificent grandfather clock bestowed by MaryAnne Parkin shortly before her death to his family, with the caveat that “it” is given to daughter Jenna on the eve of her wedding. The story is interspersed with passages from David Parkin's personal diary moves back in time to 1908 in Salt Lake City, UT. It revolves around the meeting and marriage of MaryAnne Chandler to her loving husband David. The two passions in his life were MaryAnne and timepieces. She steps into his life when she answers an ad for a personal secretarial position. He discovers she is of noble birth but has grown up facing many hardships once in America. As he is falling in love with her he also learns she is now pregnant with another man's child; that of an abusive cad who has broken off their engagement and left her to have a bastard child on her own. He asks for her hand anyway, loving her no less for her past.
Their life together gets off to a fabulous start with a grand wedding and a storybook life in a splendid mansion. Adversity starts with MaryAnne's delivery of baby Andrea a few months later. The labor is difficult and fraught with complications endangering both mother and child; both pull through. Several years later Andrea is stricken with scarlet fever and is again at deaths door but the faith, love, and determination of her mother see her recover and thrive. David Parkin has many dealings with an amiable and kind-hearted black man named Lawrence Flake. Lawrence, a former Union Army quartermaster and veteran of the Spanish American war, is a watchsmith and has a way with clocks and timepieces. After a wealthy widow dies, leaving her valuable watch to Lawrence but cutting off her unscrupulous nephew from her sizable fortune, Everen Hatt goes looking for trouble with his rifle and finds it. Lawrence shoots Hatt in self-defense but Parkin claims responsibility for the shooting. A trial ensues and the killing is ruled justifiable.
Hatt's criminal friend, Cal Barker, vowing retribution, beats Lawrence to within inches of his life and sets fire to the Parkin mansion. The fire is contained and extinguished but not before Andrea is severely burned. The nearly four-year old girl clings to life before losing her struggle several days later. MaryAnne and David are devastated. David blames himself and contemplates gunning down the culprit, but MaryAnne cannot bear the thought of losing both of her loved ones. The arsonist is sent to jail and Andrea is buried with a beautiful hand-carved marble angel atop her grave given by Lawrence. MaryAnne takes to sitting by the fire crying into her bible each night. Five years go by and she is feeding a poor and hungry young girl who knocked at her door one night. It turns out to be Barker's daughter who is the same age Andrea would be. MaryAnne tells her she is always welcome there. It is now 1967 and Richard understands the meaning of MaryAnne's special gift from all those many years before as he prepares to give his daughters hand in marriage.
This report prepared by David Fletcher