Joy to the World By Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt and Erica Vetsch

I love reading Christmas fiction during the holiday.  It always gives a warm cozy feeling and is one more thing to make it special.  This book is a big plus as there are 3 stories in it by great authors. They are also set in an era I especially like, the 1800’s.

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller made me a part of a really old fashioned Christmas with the wealthy.  I love the descriptions of their entertainment.  It was such a simple and uncomplicated time; gathering a yule log, making greenery decorations, performing with music and song.  Edith Mansfield has been invited to a party by her God mother, Lady Grantley for the Christmas holiday.  Her focus was entertaining a group of young people. The snafu to such a grand time is the beau, George Bannerman, whom Edith had shunned a marriage proposal from the year before was also invited.  The reason for the breakup is not made clear at first but both obviously still have feelings for each other.  There has definitely been a misunderstanding.  The awkwardness in being tossed together is heightened by the complicated Victorian codes of conduct. 

“Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barratt, I must admit was my favorite! Dwight, the Earl of Amberly has returned to London briefly to sell his estate.  He has been living in isolation in Yorkshire since returning from the war.  It appears he is suffering from PTSD. Jenny an unwed mother, due to a rape, is very ill as is her baby girl. Dwight sees her collapse in the street with her infant and brings her to the estate do receive medical care. Upon her recovery he offers her a job at his home in Yorkshire.  She accepts.  He gives her shelter and provision while she gives him something much greater, friendship and God’s word. 

“The Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch. Cilla Haverly was destined to become a duchess, and then her husband dies.  She becomes trapped in the dull, lifeless, drudgery serving her mother-in-law. Hamish Sinclair is commissioned by the dowager to paint Cilla’s brother-in-law and sister-in law’s portrait. As cliché as it may sound, Hamish brings color to Cilla’s gray life.  He is poor and of a lower class, but has confidence in himself and purpose.  She has all the trimmings of the upper class but is very insecure and has no purpose in her existence.  I found it a beautiful example of how God can send someone into our life to not only change it but change us.  Three wonderful Christmas novellas just in time for the season!

I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Nothing Short of Wondrous By Regina Scott

Kate Tremaine is a strong and tough widow, raising her young son Danny, and running a hotel in Yellowstone Park.  After the tragic sudden death of her husband she had developed the grit to deal with what came her way.  The only thing she loves more than her son is the park itself.  She ferociously guards it against anything that might harm its natural wonders and beauty

Lt. Will Prescott of the U.S. Calvary has come to patrol the park to protect it and put an end to poaching animals. He has a past he is ashamed of. Kate and Will become friends and develop deep feeling for each other.  Setting aside the personal obstacles they perceive, there is danger and complications regarding the park.

I have never had the privilege to visit Yellowstone and didn’t know much about it other than Old Faithful and bear stories. I thoroughly enjoyed all the descriptions of its beauty and uniqueness.  The dangers of the park’s natural wonders were surprising.  One can only imagine how wonderful it was in the 1800’s.  I actually went and researched it to learn more. 

The author’s vivid depiction of Kate’s Gateway Inn was delightful.  How she cared for her guests, the meals, the special touches.  *Sigh* So comforting and homey.  I guess it played at my lifelong dream to own bed and breakfast.  But seeing as how I struggle to make my own bed daily and eat no more than oatmeal for breakfast that this vision is probably not in my future!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.  

The Great Farmapalooza

Jill Roman is an author I love for my smallest grandpeeps, 2 1/2 years and 1 year.  They are avid readers . . . well listeners but that is how it starts right?  Even the smallest children can begin to learn about God and how wonderful He is.  This book is a fun means to teach them about praising God.  I know my little ones are learning the sounds animals make and enjoy it so much. How delightful the authors use those sounds to show them praising God!   A HUGE plus also is that there are flaps to peek under to reveal surprises.  My boys LOVE books with that special touch! It makes reading even more exciting and really involves them in the story. The book also pleases me with being super sturdy and washable, after all little readers are a bit enthusiastic!  I received this book from B & H Kids in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

The Sound of Falling Leaves By Lisa Carter

The author is no doubt a gifted writer, but this book was just not for me. I love stories about the Appalachian life, but they are usually not set in modern day time. I struggled with that.
A little gentle tension between the characters can add to the story but the intense discord and hostility portrayed throughout the book bothered me after a while. People are so hateful and bitter toward others today it is something I want to escape not read more of.
I read at night to relax and fall asleep. There was murder, rape, criminal activity, violence, cruelty and avarice in many situations and scenarios. Again much like the world we live in and plastered across our news reports. Not things I want to read about or find enjoyable.
I am giving this book 4 stars it was well written and it is obvious the author put a lot of work into it but I said it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.