Tag Archives: Christmas Novellas

Once Upon A Dicken’s Christmas by Michelle Griep

Publisher’s Summary

Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan-favorite Michelle Griep:
 
12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
 
A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?
 
The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

Michelle Griep’s intriguing and engaging trilogy of novellas, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, is modeled after Charles Dickens and is set in Victorian England. The tales are united by an enigmatic coin’s legend, or in this case, the principal writing on a coin.

As I read the individual stories, I had the impression that I had been transported back in time to the Victorian era. Each story’s tempo is perfectly set by the narrative’s cadence, which draws you in and keeps you there. There are good reasons to enjoy (and occasionally doubt) the motivations of the key characters because each had admirable and imperfect components to their personality. The adversaries were distressing and dreadful, nearly creating a feeling of repugnance.

Due to its subject matter touching on the issues of domestic abuse and harsh working conditions, one of the stories, “The Old Lace Shop,” was a little more challenging to read. The story was also the newest of the three as the other two,”12 Days at Bleakly Manor” and “A Tale of Two Hearts,” were already in print.

Collectively, the Christmas storylines, the entwining of faith and redemptive nature will inspire and delight you, making Once Upon a Dickens Christmas an essential part of your Christmas reading.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

Old West Christmas Brides: 6 Historical Romances Celebrate Christmas on the Frontier by Margaret Brownley, Rosey Dow, Darlene Franklin, Marcia Gruver, Vickie McDonough and Debra Ullrick 

Publisher’s Summary

Christmas Romances Filled with the Spirit of the Old West
 
It is hard for a woman to make a decent living in the Wild West of the late 1800s, and as the Christmas season approaches, prospects for a happy celebration seem dim.

A Pony Express Christmas by Margaret Brownley
Stranded alone in Nebraska Territory in 1882 with a broken wagon and two stubborn mules, Ellie-Mae Myers has no way to continue searching for her twin brother along the deserted Pony Express route or of returning home to Kentucky. Could a man on the verge of being hanged be the answer to her prayers?
 
A Wife in Name Only by Rosey Dow
Katherine Priestly seeks a job to help support her mother and brother. A local ranch seeks a cook, but by 1884 standards, the owner, Brett Masten, will only hire a married woman to work among his men. Desperate, Catherine claims she is a married woman at the tender age of eighteen. Will her charade become a barrier to true love and send her home without enough money to buy Christmas presents?
 
Lucy Ames, Sharpshooter by Darlene Franklin
Lucy Ames’ dreams come true when her sharp shooting makes her the star act of Major Paulson’s Wild West Show in 1891. Gordon Paulson is traveling with his parents for one last season before accepting a teaching position at West Texas Christian College. As Lucy’s and Gordon’s love for each other grows, will God weave their gifts and dreams into a single calling?
 
A Badlands Christmas by Marcia Gruver
Noela Nancarrow and her pampered sister have been dragged into the Badlands by their adventurous father to live penniless in a sod house in 1885. When a local rancher invites Noela to a lavish Christmas party, will her holiday spirit return, or will she learn a lesson far greater from the experience?
 
Unexpected Blessings by Vickie McDonough
Anna Campbell sets out to deliver two small orphans to their uncle in Texas during December of 1880. Erik Olson knows it’s impossible for those cute little pests to be his brother’s and refuses to accept them—regardless of Anna’s persistence. Little do they know that behind the scenes, Erik’s Uncle Lars and his buddies are doing a little matchmaking, hoping to give the children a father and a mother. 
 
A Grand County Christmas by Debra Ullrick
In 1883, Awnya O’Crean is on the brink of starvation and homeless in the Colorado Mountains. When she goes hunting for food, God places her in the path of Amadeus Josef. Will Christmas with the Josef family teach Awnya how God works in mysterious ways?

My Review

Old West Christmas Brides contains six historical romances, all of which are novella-length, which makes them perfect for showcasing a “Christmas in July” theme. Naturally, the chilly winter themes also assist in helping to cool you down, too!

Despite the fact that each story is about a distinct setting and set of events, I thoroughly enjoyed them all. The idea of faith appealed to me the most and served as a thread connecting the stories.

I appreciated every story and really would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. All the women faced true-to-life toils, sufferings, hardship and ordeals along the way. In spite of this, each main character stepped up to the plate and dealt with whatever obstacles they faced.

As you settle in and curl up on your couch or favorite chair to read, the individual stories will transport you to a different era and locale, bringing holiday warmth to your heart and filling you with Christmas cheer.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

(I received this a few years ago. I’m trying to catch up with all the reviews that I was unable to do when I was hospitalized for an extended period of time.)

Colors of Christmas: Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate the Hope of Christmas by Olivia Newport

My Review

WOW! I’m not sure what I expected when given the opportunity to review Colors of Christmas, by Olivia Newport. I should have realized, after reading the author’s note, in the beginning, a small foreshadowing of something bringing a lot of emotion to the table, but in an endearing, asseverate way.

I’m always a little leery when I have a chance to review a new-to-me author. It’s terrible I know, but I, like many reviewers, fall into the rut of sticking to their faves. This year, however, I’ve branched out and found a lot of new authors I sincerely like. Olivia Newport is one of them.

Colors of Christmas contains two separate novellas. Each novella deals with loss, but in uniquely different ways.

Christmas in Gold, the first story, introduces us to Astrid, an eighty-year-old woman moving from her home to an independent living home. As Astrid’s lifetime vividly comes to life on the pages of this incredible story, we feel, hear and experience her childhood and early adulthood. First, she survived the Nazi domination of Germany, then she formed a new history in the United States. Time stood still for me as I was thoroughly wrapped up in the story, to the point of just a moment of startlement when I was called out of the book to attend to another matter! Christmas in Gold is a heart-warming, faith-affirming tale; you’ll undoubtedly want to read it.

Christmas in Blue deals with Angela’s heartache and loss of her best friend, Carole. Carole of the larger than expression, full-on celebration of Christmas. All Angela wants to do is magically jump past the holiday season and get on with trying to live without Carole, but everything seems to conspire against her deepest desires. I don’t want to tell too much, because of spoilers, but Angela’s Christmas far surpasses anything she could dream or imagine.

Newport somehow takes two small vignettes, and without making them feel overcrowded or rushed, beautifully portrays two very different and unique perspectives. All while dropping satisfying tidbits of faith, comfort, and joy. I am sincerely looking forward to reading more of her stories as I truly enjoyed her novellas.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Celebrate the joyful hope of the Christmas season as characters find healing in the midst of heartbreak.

Christmas in Blue

In the wake of a personal loss deeper than anyone realizes, Angela plans to bypass as much of the season as possible and get through her duties as the church organist by going on autopilot. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration. After a mysterious young man arrives, townspeople suspect he is the reason that one set of plans after another disintegrate until little is left of their traditions. Yet Angela warms to Gabe because she suspects they share a secret—his real reason for coming to town. Even when all they have to work with is a garish supply of blue Christmas decorations, Gabe helps Angela discover the hidden beauty of hope.

Christmas in Gold

After eighty years, change is nothing new for Astrid. By the time she was twenty, she survived the destructive Nazi regime, caring for her family under brutal circumstances, moving to America, and losing her husband. At forty she was widowed again and left to build a new life with her children. Now, when she faces a move into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up hope through tragedy one more time.

 

The Beloved Christmas Quilt: Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter and Richelle Brunstetter

My Review

I enjoyed how The Beloved Christmas Quilt mirrored three generations, just like the authors – grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter; her daughter-in-law, Jean; and granddaughter, Richelle. Each of the stories focuses on the Christmas quilt inscribed with the Bible verse, Psalm 31:3, “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” The quilt is initially given to the mother/grandmother and is then passed on to the eldest daughter in successive generations.

Amish stories are always fascinating to me. The traditions passed on, the values exhibited, their strong faith embraced and the non-traditional style of life preserved are inspirational. The three novellas highlight each of these qualities.

The Beloved Christmas Quilt is an enjoyable book to read. However, because it showcases three stories, the depth of development isn’t there, which tends to be a downfall for many novellas, unfortunately. There just isn’t enough time or words to truly tell a deeper story. Nonetheless, the stories focus on real-life situations and dilemmas, while using the verse on the quilt as a beacon of hope for each of the women.

I also appreciated the recipes included at the end of the stories. I can’t wait to try some of them out; they seem perfect for a Thanksgiving or Christmas treat!

I received this book from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Review

One Quilt Binds Three Generations of Amish Women

Enjoy the gift of a brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, along with stories by her daughter-in-law, Jean and granddaughter, Richelle.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
The scripture embroidered on the back of a beloved quilt brings hope to three generations of Pennsylvania Amish women at Christmastime.

Luella’s Promise
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.

Karen’s Gift
By Jean Brunstetter
Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?

Roseanna’s Groom
By Richelle Lynn Brunstetter
When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

A Patchwork Christmas: Three Christmas Romances with Bonus Handcraft Patterns and Cookie Recipes by Judith Mccoy Miller, Nancy Moser and Stephanie Grace Whitson

 #ReadChristmasinJuly

Publisher’s Summary

In late Victorian-era America, women married for convenience as often as they married for love. When passion seems a distant hope, how delightful it is that God surprises three young women with second-chance love just in time for the holidays.

*  SEAMS LIKE LOVE by Judith Miller:  Betrayed by the man she thought God had designed for her, a resident of the Amana Colonies packs away her wedding quilts as well as any plans for marriage. But God has other plans.

*  A PATCHWORK LOVE by Stephanie Grace Whitson:  A young widow is headed west to marry a prosperous businessman she barely knows in order to give her daughter a better life when a snowstorm strands them in the middle of nowhere.

*  THE BRIDAL QUILT by Nancy Moser:  A wealthy ingénue–the toast of New York–inadvertently causes grave injury to a man who saves a street orphan from her carriage. But then she discovers he’s a man from her past…

Surprised by the possibility of love, each woman must search her heart, change her plans, make a decision, and patch together a tender, unexpected life filled with love.

My Review

Betrayed by her fiancé, Karla Stuke decides marriage isn’t for her. Instead, she spends her time helping her sister, Antje, prepare for her wedding and helping her family with their hotel. After all, she knows the male population is only interested in pretty females, and she knows she isn’t pretty. She is plain.

Frank Lehner, a childhood friend, returns to the Amanas after finishing school and is pleasantly surprised to find out Karla isn’t married. However, he never expected her to be so hurt and standoffish.

Seams Like Love by Judith Miller is set in the Amana Colonies of Iowa in 1890. The story is interesting, giving insight into a little-known religion. The characters are relatable and endearing. I also appreciated the bonus quilt patterns and recipes at the end of this story (and the other two).

I had always thought the Amana Colonies were founded by the Amish. However, they were a group called the Inspirationist of the Community of True Inspiration. I found the following, if you are interested in more information History of Amana Colonies.

A Patchwork Love, by Stephanie Grace Whitson, introduces us to Jane McClure, a widow, and her daughter, Molly. Jane’s husband passed away not long after the Civil War, leaving his family destitute due to his poor investment decisions. Jane, in desperation, decides to accept the invitation of a businessman, Mr. Huggins, and move from Omaha to Denver in the hopes of a relationship that results in marriage.

Mrs. Gruber and her son Peter rescue Jane and Molly when their train is stranded because of snow drifts on the train tracks. However, Molly develops a fever and cough, forcing them to impose on the Gruber’s even longer. When Mrs. Gruber becomes ill, Jane is in a quandary. How can she help the woman who so kindly helped her and Molly before Mr. Huggins changes his mind?

I appreciate how Ms. Whitson portrays the many different elements of character and character development in A Patchwork Love. I came to care about each person and their feelings as more and more was revealed.

The Bridal Quilt, by Nancy Moser, richly illustrates the vast differences between high society’s select few and those of a lower social status.

Ada Wallace, part of the New York privileged is being pushed hard by her mother to get Samuel Alcott, of the Alcott bankers, to propose, thereby assuring Ada’s fortunes for life.

Samuel, however, rescues a street orphan and changes his outlook on life, throwing his preconceived notions out the window. His life changing rescue creates a dilemma for Ada’s mother and alters Ada’s life.

I was touched by the acceptance portrayed by the orphans and enjoyed their child like faith and love.

All three stories were heartwarming making them perfect for the holidays.

Christmas in July sponsored by

https://www.asimplyenchantedlife.com/christmas-in-july-signup/

 

Tuesday’s Tale

12 Brides

I got way behind on reviewing Christmas stories. Christmas just snuck up on me this year! Therefore, there will be a few more Christmas stories soon!

The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Margaret Brownley, Amanda Cabot, Mary Connealy, Susan Page Davis, Miralee Ferrell, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Vickie McDonough, Davalynn Spencer, and Michelle Ule

About Book

Enter the heartland of historical America at Christmastime through twelve inspiring romance novellas from acclaimed Christian authors. Meet Alma, Lucy, Esther, Marilee, Polly, Deborah, Annabelle, Sophie, Maddie, Karen, Arabella, and Kate who are surprised by how God brings them the desires of their hearts. Watch as faith, romance, and heartfelt gifts open each of their hearts to love.

My Thoughts

Originally, each of the novellas in The Twelve Brides of Christmas Collection released as individual features and later re-packaged as one book. The novellas each cover a different location of our country during the 1800’s. I liked how each story identified the date and state where the story took place. The book is a wonderful collection featuring many authors I know and several I don’t know. I enjoyed reading every story.

The twelve tales are short, roughly just 50 pages long. They are all wholesome Christmas stories capturing the true meaning and unique perspective of the season. Moreover, they highlight a romantic angle from a Christian viewpoint.

I opted not to review each novella individually. I felt a fair review of each story would almost require another book!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.