November Review Books
“The Christmas Tree Bride” is the eighth installment in the 12 Brides of Christmas series of novellas. Like the preceding novellas, it is a short and sweet romance that takes place during the Christmas season.
Featuring Polly Winfield who helps her parents run a stagecoach stop in Wyoming Territory, the story depicts the sometimes lonely life and hard work involved in running a stage stop. Polly’s isolation is somewhat relieved by the presence of new driver Jacob Tierney during his layover between runs. When he learns how important having a Christmas tree is to Polly, Jacob promises to bring her one in time for Christmas.
By their very nature these novellas must be short and to-the-point but some of them make me long for an extended version and “The Christmas Tree Bride” is one of those. I would have loved to read more detailed interaction between Polly and Jacob. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed each of the novellas thus far and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
This book was provided for review by Shiloh Run Studios.
More About The Christmas Tree Bride with Susan Page Davis As a veteran writer of 50 novels, Susan Page Davis loves historical fiction and often finds inspiration from her family history. While her own family always had a Christmas tree–no surprise since she grew up in Maine–she was interesting in writing a story set in a place where trees were hard to find.
In The Christmas Tree Bride, Polly moves to Wyoming Territory with her parents and helps run a stagecoach stop during the time period prior to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.” I added characters to help keep the stage line moving, and also envisioned what sort of romance might take place there.”
In the course of writing the novella, Susan was surprised when one of her secondary characters, Billy Clyde, the shotgun rider, developed a strong personality of his own.
“I set The Christmas Tree Bride in 1867 because I love that time period and the excitement of westward expansion,” Susan explained. “I knew a tree was something a girl would miss,” for her first Christmas away from her greater family. Susan’s own family enjoys large family get-togethers during the holidays.
As part of her research, Susan investigated what trees grew in Wyoming and also learned the type of Christmas cards sent at that time. (Which, of course, was just after the ending of the Civil War).
Her heroine, Polly, reflects certain aspects of Susan’s character. She’s impulsive and desires to please and help others. Among the spiritual themes is a simple one: “God provides the things we really need, even when it seems unlikely.”
The setting for The Christmas Tree Bride is familiar to Susan as she married a man from Oregon and has driven the east to west route and back again several times.
“Most of my ancestors stayed in New England, but my great-great grandfather on my mother’s side did go west after the Civil War, driving cattle out there. He also did some gold mining. My husband’s family, on the other hand, took to the wagon trails and left some vivid tales behind.”
Given her experiences writing historical fiction, Susan wouldn’t mind visiting Winfield Station, “but I don’t think I’d want to live there!”
Who is Susan Page Davis?
A native of Maine, Susan has spent most of her life there, with forays to her husband’s home state of Oregon, and is now relocated to Kentucky. She homeschooled her six children. Like several other 12 Brides of Christmas authors, Susan descends from patriots who defended their country during the American Revolution, and has used some of their inspiring stories in her own writing.
You can learn more about Susan on her webpage: www.susanpagedavis.com
Susan Page Davis blogs on the twenty-third of the month on the Christian Fictional Historical Society website.
In addition, you can find Susan on Facebook
Award winning author Laura V. Hilton has penned many novels, including the Amish of Seymour series, the Amish of Webster County series, and the forthcoming Amish of Jamesport series. A member of ACFW, Laura is also a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. A pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mom, and home school teacher, Laura and her family make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
A lifelong reader, Cindy Loven is an active church wife of a minister and mother to one son who is a home school graduate. Cindy and her family reside in Conway, Arkansas.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.
Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter.
Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.
I have learned that when I open a novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer I can usually expect a story that delves into the depths of human emotions. It is also quite possible that it will cover at least one issue that many do not find especially comfortable to discuss. Kim always manages to depict her characters and their difficult situations in a tactful manner that also leaves the reader encouraged and hopeful. “When Mercy Rains” is definitely one that meets those criteria.
Suzanne Zimmerman made a poor decision as a teen and was sent away from her family because of it. During the following twenty years she earned a nursing degree and managed to make a good life for herself and her daughter. Summoned home to help care for her injured mother, Suzanne and her daughter Alexa reluctantly return, hoping to mend old wounds but in many ways receiving the reception she feared.
“When Mercy Rains” covers approximately two months in the lives of the Zimmerman family, complete with family tension, guilt, revealed secrets, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It is not always a pretty story but it is one of changed lives. Everything does not turn out exactly as the reader might expect but the end is probably that much more realistic for that very reason. Not only that, but its ending does leave things wide open for possibilities in the next book of this series, “When Grace Sings”.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I look forward to “When Grace Sings” for more about the Zimmerman family.
This book was provided for review by Blogging for Books.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
But God reveals all things, in His timing.
And He redeems them.
Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret—one that changes everything.Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy–and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?
“An Amish Second Christmas” is a compilation of four novellas by authors known for their Amish fiction. Each of the novellas stands alone with different settings and characters. The common thread is that each one highlights a way the Amish of that community celebrates the day after Christmas which they call “Second Christmas”.
“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman is somewhat different than the usual Amish novel. The story is a bit mysterious with a bit of humor and a touch of romance. It is also a touching example of family reconciliation and healing that might just bring the reader to tears.
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid is also a bit unexpected. A story that begins with an expected engagement gone wrong, a misdirected package and letter, and a correspondence that develops as a result, this novella is thoroughly delightful and entertaining in its entirety.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller tells the story of lifelong best friends Anne Marie and Nathaniel who are soon to be separated when Anne Marie’s widowed mother remarries and moves the family to another state. Anne Marie cannot imagine her life without Nathaniel and both of them realize possibly too late that their friendship has developed into much more.
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer is another story set in Kootenai, a place Goyer’s readers have come to love. Esther is a shy young woman who has always lived in the shadow of her more outgoing twin and has developed a pretty good case of low self esteem as a result. When her mother finally shares her famous pie recipe for Esther to bake for an auction, the young man who buys her pie discovers just how special Esther is.
All four novellas are quickly read and each is special in its own way. I enjoyed all of them and would find it difficult to choose a favorite. “An Amish Second Christmas” is just the right book for those who love Amish fiction and Christmas novels.
This book was provided for review by the BookLook Blogger Program of Harper Collins Christian Publishing..
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.
“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.
Read a preview from When Christmas Comes Again HERE.
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid
Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer
Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
|Beth WisemanAward-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth’s The Promise is inspired by a true story.|
|Kathleen FullerKathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including *A Man of His Word and Treasuring Emma, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, The Mysteries of Middlefield.|
|Ruth ReidRuth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.|
|Tricia GoyerUSA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. Tricia and her husband John live in Little Rock, Arkansas where John works for FamilyLife. They have six children.|