What fun it is to count down the weeks until Christmas with a novella a week by some of my very favorite authors plus the chance to discover some new-to-me authors. The second Christmas bride is “The Nutcracker Bride” by Margaret Brownley.
Lucy Langdon is a young woman doing her best to care for her grandfather while trying to support them by continuing her grandmother’s baking business. Her grandfather’s memory is lapsing and he is prone to wander off looking for her deceased grandmother. When a handsome stranger throws a bag into the back of her wagon while pursued by bandits, Lucy is flabbergasted to learn what it in the bag. When the stranger returns for his property, Lucy accidentally shoots him and feels obligated to care for his injury.
“The Nutcracker Bride” is a fun and romantic story with a bit of action and humor added for good measure. Brownley’s characters were well developed and realistic for such a short novella. I loved reading about the history and German customs regarding nutcrackers. My only complaint is that the story ended much too soon. I would have loved to spend more time with Lucy and her Texas Ranger Chad.
This book was provided for review by Shiloh Run Studios.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
“I never outline so I have no idea where a story is going or how it will end until the words appear on my screen. No one is more surprised by an ending than I am and the same holds true for The Nutcracker Bride. All twelve bride stories involve a special gift and I was especially surprised at what the hero gave my heroine.”
Margaret is partial to Texas Rangers, so you can guess what her hero did for a living, but her heroine was a little different.
“My heroine is caring for both an elderly grandfather and the stranger she shot. She’s clearly overwhelmed and maybe even a bit resentful. The Bible says a cheerful heart is good medicine but it’s a struggle for her.”
The story’s theme came out of that struggle.
The nutcracker title came from a ballet written by Peter Tchaikovsky for the Christmas season. Margaret has a small but impressive collections of nutcrackers she display every Christmas. “Nutcrackers have a fascinating history, some of which I wrote about in my story.”
Margaret Brownley’s stories generally take place in the nineteenth century, and she’s always been fascinated by the similarities between that time period and ours today.
“During the 1800s banks failed and unemployment was high. Immigration, health care and education problems also added to the nation’s woes. If you think politics are bad now, take a look at what was going on back then. Today we’re losing jobs to robots; in the nineteenth century jobs were lost to the machine age.”
Even social media changes were afoot:
“Victorians had their tech challenges too with the advent of the telephone, electricity and automobiles. They even had an early form of social media called the telegram. With all these challenges it’s encouraging to know that our forefathers not only survived but thrived. That gives me hope for the future. I hope it does the same to readers.”
The Brownley family enjoys Christmas,”we always make a big fuss and celebrate the birth of Jesus with loving hearts, giving spirits and as many lights as will fit in and outside the house.”
The Nutcracker Bride, however, which required a far more modest celebration: “I wanted my heroine to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in her own unique and meaningful way.”
Who is Margaret Brownley?
Margaret Brownley has penned more than thirty novels. Her books have won numerous awards and she’s a former Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist. She’s also written for a TV soap. She’s currently working on a new series of mystery/romance novels. The first in the series, Petticoat Detective, will be published in December 2014.
Margaret was a co-author (with Vickie McDonough and Michelle Ule) in last year’s best-selling A Pioneer Christmas Collection, along with Michelle Ule in the New York Times’ best-selling A Log Cabin Christmas Collection.
“Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask me to diagram a sentence,” she laughed.