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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Review: The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection by 12 authors

This is a lovely collection of historical romance novellas.
The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection: 
12 Heartwarming Historical Romances for the Season of Love
by Mary Connealy (Author), Diana Lesire Brandmeyer (Author), Margaret Brownley (Author), & 9 more

File Size: 2204 KB
Print Length: 546 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1630584894
Publisher: Barbour Books (October 1, 2015)
Genre: Christian Romance, Historical Novellas
My Rating: 4.25+ of 5.0

Christmas is the time for love—and weddings—and twelve historical women are on their way to the altar, whether they know it or not. In Nineteenth Century settings across the heartland of America, readers will experience heartfelt gifts, old-fashioned Christmas traditions, sweet romance, and inspiring faith from twelve acclaimed Christian authors, including Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Michele Ule, Amy Lillard, Miralee Ferrell, Susan Page Davis, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Davalynn Spencer, and Vickie McDonough.

This is a lovely collection of ‘frontier’ (mostly), young (mostly) bride stories. I enjoyed the variety of locations and the individual holiday traditions or themes that made each story unique. I read and reviewed one of the novellas last December and I believe they are each offered separately. However this collection gets them all together and I wish that I had started reading the full collection a little earlier so I could have savored each story a bit more. All of the stories are sweet, charming and heart-warming. My favorite is #11, The Snowbound Bride. Davalynn Spencer has a wonderful way with describing a scene and sharing folksy sayings. I will be looking to enjoy more works from her.

1) The Festive Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer –Southern Illinois 1886. Roy is a widower struggling to care for his two young daughters who have asked for a “mama” for Christmas. The local doctor’s daughter, Alma, helps her nurse the younger child from a cold. Alma was raised in a festive home and is very handy with homemade crafts. She would rather work as a nurse or teacher than marry the men her father suggests. When the doctor prepares to move without his daughter she has to make plans quickly. Perhaps she can help Roy by caring for the girls. 4.25

2) The Nutcracker Bride by Margaret Brownley –Kansas 1880. Lucy is handling her wagon home when a dashing stranger on a thundering steed gives her a mission to save a package for him. When he sneaks up on her house, Lucy accidently shoots him. She isn’t sure if he is a Texas Ranger as he claims or a robbing bandit. This has a lovely Nutcracker tradition. (German Zimt Makronen Cookies recipe.) 4.25

3) The Christmas Star Bride by Amanda Cabot –Wyoming Territory 1885. Esther lost her sweetheart to the war. Now she has made a small success of a bakery in town. She needs a special portrait for her niece and her groom to carry on a family tradition. A wounded soldier turned itinerant artist finds a second chance for love when he answers Esther’s ad. 4.25

4) The Advent Bride by Mary Connealy –Nebraska 1875. Melanie is a young school teacher coping with a sullen, lonesome boy, Simon. She finds an old discarded puzzle box filled with hidden drawers. When she shares the special box with Simon and his father it changes their lives. I reviewed this story in December, 2014. 4.5

5) The Christmas Tree Bride by Susan Page Davis –Oregon Trail, Wyoming 1867. Polly’s family lives at a remote, lonely stagecoach stop. She misses her home and friends back east and longs for a Christmas tree like they had there. She asks a young driver, Jacob, if he would try to find her a tree for Christmas. She finds her dreams changing before Christmas arrives. 4.0.

6) The Nativity Bride by Miralee Ferrell –Washington 1875-1880. Sixteen year old Deborah loved the boy next door. Although Curt was a farmer’s son he longed to be a woodworker. He left Deborah behind to pursue his craft. Curt returns upon news that his mother has died. He and Deborah find a beautiful nativity as they clean the attic and Deborah finds secrets in his mother’s journal. Can the nativity and secrets revealed help restore broken relationships? 4.25

7) The Evergreen Bride by Pam Hillman –Mississippi 1887. Annabelle has her heart set on visiting her cousin in Illinois for a white Christmas. Her brother’s mill owner/woodworker partner, Sam, wants Annabelle to be happy even if he is concerned she might give her heart away in the city, without knowing how he feels. 4.25.

8) The Gift-Wrapped Bride byMaureen Lang –Chicago 1848. Sophie isn’t happy that her family has brought her to the city with other families seeking mates for their daughters. She would like to be an artist but her father scoffs at her dreams, Sophie has to deal with her childhood prankster, Noah. Can Noah convince her that he has matured and accepted faith? Inviting mischievous street lads to participate in the Nativity program will either be a disaster or show Sophie how he cares for others. There are lovely Christian messages in this story. (Stew and Dumplings recipe.) 4.25.

9) The Gingerbread Bride by Amy Lillard –Ozarks, Arizona 1870. Maddie is a preacher’s proper daughter – most of the time. But she can’t complete with her beautiful sister. She is desperate to win the heart of Harlan, the quiet lawyer in town. She decides that a love potion from the woman down the lane is the only answer. But how will she know if Harlan will love her after the potion in the gingerbread wears off? A cute story set in two days. 4.25

10) The Fruitcake Bride by Vickie McDonough –Missouri 1890. Karen was abandoned by her father and left in the care of her aunt. When her aunt dies Karen’s childhood best friend, Pastor Parsons (aka Parson Parsons) asks her to come to his town to be his bride. Karen is intimidated by the parishioners waiting to meet her and one misstep after another make her doubtful that she can be a good pastor’s wife. This has cute banter and a fruitcake recipe. 4.25.

11) The Snowbound Bride by Davalynn Spencer –Colorado 1885. Ara is running away from her uncle who wants to bargain her as a wife in a business arrangement. To escape her uncle’s henchman she hides in a wagon and ends up snowed in miles from town. Nate, the large horse rancher, has no idea where this pretty lady came from but he sure hopes he can keep her. His mother and uncle encourage the match and share a delightful family heritage. The descriptions in this are Wonderful! (“I see she’s done tangled your spurs.”) 4.75.

12) The Yuletide Bride by Michelle Ule –Nebraska 1873. Fiddler Ewan will take any work he can to make ends meet. He loves his flute playing, childhood friend, Kate, and she loves him. But Kate’s father has a banker’s fancy son in mind as a mate for his daughter. Can Ewan meet the demand price to win approval for a yuletide wedding? I enjoyed the authentic setting and musical instruments in this novella. 4.5

This is (I think) my last NetGalley title for the year. It qualifies for my NetGalley Challenge.

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