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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway: Mistletoe Memories: Four Generations Transform a House Into a Home for Christmas (Romancing America)

This is a delightful collection of Christmas miracles... with a touch of mistletoe!
Mistletoe Memories: Four Generations Transform a House Into a Home for Christmas (Romancing America)
by Jennifer AlLee, Carla Olson Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson,
and Gina Welborn

File Size: 3099 KB
Print Length: 355 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; Gld edition (September 1, 2013)
Genre: Inspirational Fiction, Christmas Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Spend a heartfelt Christmas on Schooley’s Mountain as four generations make a house a home. Carpenter Stephan Yost vows to build a precocious spinster a home by Christmas. Civil War widow Mary Ann Plum learns the greatest peace on earth comes from giving and receiving love. Olympia Paris must protect the orphanage she grew up in from a man intending to play Father Christmas to most of the town. Joy Benucci turns to a modern-day Scrooge to save a transitional home for foster kids. Will Christmas be a season of miracles in their lives?

Tis the Season by Carla Olson Cade; Rating 4.5
Schooley’s Mountain, NJ 1820
Annaliese is a beautiful young woman who has determined that she will remain single to take care of her widowed father, Dr. Braun. They travel from New York city to the resort village on Schooley’s Mountain each summer where many elite visit for the special spring mineral waters.

Stephan Yost is a respected and successful carpenter. He has watched Annaliese from afar but is fearful to approach her. He is sure that she would not accept a simple carpenter but even more he feels unworthy to receive love after he left his first love behind. Even though he was away during wartime he feels that he abandoned the young woman he once loved. When he discovers another secret from his past he is even more certain that he is beyond redemption.

I immediately liked these two characters and the young boy, Rory, who ultimately brings them together. Through the simple view of a child the author shows God’s great love and grace that can redeem the greatest sin. The story is warm and charming. I would like to read more works by Ms. Cade.

Mercy Mild by Gina Welborn; Rating 4.5
Schooley’s Mountain, NJ 1868
Deputy Sheriff Ezekiel Norcross is a caring, loving son and public officer. His tasks include delivering the orphan children to their new parents and new lives at Christmas. This year there is one extra child and he is determined that the bright, nine-year-old girl will not go to the home of an elderly widow where he is sure any child will be more a servant than a loved family member. Although he knows the woman he loves has said she doesn’t want children Zeke manages to have Marianne appointed as temporary guardian to Polly.

Marianne cares for Zeke but knows that he wants a family and she is certain she cannot be a mother. After all, her own mother thought Marianne was worthless and Marianne was barely a good wife to the man who was so kind to take her out of her miserable family life. She knows that she doesn’t know how to love children. Besides, Zeke’s mother, who is Marianne’s neighbor holds some animosity towards her that keeps the women at odds.

Again these are wonderful characters who grow by seeing themselves through the eyes of a child. It takes the joy and eagerness of an orphaned girl, and the regret and confession of an older mother to show Marianne that she can never be or do enough to make God love her… but that he gives love unconditionally with mercy and forgiveness.

Midnight Clear by Lisa Karon Richardson; My Rating 4.5
Schooley’s Mountain, NJ 1910
Olympia Paris was raised by a wonderful woman in the orphanage. She has gathered about her a half dozen young ones who are her family now. But she is struggling to raise the money to pay the taxes to keep the house where they live. Olympia works hard just to provide food and now her charges have begun to do small tasks and acts to help raise money too. Although there is concern, the cook/housekeeper is quick to remind her not to fret – “The Lord hasn’t gone anywhere.” The children accept this faith to a varying degree with some standing firm and others hoping to have their faith proved true.

Thomas Carstairs was another orphan who grew up with Olympia. He moved away and worked himself, step by step, up the ladder of success. He has returned to his childhood community with plans to bring work to the area by remodeling the old Inn as soon as he buys the building at the upcoming tax sale. Thomas has always loved Olympia and had no idea she was living at the old building taking care of another generation of orphans.

Olympia has only ever loved Thomas. But she cannot forgive him if he continues with his plans to take away their house. He thinks they are a burden to her and just doesn’t understand that they are her family.

Jonathan is the oldest boy in Olympia’s care and he is brash and troubled. He reminds Thomas of himself. Thomas learns a lesson as he helps Jonathan cope with people who demean the orphans. Olympia learns that it isn’t the house that keeps a family together. But can Thomas and Olympia find a common ground to bring them together?

This story shares a message of how we see ourselves and how we treat others. The author uses the characters to share messages of learning to move beyond our past and become more with God’s grace.

Comfort and Joy by Jennifer AlLee; My Rating 4.5.
Schooley’s Mountain, NJ, Modern Day
Joy was raised in the foster-care system and knows how difficult it can be for teens to transition from a foster home to life on their own. She established Comfort House to give young people who are cut loose from the foster care system at aged 18 to have a safe place to learn life and work skills. Joy has been able to raise funds and manage the facility with the help of the low rent agreement with the owner of the house.

Evan Lancaster is a handsome attorney who appears at Joy’s door. Evan’s family has had personal experience with the foster-care system in a different way and it has brought much pain. He has been told that Joy is just taking advantage of the system so he has no qualms telling her that he has inherited that house and that she is being given 30 days to vacate.

Evan soon begins to see that Joy really cares for her charges and he realizes that misconceptions have led to an injustice. But things have gone rather far and he may have a hard time putting things right.

I enjoyed how the author uses an eager news reporter to fan the flames of conflict between the beleaguered Joy and her teens and the big powerful lawyers threatening their home. There is a personal influence that plays a part in that conflict too. I appreciated Joy’s firm stand on faith, trusting that things would turn out right, and her encouraging Evan and his family to find that forgiveness can bring healing.

Each of the stories shares a wonderful, gentle message of faith. The stories are warm and charming. All of my book club ladies loved the book, even if some thought that the quick romances were somewhat unrealistic. Since I know from personal experience that quick romance can happen that didn’t bother me one bit. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy charming, clean romance with inspiring messages of faith. I will be glad to read any of these authors again.

This was a book selected for Ladies' Book Club. It qualifies for M on Alphabet Soup Challenge and my TBR Triple Dog Dare.

GIVEAWAY: Two Winners:
One (gently read) PRINT COPY
US Only for Print; Worldwide for eBook

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries
(a) comment on the review, OR
(b) Visit one of the Authors: Jennifer AlLeeCarla Olson Cade, Lisa Karon Richardson or
Gina Welborn and tell me something you learned or like there.

* This contest is open to US only for Print Copy.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) February 21, 2016.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED after February 21, 2016.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond on the winners form linked in the announcement or by email.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful read. Thank you for your review. I'm looking forward to reading it.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  2. I enjoyed reading your review. The book sounds like an interesting read. I love that it has so many characters, and the time period it is set in. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  3. I liked the review. Sounds like a good read.

  4. I enjoy books with multiple stories in them that are a bit shorter than a regular book.

  5. This does look like a lovely collection. Helpful reviewing thank you.

  6. learned Jennifer AlLee was born in Hollywood

  7. Great review. I didn't realize this book contain 4 stories. I learned that Lisa Karon Richardson’s early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. I also learned that she and her husband are now starting a daughter-work church in a new city while raising a family.

  8. I'd love to read these stories! I live fairly close to the Schooly Mountain area.

  9. love the cover Christmas books I love to read. Thanks for the chance to win

  10. I read that Gina Welborn married a youth pastor who grew up in the same town as she did yet they didn't meet until they both graduated college

    tiramisu392 (at)


Your comments are always appreciated!


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