A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Published by BARBOUR PUB Incorporated on 2017-09
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Romance
Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years. In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?
Bygone Brides Christmas Six Stories of Old-Fashioned Christmas Romance is a novella collection by six new-to-me authors. Do I even need to explain to anyone why I chose to read this book? Christmas, duh! I mean, what could be better than a sweet Christmas romance?
I very much enjoyed this book. The cover is festive and the stories were enjoyable. All six stories are set in the 1800s and take place in America, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I mention this because I don’t often read books set in these locations. I enjoyed learning about Christmas traditions from different countries.
The book contains the following novellas:
Lost and Found by GINNY AIKEN:
When Rhiannon returns to her mining village in Wales, her childhood affection for Trefor, Papa’s mine superintendent, turns into love. Her lifelong fear of the dangerous mine, however, makes a future together impossible. When he disappears down the mineshaft to rescue trapped miners, she decides to leave again. Will Trefor survive? Can he show her that with faith in God they can face anything their marriage might bring?
Rhiannon was a character that I had a difficult time connecting with. Rhiannon is an individual that is deeply caring and empathetic. However, I found her rather snooty and aloof. I did enjoy the story if I kept reminding myself that the author likely didn’t intend for her to come off this way. I did rather enjoy that Rhiannon already knew her suitor rather than experiencing instant-love.
‘Tis the Season by Carla Gade:
Stephan Yost, resident carpenter of Schooley’s Mountain, New Jersey’s fashionable resort, spends off-season working on repairs, renovations, and constructing new buildings. When he is hired to build a permanent home for the resort’s physician and his spirited daughter, Annaliese Braun, in time for Christmas, Stephan finds himself enamored by the precocious spinster. But will he be able to compete for her affections against the advances of a manipulative iron baron?
This book included flawed characters that I couldn’t help but love. I was slightly bothered by how quickly Annaliese fell in love. Still, this issue aside, this story was a feel-good Christmas romance.
I Saw Three Ships” by Pamela Griffin:
I Saw Three Ships by PAMELA GRIFFIN Rachel is upset after her childhood love returns to manage the family shipbuilding business in Scotland. Malcolm has changed; he’s so secretive. And why did he leave abruptly, years ago, without saying good-bye? Malcolm hoped by bringing Rachel to Farthay House as a companion to his mother they could renew their relationship and he could admit the truth. Will chaos follow his confession, or will love sail into two stubborn hearts this Christmastide?
This was one of my favorite novellas in the collection. Once again you have flawed characters that pull at the heartstrings. These are characters that faced adversity and changed for the better. This story was so touching and I especially loved the special Christmas visitor.
Colleen of Erin by TAMELA HANCOCK MURRAY:
Colleen Sullivan seems to be the perfect match for Finn Donahue, a successful merchant. But Finn lacks compassion. His coffers are lined by a wealthy customer named Joey. On Christmas Eve, Colleen sets the table with food and leaves the door unlatched so a wanderer can partake. When Joey, dressed in rags, enters, will Finn’s heart be filled with the love he needs to be a husband to Colleen?
Once again, this collection touched on a heavenly experience that was both heartwarming and endearing. At first, I didn’t like Finn and Colleen also seemed set in her ways. But, Joey made this story. This one is cozy and absolutely precious. It captures the very heart of Christmas.
A Right, Proper Christmas by Jill Steng:
Charlotte Colburn’s rector father takes a half-frozen vagrant into their home for Christmas. While regaining his strength, Dan Jackson falls in love with Charlotte, but God has called him to preach Christ’s salvation to the poor. He cannot offer marriage to a lady! Can Dan reconcile God’s calling with his own pride? And will Charlotte ever see beyond Dan’s rough exterior and learn to value his godly character?
This novella was another favorite of mine. Despite the instant-love. Have you noticed that I dislike stories with instant-love? Well, I normally do. This novella, however, felt like another Christmas miracle. Dan was so likable that I fell for him faster than Charlotte did. So, I’ll forgive her for it.
Mercy Mild by Gina Welborn:
Set in 1868 in New Jersey. Deputy Sheriff Ezekiel Norcross, who loves children, is bringing some war-orphans to his home town to unit with their new parents. Essie Hasenclever refuses to have children because of her abusive upbringing, therefore is afraid she will abuse her own. She ends up having to temporarily care for a messy child however she loves cleanliness and order.
Oh, how I loved Essie! This woman had gone through so many trials that she couldn’t see her own worth. The little girl in this story reminded me of Anne (of Green Gables) as she was just so adorable and spunky! I do think that the romance in this novella moved rather fast. But, given the circumstances, this marriage was one that had to be rushed.
Overall: I had to give this collection a four. I know that romances moved along at a rapid pace in years past. But, I have trouble accepting instant love. Even with the time constraints that a novella presents.
This is still a book that I would love to read again and that I will buy in print for my Christmas collection. Yes, I have a Christmas book collection—don’t be hatin’.
I would also be interested in other works of fiction by these authors.