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The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations by [Witemeyer, Karen, Hunter, Kristi Ann, Thomas, Sarah Loudin, Wade, Becky]In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

Review

I decided to read these novellas because two of my favorite authors contributed to the collection and I must say that I very much enjoyed all of the stories (though some more than others).

Kristi Ann Hunter’s Legacy of Love: Hunter writes regency novels very well. She knows the era, the layers of complexities that makes up the class structures, and the way to craft a good story. I will admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance because it felt a bit forced to me and the plot seemed lacking at moments. But overall very cute.

Karen Witemeyer’s Gift of the Heart: Witemeyer  managed to write very complex characters in a short space. I immediately felt for the main characters, especially Ruth. She’s bold, determined, and kind. Simple though the story was, I couldn’t put it down. It was probably my favorite one.

Sarah Loudin Thomas’s A Shot at Love: This was my first introduction to Thomas and this won’t be the last time that I read her. I really liked the main character, Fleeta. She drove the story. She was not just a tomboy, but a woman with a passion and a drive. The romance wasn’t bad, but it did seem as though Fleeta wasn’t as invested as the hero…but she was so fascinating it almost didn’t matter.

Becky Wade’s Because of You: Another winner. I love a good contemporary romance novel. I liked the complexity of the relationship between Maddie and her guy. Wade writes fabulous heroines that are easy to connect with. The romance seemed a bit quick on the guy’s part, but overall it was enjoyable

Each book presented characters that prayed and had to trust God through some tough times (and of course those tough times pretty much ended on Christmas, but hey it was cute!).

Novellas are always hard for me to read because I usually feel like so much of the story is missing, but sometimes they’re just fun too. This collection was fun and I know at least one of them was linked to other series that the authors are writing. I really like the way they used the brooch to connect all the stories and the way it was a different generation each time. There were, I think, a few mistakes with the timeline, but overall if you like novellas, recommended!

**I received a copy from BethanyHouse. My opinion was not affected in anyway**

 

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Roseanne M. White’s An Hour Unspent

An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England Book #3) by [White, Roseanna M.]

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge–and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger–and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

Review

Ms. White is easily one of my favorite authors. She writes well researched novels filled with complex characters who often wrestle with spiritual issues and natural issues. However, as much as I’ve been enjoying this series, this book was my least favorite. My thoughts:

What I liked

Return of characters. Obviously, if you’ve been following this series, you get the return of the orphan siblings. I was very excited to find out who Barclay was and the kind of woman who would win his heart. Of course there was also the return of Willa and Rosemary and I enjoyed seeing what they were up to.

The setting. I feel like World War I is a war that’s rarely highlighted in fiction. White does a lovely job of showing London in this era and the effects of the war on those at that time.

Clockwork. You learn a lot about clocks and how they work and just how intricate they are. I really appreciated the time and effort that White put into explaining it.

Spiritually, the novel deals with how God is like a clockmaker…very much into the details of our lives. Every part of us is important to Him.

What I didn’t like

Evelina and Barclay. Okay, to be fair, it’s not that I didn’t like them, it’s that I didn’t understand them. Evelina was the more confusing of the two to me because I didn’t understand why she was the way she was and why I should care. She cares about the rights of women and factory workers but it seemed like just something she did because she was bored, not because their situations actually bothered her. She was a mix of things that didn’t make sense. She loved her father, but often treated him with disrespect. She cared for the poor and downtrodden and then at moments looked down on them. She wanted independence, but was not in anyway striving to get it. In the end I just did not connect with her character.

As for Barclay, he was a real sweetheart…which was part of the problem. I realized that he’s a believer in this book and no longer over a gang, but his personality was so soft that I had a hard time believing he had ever been as criminal as he kept telling me he was. Because let’s face it, it takes a certain, ‘I don’t care about others,’ attitude to live a life of crime. And Barclay cares a lot.

Which leads to the romance. Why did Barclay fall for Evelina and vice versa? They seemed so different from each other and I’m not referring to class. I’m referring to personality and character. Evelina came across as silly compared to everything Barclay had done and was doing. It just didn’t work for me.

Romantic scale: 6.5

Overall, not my favorite book by White, but she’s still one of my favorite authors!

** I received a copy from Netygalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**