The Festive Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
The Nutcracker Bride by Margaret Brownley
The Christmas Star Bride by Amanda Cabot
The Advent Bride by Mary Connealy
The Christmas Tree Bride by Susan Page Davis
The Nativity Bride by Miralee Farrell
The Evergreen Bride by Pam Hillman
The Gift-Wrapped Bride by Maureen Lang
The Gingerbread Bride by Amy Lillard
The Fruitcake Bride Vickie McDonough
The Snowbound Bride by Davalynn Spencer
The Yuletide Bride by Michelle Ule
That I am partial to the story collections put out by Barbour Books is no secret, and this collection of 12 “Heartwarming Stories for the Season of Love” is no exception. Full of sweet and charming stories set in the Christmas season, there is sure to be a story or six here to suit the taste of any historical and inspirational romance reader with arranged marriages, widowed fathers, spinsters, artists, bakers, stagecoach drivers, Texas Rangers, love potions, family expectations and childhood misunderstandings.
While some suffer the usual issues of short stories, particularly the feeling of being a bit rushed, all are sweet and enjoyable. As is also usual for these collections, it was a great way to experience the writing of some new-to-me authors. While all of these stories were enjoyable, a few (okay, seven) stood out for me:
In The Nutcracker Bride, which might be my favorite Margaret Brownley story so far, Lucy Langdon is caring for her senile Opa in 1880’s Kansas and earning money by selling baked goods. Chad Prescott is a Texas Ranger on the run from vicious outlaws. He hides a bag of money in a wagon, but when he comes back for it, Lucy shoots him.
Maureen Lang’s The Gift-Wrapped Bride is a cute story of Sophie Stewart and Noah Jackson, who meet again after 5 years apart. She thinks he was a bully who can’t have changed while he remembers her as a tattle-tale. Maddie Sinclair doses cookies with a love potion before giving them to Harlan Calhoun in Amy Lillard’s super cute story The Gingerbread Bride.
Two of the stories surprised me by being related to stories I had previously read in summer collections from Barbour. The Fruitcake Bride by Vickie McDonough tells the story of Pastor Clay and his bride, giving the background to The County Fair Bride story from another collection (review here) while Amanda Cabot’s The Christmas Star Bride is the romance of the baker and the artist who become secondary characters in The Fourth of July Bride (review here).
Michelle Ule’s The Yuletide Bride provides some comic relief with a set of bagpipes and in what may be my very favorite of the collection, Davalynn Spencer’s The Snowbound Bride, a runaway rich girl ends up in the wagon of a lonely rancher.
A good, solid collection perfect for the holiday season. I was surprised to find that I already had a print copy of several of these stories (I had bought it to read Susan Page Davis’ story), as they were previously published in a series of books with the same name. I’ve also noticed that each of these stories is available as individual ebooks. I personally prefer this ebook collection of all twelve stories, as there is not one that I did not enjoy.
So, if you are needing a little dose (or several small doses) of sweet historical romance during the holiday season, these are just the ticket.
This review refers to a review ebook copy I read courtesy of Barbour Books via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.