A Trusting Heart by Carrie Turansky
Home for the Holidays by Mildred Colvin
One Evergreen Night by Debby Lee
All Ye Faithful by Gina Welborn
A Carpenter Christmas by Mary Davis
Fires of Love by Tamela Hancock Murray
The Best Medicine by Lena Nelson Dooley
Almost Home by Susan Page Davis
Dressed in Scarlet by Darlene Franklin
This is a fun collection of novellas to read in the Christmas season, and it earns bonus points for having linked stories with gratifying cross-over of characters. And bonus points on top of bonus points for Pacific Northwest settings. Yes, I’m biased.
Carrie Turansky starts us off with an unexpected bride, a runaway groom, his lovingly meddlesome father and more responsible brother, along with Swedish Christmas traditions in my favorite novella of this collection.
Mildred Colvin sets her story in Tumwater, Washington with a more refined man arriving from Seattle and meeting a girl of almost 18 who (gasp) fishes and wears pants. Debby Lee writes the most exciting action scene with a train driver leaving Tumwater and going at break-more-than-neck speed to arrive at a lumber camp where a certain young lady is working. Gina Welborn takes a character who had appeared in the last two stories and pairs him with a part Chinook heroine, giving a glimpse into some of the racial attitudes of the 1880’s.
Mary Davis starts a new arc set in 1913 that links five of the novellas. In her story, we’re given themes of trust, patience, and obedience to God when He says “build my house.” Tamela Hancock Murray continues this arc with a religious young woman who is determined to stay single after having her heart broken by a superstitious man who is now a widower. She also introduces Aunt Dorcas, who will play a part in Lena Nelson Dooley’s story. In it a Doctor, new to town, is out to impress the rancher’s daughter he had loved years ago as a ranchhand. Susan Page Davis rounds out the quartet with a young midwife trapped in a line shack with the man who happens to be her childhood crush – as she was his. In the final story of the collection, Darlene Franklin moves us to a hotel called The Brown Palace, whose Italian born Coachman/mechanic witnesses a car accident while skiing home. Naturally, he and the young lady involved become snowed in at the hotel, where they are continually thrown together.
I enjoyed the inclusion of different cultures, the linked stories, and having the settings in and near the Rocky Mountains. While this won’t be in my top picks of these novella collections from Barbour, I wouldn’t have skipped it. It was, however, surprising to find what may be one of my favorite “kiss” scenes in any of these collections at the end of chapter five of Lena Nelson Dooley’s contribution.
If you enjoy Inspirational historical fiction set in the 1880’s and 1910’s, from Wyoming to Washington, with sweet Christmas-time romances then this is a nice collection to cozy up with by your Christmas tree.
Mountain Christmas Brides: Nine Historical Novellas Celebrate Faith and Love in the Rocky Mountains by various authors | Barbour Books, Sept. 2016 | paperback, 448 pages
This review refers to a review ebook copy read courtesy of the publisher, through Net Galley, in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.