|reviewed by Suzie Johnson|
I was privileged enough to read and offer critique on this before it was submitted, and I was as enchanted by it then as I am now after having read it again.
Gina has a certain charm about her work that draws me. I’m not saying that because she’s one of my Inksters (my nickname for the Inky Sisters). If I came across her work solely on my own because I had no association with her, I’d be drawn to it in the same way I’m drawn to Robin Lee Hatcher and Sharon Gillenwater. Gina writes in that same small-town, big-heart style that I absolutely love. And each story in this anthology is set in my home state of Washington, in Tumwater, in the foothills of the beautiful mountain range that I am blessed to see every single day.
Lighthearted and charming at a first glance, underneath the layers of Gina’s stories are real issues that burn in the lives of so many people and make it easy to identify with her characters. Larkin Whitworth, the heroine of All Ye Faithful, is much like her creator. Light, breezy, and full of heart.
Here’s what Anna, one of the characters in the anthology, says about her friend:
“There’s nice, and then there’s you – nicer than nice. You’re sweet, sincere, and selfless.”
The year 1890 is soon coming to a close and Larkin Whitworth has vowed this would be the year she did something courageous, adventurous, different. And so she decides to tell E.V. Renier she loves him. But before she gets a chance, E.V. is called away by the father of another young woman determined to win E.V.’s heart.
Though it appears E.V. should give up asking Mr. Whitworth for his daughter’s hand in marriage, he’s not about to give up. Marrying Larkin is all he can think of, even when her father has already told him know a hundred-and-two times because he isn’t good enough. You see, E.V. has been asking Mr. Whitworth on a weekly basis for over two years.
Sigh… Just the kind of dedication every woman wants from her hero.
And that’s the reason he allows himself to be pulled away from Larkin just as she’s about to tell him something important. In order to make his lumber mill more profitable so he can court Larkin with her father’s approval, he feels he must help a prospective investor find a suitable suitor for his daughter by paying her more attention than he finds comfortable.
While E.V. is willing to do whatever it takes to win Larkin’s hand, Larkin is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her mother from what’s become a serious issue in her life. And when E.V. goes out of his way to help, will that finally prove to Mr. Whitworth he’s the perfect match for Larkin?
Paying attention to another woman so you can secure your true love’s hand in marriage sounds like a recipe for disaster.
But it’s also the perfect recipe for a quirky, endearing and deeply moving romance that will be sure to leave each reader feeling satisfied.
GINA WELBORN is an author, mother, wife, and currently has changed her Level 4 brown hair to Level 7 blonde. She's still debating if she likes it. For those of you who are far more interested in what Gina writes than in her hair-color dilemma (gray hair causes one to take drastic measures), her first novella "Sugarplum Hearts" released in February 2012 in HIGHLAND CROSSINGS. Her second novella "All Ye Faithful" in A CASCADES CHRISTMAS is available at Wal-Mart,Amazon, CBD, Barnes and Noble, Marvel, Parable, as well as other local Christian bookstores and online distributors. Gina resides in a wee little town outside a larger (but not large) town in Oklahoma. Thanks to her pastor-husband's ability to spray a fabulous chemical called Demon, her children don't get to enjoy raising hunter spiders, grasshoppers, and crickets. While they are (mostly) saddened, Gina is delighted.