I love novella story collections, and Witemeyer is one of many favorite authors. To have three stories in one book by her is like getting an early Christmas present! You'll also find some bonus material which includes a couple of her favorite recipes, fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations and a hope-filled Christmas devotion. So without further ado, here's my review on each novella:
A Texas Christmas Carol
I loved this fun take on one of my favorite Christmas movies “A Christmas Carol”! Instead of Ebenezer, our hero is a Scrooge-like bachelor named Evan Beazer, and our heroine is Felicity Wiggins. She decides to take on the mission of enlisting Evan's monetary and physical help to distribute Christmas baskets and bring him Christmas cheer (in spite of his grumpiness). It's fun to watch her break down the walls he's built, and touch his hidden tender heart! Witemeyer references the biblical story of the persistent widow when it comes to the tenacity Felicity shows. It also has a deeper meaning to the story that I think readers will enjoy, the real reason behind Christmas. The epilogue was my favorite, and very heartwarming. I found this to be a tender love story and a fun take on a favorite Christmas tale.
An Archer Family Christmas
I've read every one of the Archer brother stories, so to see them all come together for a Christmas celebration was purely delightful! Watching the children's excitement along with the adults definitely got me in an early Christmas mood. There's a bit of danger to add a little spice to this story, but I love how Jim Archer plays the hero to save his wife. The ending was sweet and brought some tears to my eyes. If you've read the Archer Brothers stories, (if not, you should!), you'll love this extra addition!
Gift of the Heart
Since my favorite Biblical story is Ruth and Naomi, this held a special place in my heart. I really enjoyed the nod to scripture. Widow Ruth Fulbright and her daughter Naomi relocate to Hope Springs, Texas two years after her husband’s death. Taking the job as a cook at the Homespun Cafe, she hopes to start a better life for her and her daughter. In the meantime, she meets her landlord, Beauregard Azlin—or Bo for short. Thus begins their happily-ever-after story, and while this may sound too perfect, it has a few rocky places they both must navigate. Ruth is good for Bo in boosting his self-confidence and in return, Bo is good for Ruth in resurrecting feelings she thought buried with her husband. Naomi is the glue that binds them together! I love her spunky spirit, her childlike view of the world and her compassion for one stray cat lovingly nicknamed Teddy. Talking about the tabby, he contributes his own quirkiness and personality to the mix. A mish-mash family whose love story is hard earned and has a satisfying end. Witemeyer inserts her trademark humor that had me laughing out loud in quite a few spots and her characters are ones I would have enjoyed meeting. Too bad it's not real because I could make a life in Hope Springs myself! A delightful story with a Biblical twist.
* I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the author and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *
Delightful trio of stories with great bonuses: a Baby Jesus devotional, a nice summary of traditions and two sweet recipes.
A Texas Christmas Carol:
Clever Texas Twist on an old favorite. Great play on names. Evan has a heart that has turned hard and cynical but Felicity is determined to thaw it. Watch as a beautiful transformation takes place, and for the true meaning of Christmas to shine through.
An Archer Family Christmas:
A family Christmas gathering turns into a fight for the life of a newborn and hope for Cass and Jim Archer. The author once again brings faith and family together and shows the Archer clan can pose a formidable united front.
Gift of the Heart:
Reminiscent of the story of Ruth and Boaz. Widow Ruth with her small daughter, Naomi, starts a new life in a resort town as a cook. The only thing of value she has is an heirloom brooch that she uses for collateral. Resort owner Bo keeps it for her in exchange for rent on a cottage. Ms. Witemeyer spins a beautiful Christmas time story of new beginnings with wit and romance.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* 5 stars and a solid faith thread.
Under the Texas Mistletoe is a collection of novellas guaranteed to get you in the Christmas mood and delight your heart. Karen Witemeyer’s historical romance stories are always well-written and populated with colorful, endearing characters that the reader can relate to and grow to love. All three of the stories in this book are charming. While my favorite is Gift of the Heart, I also enjoyed the other two, A Texas Christmas Carol and An Archer Family Christmas. Sprinkled through the book are additional Christmas goodies—recipes, a devotion, and some fun Christmas facts.
I recommend this book to readers who enjoy clean, wholesome, uplifting historical romances.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author and Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.
Three Charming and Festive Holiday Novellas Spiced with Humor, Frontier Action, and Sweet Romance
In this 3-in-1 novella collection, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer presents the new story "A Texas Christmas Carol," in which a town's wealthy, Scrooge-like bachelor finds his world invaded by a woman set on earning his donation for helping the local poor, and by the penetrating questions of three mysterious visitors.
It also includes, for the first time in print, "An Archer Family Christmas." When the Archer clan gathers for the Christmas holiday, an unexpected request for help leaves Cassandra Archer directly in the path of a dangerous outlaw. Desperate to protect the woman he loves, Jim Archer races to the rescue, only to find that Cassie's life is not the only one in peril. It will take a Christmas miracle--and the entire Archer clan--to keep a second Archer Christmas from ending in disaster.
In previously published "Gift of the Heart," a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start. But with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?
Sprinkled throughout the collection, you'll find a hope-filled Christmas devotion, Witemeyer holiday recipes, and fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations!