It’s the time of year to launch into a holiday themed TBR pile. Thus, when offered a chance for a Bethany House Christmas Novella Collection from four award-winning authors, you can guess my response!
“The Christmas Heirloom” presents to us a valuable amethyst brooch that has been passed down for generations from mother to daughter for almost 200 years. Each story gives us a glimpse into a different generation of the family’s history, and I enjoyed how in the last two novellas, while the characters are at times asking questions about the brooch’s story, the reader already knows the answer from having already “met” the previous owners. The following is a short summary of each novella in this collection:
“Legacy of Love” by Kristi Ann Hunter: This story introduces us to Sarah, the hired companion to a great lady of the British Aristocracy. This story had all the classic elements of Christmas – carols, snow, mistletoe, decorations. Still, compared to the incredible writing I have seen before from this author, it felt a little two-dimensional.
“Gift of the Heart” by Karen Witemeyer: Set in 1890, this novella is loosely based on the Biblical story of Ruth. I enjoyed the sweet, gentle, second-chance element of “Gift of the Heart” and also the addition of a young child playing a key role.
“A Shot at Love” by Sarah Loudin Thomas: I have never read anything by this author before, and I must say that uniqueness is a strength for this story. The back-woods setting made for a glimpse into an interesting way of life, however I did not appreciate the heroine’s apparent distaste and reluctancy toward her role as a female, and her immaturity in general. In addition, there were several occasions of inappropriate comments for Christian Fiction.
“Because of You” by Becky Wade: This was easily the most skillfully written novella of this collection. Even with the limited length of a novella, the author still managed to make the characters feel real, and the challenges lifelike, all while the happy, but slightly bittersweet ending added depth to the Christmas genre that can sometimes feel a little shallow – and in a novella no less! While parts of the character’s emotional rollercoaster did sometimes give me a bit of hesitance, I can say that in the end, everything turned out honourably and exactly as it should.
All in all, I have to admit, that I was a bit more enthusiastic about this book before I read it than after. It just does not quite measure up to the usual standards of Bethany House books, not only in the content, but also the editing. Still, I would recommend it, for the most part, to others as a decent choice of seasonal story.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”