Charming and Beautifully Illustrated
The Thirteen Days of Christmas by Jenny Overton is a charming little story, beautifully illustrated by Shirley Hughes.
Annaple tries hard to look after her father, two brothers and sister following the death of their mother. They see her as a terrible nag who cannot cook. Her brothers decide that she really needs to get married. Francis Vere wants to marry her but Annaple thinks he is dull and unimaginative. Francis decides he has twelve days of Christmas to come up with some unusual gifts. What will he choose? Will Annaple decide that he is a desirable suitor?
A charming little story that can easily be read in an evening. Just perfect for the run up to Christmas.
After 2 by Joy Ohagwu is a novel about transformation, both spiritual and physical. It is the second in the series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Joy Ohagwu shows that no matter what we go through in life, God is always alongside us. We “can either see your situation through eyes of faith or through a heart of desperation.” Blossom is a Christian but takes her eyes off God after receiving some upsetting news. The consequences could have been disastrous but God never takes His eyes off Blossom. God can use all situations for good and for growth.
In Blossom’s potentially devastating moment she prays but she also bargains with God. The reader feels empathy for Blossom, as I am sure many of us have done the same. As a Christian we need to realise that we do not need to bargain with God as He always wants the best for us.
Delightful and Heartwarming
The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels is a delightful novella and the first in the Christy Lumber Camp series. It is set in 1890. As soon as I began reading, I could tell that this was going to be one of those stories that I am going to have to read every Christmas. Warmth and love just oozes throughout the novel.
The moment new lumberjack Tom sees Jo Christy, he knows that she is the woman for him. He will however have to get past her two burly and protective brothers to stand any chance of earning a place in Jo’s heart.
The theme of family runs throughout the novel. There are different types of family… actual blood families, the lumber camp family unit and God’s family. Mr Christy heads up two of those families. He is a wonderful father figure as he tries to protect and love all those who fall under his care.
Life vs Guilt
Prohibited Passion by Romy Sommer is a historical romance set in 1922. Jenny, a young English widow journeys to America to live with her late husband’s family. On board ship, she gets stuck in a lift with speak easy owner and newly married Tom. A bond is formed, and an unlikely friendship begins.
The theme of hurt and hiding runs throughout the novel. Jenny is hurting from losing the love of her life. She is determined to protect her heart behind her mourning garb. She is hiding from life, with no wish to ever re-marry and risk being hurt again. Then life begins to intrude on her. Is she brave enough to live and love again?
Linked in with the hurt, is the feeling of guilt. Jenny feels guilty to be alive. She feels guilty that she wants to live again. I think it is an emotion that resonates with many, as when our loved ones have died, we do feel guilty when we begin to smile again.