A Warm Welcome
In From The Cold by Sarah Bennett is a most charming contemporary novel. It is the second book in the Juniper Meadows series but can be read as a stand-alone.
I thoroughly enjoyed my return visit and meeting up with familiar faces. The love and care shine through the novel.
We see that we are not destined to repeat the sins of the fathers. We can break free from their stronghold. It is never too late to have a fresh start.
It is important to follow our dreams and not live out the life that others thrust upon us.
Everyone has natural talents. We need to develop our talents and nurture our giftings.
The Salt Of The Earth
The Bad Penny by Lindsey Hutchinson is a marvellous historical novel that continues on from The Ragged Orphan. I can recommend reading that first for maximum enjoyment. Although this can be read as a stand-alone.
The year is 1894 as the reader returns to the rag and bone yard in Birmingham. We see that hard work does pay off when your boss is fair and kind. There is a camaraderie between the boys in the yard as they look out for each other.
Romance is in the air as new love matches meet up.
And there is tragedy too as death comes calling.
In contrast to the steadfastness of many of the characters, we meet the bad penny – a character who is happy to use people for personal gain, caring little for family and friends. It is a life of lies and greed, never being satisfied. When money motivates, you can be sure of a downward spiral.
Joining The Dots
One Christmas Eve by Shari Low is a delightful novel set over twenty four hours in three different time periods – 1968, 1993, 2023.
The years are linked by the female line in a family going down through the grandmother, mother and granddaughter. We follow them alternately in two hour blocks as we drop in on one Christmas Eve.
There is a beautiful bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter, partly created by the mother being a workaholic, even on Christmas Eve. “Her mum was making it clear that her other option was work, yet she was still choosing that instead of spending time with them.” We only have one life and we need to choose wisely. No-one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’ We need to get our priorities right.
We witness the love to last a lifetime. There may be other loves but that one big love will never die. Love has the ability to send us back to feeling like teenagers – no matter how old we are.
We see the special place in hearts for over fifty years. It is a place that one will return to again and again in order to relive a moment.
A Christmas Baby At Goodwill House by Fenella J Miller is a marvellous historical novel. It is the seventh book in the Goodwill House series but can be read as a stand-alone. I recommend reading the previous books first in order to see character progression and development.
The action is set during 1941 as we rejoin the residents of Goodwill House. It is the start of a new era. “I now make my decision on acquaintances based on who they are, not where they come from.” War is a great leveler. The old class system is crumbling. People earn their reputations and not by the circumstances of their birth.
All the residents of Goodwill House have kind hearts, helping where they can. As Christmas approaches, they are determined to ensure all the children of the village receive gifts. They truly do ‘make do and mend’ as they repurpose old toys found in the attic.
We also follow RAF pilots. We see the responsibility and the heartache. Also there are conflicting emotions when one is congratulated for shooting down the enemy. “He was uncomfortable celebrating the death of anyone, even an enemy.” Every pilot will have a mother somewhere.
We learn the value of family. Family is not always blood related but those who love and care for us.