Romancing History

Tag: historical fiction

Christmas Novella, A Match of Sorts and a Giveaway!

I’m so excited to welcome Lucette Nel to Romancing History for the first time. “Lucy,” as she is known to friends and family, is not only a fellow Christian historical romance author, she is a dear friend and a critique partner. Lucy’s newest release, A Match of Sorts, released earlier this month with Harbourlight Books, an imprint of Pelican Book Group.

And, with Christmas just around the corner, she came bearing gifts! Lucy is generously giving away an Ebook copy of each of her novellas!  To enter, leave a comment or ask Lucy a question by Friday, December 15. I’ll choose one random participant to receive a copy of A Match of Sorts and another to receive The Widow’s Captive. Want to increase your chances? Sign up to receive Romancing History in your inbox and I’ll enter your name twice! Unfortunately due to a snafu with my IT department (aka hubby), I lost many of my subscribers. So if you signed up in the past but haven’t been receiving Romancing History in you inbox, this is a great opportunity to sign up again.

Before we chat with Lucy and learn more about her and A Match of Sorts, here’s a blurb about her latest novella.

As Christmas approaches, widowed Reverend Caleb Brennan needs a wife, or his vengeful father-in-law will take his young daughters. When his mail-order bride jilts him, Caleb grows desperate. During a storm, he finds an unconscious boy outside his home with signs of foul play. Despite his previous misfortune, obligation compels Caleb to lug the stranger inside. But as he provides first aid, he discovers more than he expected. Bounty hunter Grace Blackwell refuses to owe a debt to any man, especially one as charming as Reverend Brennan. To repay him for saving her life, Grace agrees to pose as his mail-order bride. If their ploy is discovered, Caleb could lose his daughters. But in their pretense, the reverend and the bounty hunter might just both lose their hearts.

RH: Welcome Lucy! Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in? What are you working on now?

LN: Wow. I’ve been writing for 19 years this year, most of those years I refer to myself as a closet writer because I did it in secret. Only a selected few people knew I wrote.  In 2010 I started to actively study the craft. So far most of my works are or were historical romances set in pioneer America. Currently I’m published in novella length. My first novella, A Widow’s Captive, released in December 2016.

​I’m working on two full length novels​ ​at the moment and will be participating in February 2018’s #Faithpitch​ on twitter.

RH: What is your favorite historical romance novel? Author?

​LN: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers​

RH: That is an all-time favorite of mine. One of only a few novels I’ll take the time to re-read! What was the inspiration behind your recent novel, A Match of Sorts?

​I love marriage of convenience stories, and that was my inspiration for my recent release. And I wanted to match two very unlikely people.

RH: That is another thing we have in common. I am always fascinated by mail-order bride stories. When and where is A Match of Sorts set?

​Cedar Grove, Texas. It’s a fictional town. I sketched the town but let’s just say I should stick to writing and not sketching. LOL​!

RH: Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for this story?

LN: ​​I have a Pinterest board especially for A Match of Sorts where you can see all the images that helped inspire me! For Caleb Brennan I used Michiel Huisman from The Age of Adeline as inspiration! Beard and all! For Grace it was a little mix between Sharon Stone and Ingrid Bolso Berdal from Westworld.

RH: Were there any interesting historical facts you learned in your research you couldn’t work into your story?

LN: Not sure how it happened, but while I researched the treatment of wounds, I stumbled upon the history of the ice box. Let’s just say I love my refrigerator. Hee Hee!

RH: Anything else you’d like us to know about A Match of Sorts?

LN: On one side I wish I made it a novel and not a novella. I really enjoyed the characters.

Now that you’ve heard all about A Match of Sorts, Lucy’s provided a teaser. Here’s a snippet from Chapter One:

Cedar Grove, Texas

December, 1875

“She changed her mind.” Caleb Brennan dragged his fingers through his hair. His mail-order bride backed out of their agreement. After three months of corresponding with the young widow, she took one look at him and opted to marry a fellow passenger instead. Three months. Wasted! Numerous letters exchanged, arrangements made, money spent, and all to end with Mrs. Haddon heading to Austin in the very stagecoach that was meant to bring her to him.

“You can scowl at me all you want. It won’t change anything.” Trust his twin to state the harsh reality, without a touch of sugar.

“I’m still processing the sting, Luke.” Caleb scrubbed his face. His glower might intimidate Abby and Libby, his daughters, but it was useless on his brother.

“You should’ve told her sooner.” Luke collected the stack of wanted posters and thumped them thrice on his scarred desk to straighten the pages.

“I’m hardly a cripple.” Caleb rubbed his aching leg. The pain flared in concert with his frustration. He glanced at the far side of the room. Upright rusted bars like an iron fence separated the jail from Luke’s tiny office. The snores from the figure on one of the two bunks continued undisturbed.

Luke yanked a drawer open and shoved the papers in, and then rammed it. “She probably jumped to the wrong conclusion. Since you kept it a secret, she might wonder what other information you withheld from her.”

“Do you suggest I mention I’m a cripple in my next advertisement?”

“You’re planning to advertise again?” Luke frowned.

“I need a wife. What choice do I have?” And as far as he was concerned, whoever filled the position could have the face and personality of a fencepost, as long as her presence improved his chances of not losing his daughters to his embittered father-in-law.

“Miss Preston seems interested.” Luke studied the steam spiraling from the mug of coffee cradled between his hands.

“You’re loco. You know I can’t marry Miss Preston.” The seamstress might be the prettiest woman in town, but she was too young and too idealistic. His second marriage wouldn’t be one of love and companionship and his bride needed to understand and agree with the terms from the start. He’d experienced love once before. Almost from the moment he’d first laid eyes on Margaret, he’d loved her. And she’d returned his affections. Her death near destroyed him. Never again. His next union would be one of respect and remoteness. An alliance on paper suited him.

Luke drummed his fingers on his desk. “How about I ask Ellen to pose as your fiancée?”

“You want to ask your wife to pretend to be my fiancée?” Caleb blinked. The warmth in the sheriff’s office receded despite the old woodstove standing only feet away. “I can’t wait to hear what she’d think about this idea of yours.” He shook his head. He loved Ellen—as a sister—and she was exactly what Luke needed in his life. But she’d drive Caleb crazy with her endless chatter, even if it was only a fleeting charade. Her overtly bright personality would exhaust him.

“Don’t look at me like that. It’ll be a temporary solution. The girls love and know Ellen.” Luke shifted on the chair, scrubbing a hand along his jaw. “There will be certain rules, of course. Limitations. No kissing. No touching.”

“It was one thing swapping places as boys to play pranks on people. Having your wife pose as my fiancée is a different ball of wax.”

“She’d do it if it means you get to keep the girls.”

“She’s a saint. What did you do to deserve her?”

“Got the Lord Almighty to thank for that.” Luke grinned and dipped his head. “I’ll speak with her tonight. We don’t have much time—”

“Whoa. You expect the entire town to go along with it?” Caleb braced his elbows on the desk.

“We can try.”

“Will you throw those who refuse to play along in jail?” A rustle from the bunk drew Caleb’s gaze. The comatose drunk had rolled over, but audible snores still floated from the cell.

“Can you imagine the entire town in my cell? At least old Jeff would have company.”

“I’d rather not.” Caleb downed the last of his coffee. After putting so much effort into convincing his daughters how nice it would be to have Mrs. Haddon around, he now needed to tell them their plans had changed. He massaged his hip. The wound had healed, but the constant pain and distinct limp remained despite the doctor’s predictions that it would disappear.


Remember, to enter to win one of Lucy’s Novella’s leave a comment below!

Lucy’s debut novella, A Widow’s Captive is on sale for .99 cents! To Purchase any of Lucy’s books click please visit her Amazon author page or her publisher, Pelican Book Group.


Lucy Nel is a coffee addicted work-in-progress daughter of the Lord Almighty. She’s a mommy to a rambunctious toddler and wife to her best friend and real-life hero. Along with three spoiled Pugs, they make their home in Gauteng, the smallest of nine provinces in South Africa.

Lucy enjoys connecting with readers. To find out what Lucy’s up to, you can visit her at:

Quills and Inkblotts

Find me on Facebook

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Amazon

 

New Historical Fiction, Mattie’s Choice

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend and fellow historical fiction author, Gay Lewis. Gay’s newest release, Mattie’s Choice, released on September 15.

Before we chat with Gay, here’s a bit about Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

Welcome Gay! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.

I’m a pastor’s wife and a mom. Before my writing career, I was an interior designer. I’ve always been creative and loved working with colors and words. When I retired, the first thing I did was to begin a book. The book was called Choices. I’ve written and rewritten it many times. It’s now Mattie’s Choice. I didn’t realize Mattie’s Choice was Historical Women’s Fiction, and I tried marketing it in the wrong genres. In the meantime, a kooky angel came to mind and I started writing Romantic Fantasy. The Sarah Series has been very popular. I’m hoping readers won’t mind the switch to this new genre for Mattie’s Choice.

I have 14 books listed on Amazon and other online book sellers. They are available in eBook. Many are available in print and audio. They’re all Christian and faith inspired. All my Sarah books are squeaky clean. So is my latest, Mattie’s Choice. Rather than list them all with blurbs, let me invite you to my Amazon Author Page.

What was the inspiration behind your recent novel, Mattie’s Choice?

My husband’s mother and his aunt. They lived during the days when women had no rights, weren’t considered equal, and most thought them inferior. These two women were married to abusive, controlling men and each made a different choice regarding their relationship with their spouse.

Why did you choose to set the story during the dust bowl/Great Depression?

This is the time when my husband’s mother and his aunt actually lived. I heard them tell stories about their lives, and many of those stories found their way into my book. Those years were difficult ones for people.

How do your character’s cope with the food shortages and unemployment that typify that era?

My story is set in Oklahoma. Will Rogers was able to raise $30,000 for the Red Cross during the Great Depression. These monies supplied wheat and a few other commodities for starving families. Many of the families lived in tent cities because they’d lost homes and livestock. People shared what they had with others. They had little, but they gave what they could spare. The construction of Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, put men to work during that time, and they were grateful for it, but not every man was chosen for the work.

Were there any interesting historical facts you learned in your research you couldn’t work into your story?

Too many to count. I found it difficult to believe Will Rogers could raise that much money during those times. I learned that women brewed coffee grounds over and over and the first pot was the treasured one of the day. I discovered people called the tent cities for the homeless, “Hoovervilles.” So named after President Herbert Hoover.

Anything else you’d like us to know about Mattie’s Choice!

The premise for Mattie’s Choice concerns choices, the way we interpret Scripture, right or wrong, and the choices we make based on what we perceive the Bible to say.  The choices we make have a ripple effect on the lives of others. I wrote this book to help abused women realize they have choices. Mattie Colby didn’t have many in 1925, but more exist today. Mattie believed her husband’s behavior was her fault. Women today often feel the same way. I’ve heard more than one say, “If I could only be a better wife, he’d love me more and he’d be kind.”

My mother-in-law was married to a controlling man. He refused to allow her to see her family—even her twin brother, but even this day-in-time, controlling men exist. One of my daughters married a man who physically attacked her. Talk about a shocker. That one was. I have a niece who also married a nutcase. Weirdos are out there. What choices can women make to change an ungodly situation? I hope this book will help them realize God has better plans for them.  There weren’t many resources in 1925 to help abused women, but they exist today, and I hope women will search for them. I’m also hoping that all of us females will bond together to help each other.

Here’s an excerpt from Mattie’s Choice:

“There’s just not enough decent food these days. Bobby, Adam’s friend from up the street, came over to play yesterday but he could barely move. I heard his stomach growl and gave him a bowl of beans. He wolfed them down in short order. Poor thing admitted he hadn’t eaten since the day before, I’m guessing their cupboard is bare. His father takes odd jobs and provides as much as he’s able. I sent biscuits home with Bobby. Where does it stop?”

Mattie enjoyed talking to Ella about current events. Many of Ella’s views differed from Jesse’s, but she liked hearing a different opinion and forming new ones of her own. “I didn’t mean to sound so dismal. Our house in Fossil Creek is gone, but we still have a roof over our heads. I ache for those poor homeless farmers who lost their homesteads.” Mattie sneezed into her handkerchief. “And these lollapalooza dust storms that never end. If the farmer wasn’t run off because of a lack of money, he had to abandon his farm because of the powerful dust storms. That prairie wind keeps blowing dirt everywhere.” Mattie shook her head and gazed about her as if to find a giant pile of mud in a corner.

“That’s true. Newspaper reporters are calling the Great Plains the Dust Bowl.”

Mattie grimaced. “I think Dirt Bowl is more accurate. Every time one of those gales blow in, we can’t even breathe. It’s like eating a mud pie.”

Ella nodded. “And about the time we get all that dirt out of the house, another one comes along.”

“Who will ever forget that storm a few weeks ago?”

Ella shook her head. “Black Sunday. They called it an ebony blizzard across the country. None of us could see five feet in front of us.”

“Dirt covered everything in this house, and I’m still finding it in odd places.” Mattie stood. “Let me get the pot so we can have another cup.”

Ella followed Mattie to the kitchen. “Children, you sure are making a mess. You’re supposed to put the oatmeal in your mouth, not on the table, and stop feeding Old Red.”

James spoke up. “Old Red is hungry too.”

“I know he is, but that food is for you. He’ll eat something later.”

Mattie smiled as Ella tousled James’s hair. They returned to the couch.

Ella sipped her coffee. “It’s been one disaster after another for seven long years. The Lord must have something in mind for these hard times, but I can’t imagine what it is.”

“Me either. We both know families who had to relocate to survive. It about broke Jesse’s heart when his parents had to move back to Kentucky. Did I tell you we had a letter from them the other day?”

“No you didn’t. How are they?”

“They’re doing okay.”

“How about your family?”

Mattie set her cup aside. “Mrs. Shuster wrote. She didn’t know what Mr. Winchester is doing these days since he lost the bank, but she assured me my father and Maury are all right. Papa never placed money in the bank.” Mattie gave a small chuckle. “Papa always said he’d never trust a bank.”

Ella sighed. “That’s good news. I’m glad to hear they’re surviving. Others must move but have no place to go. People are trying to make it to California, but they don’t have the means to get there.”

“Jesse talks to men at the station. Many of them are traveling around trying to find work. He heard that Oklahoma City has its own Hooverville. Those unfortunate folks are living in tents, boxes and rusted motorcar bodies.”

“Yes, I’ve heard that too. The Hooverville in Oklahoma City is huge. Tulsa hasn’t experienced as much suffering as Oklahoma City, but we have hobo villages too.”

“Have you seen those places?”

Ella brushed a tear from her eye. “I hear about them. It’s so sad. With no roof over their heads, people had to pitch tents, but folk in Tulsa aren’t the only ones. Tent cities have popped up all over the country. I’m a Republican who supported President Hoover, but he didn’t do enough to help the country’s economy. It seems fitting these drifter communities are named after him.” Ella glanced away and her lips trembled.

Mattie guessed Ella was envisioning the impoverishment she saw each day in the hospital.

Ella shook her head. “Families steal for food and clothes. We treat many cases of starvation at the hospital. Others, the elderly and babies, suffer from asthma due to the dust. If it weren’t for the Tulsa Chapter of the Red Cross, I don’t know what these families would do. The chapter helps with medical bills for destitute people.”

Mattie nodded. “Thank God for Will Rogers. He was a big help too.”

“Yes, and I do thank God for Will Rogers. That $30,000 he raised for the Red Cross with a benefit performance here in Tulsa a few years ago helped us immensely.” Ella sighed and water filled her eyes as if she had a bad cold. “The amount of human suffering overwhelms me.”

Mattie reached over and patted Ella’s hand. “You’re a first-rate nurse and patients benefit from your care and concern.”

Ella took a deep breath. “I just wish there was more I could do for them.” She finished her coffee and handed the cup to Mattie. “I’m off.” She walked to the kitchen, kissed her boys, and hugged the others. “OK, you big brood, be nice to Mattie today.”

The children beamed at her. When she wasn’t working, she brought fun and laughter to their midst.


 

A native Texan, Gay’s written and produced videos, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field. As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles. Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

Gay’s books are available in print, eBook, and audio. For more information, click here.

You can see Gay video trailers of her books and connect with Gay on her blog

on her Amazon Author Page, Facebook or Twitter.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. To follow Sarah, click  here.

Historical Fiction to Turn Your Heart Toward Christmas

joyful-christmas

As the song goes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Goshorn household. Holly, lights, and the scent of pine and cinnamon signal that Christmas is near. The lighted manger scene adorns my yard, snowmen and angels abound in my family room, our tree is up with lights and red bead garland, and Christmas music fills the background whether at home or in the car. We have our Christmas movies out and have already viewed a few of our favorites. What’s missing besides the ornaments we still need to hang on the branches of our tree?

Snuggling up with a good book and a cup of Earl Grey tea (my personal favorite) in front of a crackling fire.

Here’s a list of excellent historical fiction, by classic and contemporary authors, to give you that warm and cozy Christmas-is-around-the-corner feeling. Not sure how you’ll squeeze in a book right now? No worries. There is a nice selection of short stories and novellas as well as novels for you to choose from.

I’ve made it easy for you to purchase the book for yourself or as a gift. Just click on the cover to go to amazon. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with any of these Christmas selections.

Classics

The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry— This classic short story of sacrificial giving is a Christmas must read as Henry’s characters, Della and Jim, sell their most treasured possessions to give a gift they know the other will love.

The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale, Philip Van Doren Stern— I have not read this story yet. In fact, I only discovered it doing research for this blog post, but I’ve already purchased it on my Kindle! This heart-warming short story, which came to Stern in a dream, became the basis for the classic Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life. Unable at first to find a publisher for his evocative tale about a man named George Pratt who ponders suicide until he receives an opportunity to see what the world would be like without him, Stern ultimately published the story in a small pamphlet and sent it out as his 1943 Christmas card. One of those 200 cards found its way into the hands of Frank Capra, who shared it with Jimmy Stewart, and the film that resulted became the holiday tradition we cherish today.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens–Before you roll your eyes because you’ve seen the movie every year, pause and consider reading this classic first published in October 1843. While I love a good film, there is nothing like reading a classic. Charles Dickens, heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher, began work on a book to help supplement his family’s meager income. That volume, A Christmas Carol is the imaginative and entertaining tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warmhearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England’s greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.

A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote–First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote’s rural Alabama boyhood in the 1930’s has become a modern-day classic. Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: “It’s fruitcake weather!” Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship between two innocent souls–one young and one old–and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals.

The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Andersen— First published in 1845, this classic story tells the tale of a poor child who tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and is barefoot having lost her shoes. The girl lights the matches to warm herself. Seeing a shooting star, she remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. After running out of matches the child dies, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead in the nook, frozen with a smile on her face, and guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her. They feel pity for her, although they had not shown kindness to her before her death. They have no way of knowing about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how gloriously she and her grandmother are now celebrating the New Year in Heaven.

Contemporary Historical Fiction

A Light in the Window, Julie Lessman— This novel should come with a warning! Danger, you will get sucked into the entire O’Connor Family Saga! This beautifully told story follows Marceline Murphy in 1890s Boston. While overseeing the Christmas play fundraiser for the St. Mary’s parish soup kitchen, A Light in the Window, Marcy not only wrestles with her attraction to the two men who are pursuing her, but with her concern for their spiritual welfare. The play is based on the Irish custom of placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family, and for Marcy, its message becomes deeply personal. Her grandmother Mima cautions her to guard her heart for the type of man who will respond to the “light in the window,” meaning the message of Christ in his heart.

The Fruitcake Challenge, Carrie Fancett Pagels— This fun sweet romance novella is the first installment of Carrie’s Christy Family Lumberjack Series and was a Selah awarad finalist. The title grabbed me right away and Carrie’s storytelling won’t disappoint. When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on!

I Heard the Bells, Angela K. Couch— This heart warming short story was inspired by the Christmas carol of the same name and was the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Virginia chapter’s Short Story Contest winner. Angela is beautiful storyteller. Don’t miss this one! Three years ago, Gabriel Morgan left his home in Virginia to fight for the Union Army, despite his family and fiancee’s loyalties to the South. Now, with battle fresh in his mind, and the Civil War still raging, he chances a quick trip home with one prayer… to make peace this Christmas.

Although I haven’t read them yet, these books sound so good I had to include them because they are on my TBR pile!

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming, Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Hearne, Julie Lessman, & Anna Schmidt–Four historical romances featuring cowboys, small towns and the wide open range. These authors ALWAYS leave you wanting more!

The Widow’s Captive, Lucette Nel–You won’t want to miss this author’s debut novella. On the run with two small children and a third due within weeks, Adeline Spencer fears the approaching blizzard will seal their fate. An abandoned cabin is an answer to her prayers. She hopes it will shield them from both the storm and the enraged brother-in-law hot on her tail. But when a stranger knocks at the door, she is convinced they have been found by one of Ward’s lackeys.Blamed for the death of his friend, Sheriff Jonah Hale is determined to prove himself worthy of his badge, even if it means riding into a blizzard to check on a crazy miner. When Jonah reaches the cabin, he’s caught off guard by a pretty and very pregnant young woman wielding a skillet. Bound to a chair while the storm rages, and as Christmas settles in around them, he must find a way to earn Adeline’s trust…and perhaps her heart.

Hang Your Heart on Christmas, Heather Blanton–I’ve enjoyed all of Heather’s other novels and look forward to hours of entertainment form this book as well. As punishment for a botched arrest, U.S. Marshal “Dent” Hernandez is temporarily remanded to the quiet little town of Evergreen, Wyoming. Not only does his hometown hold some bad memories, but he is champing at the bit to go after vicious killers, not waste his time scolding candy thieves. And he most certainly should not be escorting the very pretty, but jittery, schoolteacher around. What is she so afraid of? Turns out, a lot of folks are keeping secrets in Evergreen. When the bank is robbed and Dent has to do what he does best, choices will be made, lies will be exposed, and hearts will break. Can Christmas bring love and healing to Evergreen? To Dent?

Where Treetops Glisten–Three Stores of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II, Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam and Sarah Sundin–Although I haven’t read this novella collection, these authors don’t disappoint! I’m looking forward to this World War II era collection of stories. Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

The Substitute Bride, Carrie Fancett Pagels–Carrie’s books always make my TBR pile and this Christmas novella sounds enchanting. The Substitute Bride is part of the O’ Little Town of Christmas novella collection and won Carrie a much coveted spot as a Maggie award finalist. A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life A letter for Sonja’s deceased friend arrives at the post office in Michigan, and with it a proposal. With her father threatening to kick her out of his home, Sonja impulsively responds, offering to travel west to be a substitute bride. At the same time, Louis’s railroad promotion sends him back to Michigan, the one place on earth he’d hoped to never return—where Christmas past was full of pain. A mysterious stranger leaves him marked copies of “A Christmas Carol” as he considers romancing Sonja in Christmas present. Will Louis discern the best choices for Christmas future? Does it include the Poor House, again? Even so—will God bring healing and love to him this year?

Tidings of Peace, Tracie PetersonBestselling author Tracie Peterson presents four Christmas love stories from World War II. Moving from the homefront, to the front line, to the South Pacific, each story in Tidings of Peace features brave men and women trying to find meaning–and love–during the uncertainties of war. All the danger, difficulties, sadness, and hope experienced on both sides of the ocean is captured in these timeless novellas. the unique Christmas settings will put you in the spirit of the season, showing the miracles and mercy so often found during this time of celebrating Jesus’ birth.

Just in case I haven’t given you enough choices, here are some wonderful historical romance Christmas novella collections. Although I haven’t read these either yet, they come highly recommended and I plan to read as many as possible!

What is your favorite book that turns your heart toward Christmas?

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