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South side of Indiana
Age: Over 65
5 Stars Out Of 5
A Cedar Creek Vacation
March 24, 2013
South side of Indiana
Age: Over 65
CEDAR CREEK SEASONS
by Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips & Cynthia Ruchti
Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.
I needed a vacation. As God would have it, I met Rachael Phillips at a writers' luncheon. We were saying our farewells when Rachael offered me an all-expense paid getaway trip to Cedarburg, Wisconsin!
All right. I must tell the truth and shame the devil. What she actually said was, "Would you read and review this book?" I'm selective about the books I choose to review. If I cannot write a positive review, I abstain from commenting at all.
We've all heard, "You can't judge a book by its cover." Generally I disagree. The cover of Cedar Creek Seasons has several things going for it. It's appealing. It features an autumn scene; fall is one of my four favorite seasons. (Yeah, I know. That doesn't make sense. What can I say? I love Indiana where each season struts its own beauty.) It has a covered bridge. (Who doesn't love covered bridges?) Then there are the writers: Eileen, Becky, Indiana's own Rachael, and Cynthia--all solid scribes with whom I am familiar, having read Eileen's DOG GONE and the ladies' previous novella collection, A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS. With all that going for the book, I eagerly accepted her invitation and soon was on my way to Cedarburg.
CEDAR CREEK SEASONS' title has a double meaning, since the novellas feature protagonists in four life seasons, and each story gives the reader opportunity to enjoy Cedarburg in a different calendar season.
A Contest of Wills by Becky Melby
It's winter when Cedarburg holds a contest. The entrant who garners the most votes from shoppers will win space in the town's historic district rent free for a year. Forty-something Willow Miles finds herself in fierce competition with artist Wilson Woodworth. Willow builds unique children's furniture and has outgrown her present area. A spot in the historic district would give her the room she needs and place her wares on the path of Cedarburg's many tourists. Wilson wants the space as a gallery for his paintings. The contest goes from friendly to fierce as the day draws near for the winner to be announced.
It's not personal. It's business. Recently retired Claire Parsons returns to Cedarburg with daughter Melissa simply as a vendor, to sell her pottery during the Strawberry Festival. She has no intentions of rekindling the embers of a long-dead romance with Eli Mueller. He broke her heart once. She wouldn't let it happen again. Besides, who knew if he was even still around? He is. Banners and flyers proclaiming his role in sponsoring the festival abound. His face is everywhere she looks--older than the face that haunts her memories, but just as handsome. Once he realizes she is in town, he tries to woo her again. But can cold embers be revived?
Eileen proved in Dog Gone! (The Feather Duster Mystery Series #1) (Heartsong Presents Mysteries #24) that she has a way with writing romance that features mature characters, so I knew I would thoroughly enjoy her contribution. Silvery Summer lives up to my expectations.
Maybe Us by Cynthia Ruchti
(I love word plays, and the title of this novella is that, since the main character knits and sells moebius scarves. Moebius, if slightly mispronounced, sounds like maybe us.)
Beth Schurmer, just five years out of college, can't be bothered with love. It has gotten in the way too many times in the past, and she won't let herself get sidetracked again. Her plate is full, thank you, what with caring for her beloved Oompa and managing his Yarn Shop (which, by the way, is another play on words, since her grandfather revels in telling stories to all who will listen--and many come in to do just that). When chocolatier Derrick Hofferman, who is nearly seven feet tall, sets up shop just two doors down, he enlists Beth as his official brownie sampler. She loves chocolate, so that works out well. Derrick and Oompa hit it off immediately. Derrick often leaves his own business unattended to listen to Oompa's tales. As autumn progresses, Beth, Oompa, and Derrick form a strong yarn of three strands. How far will the metaphor extend? Will the yarn be knitted into an unending moebius?
I thoroughly enjoyed my getaway to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, which is near Milwaukee. I checked out the town online and vicariously walked the historic district and the path to the rustic covered bridge pictured on the cover, the only one still standing in Wisconsin.
I love these books published by Barbour! The four stories in this book take place in Wisconsin. Each story can be enjoyed alone but because the take place in the same town there is some cross over information. I enjoyed each story but liked the last story the best. In that story a woman comes back to town to help her Grandfather with his store and a man comes back and opens a shop a few doors down. How they interact is written very well and their relationship is believable. The authors' descriptions are so well done. I can't wait to read more by her books and more by the other authors as well!
I gave this book 5/5 stars. There is nothing negative to say about any of these stories. The characters are all likable. The story lines are interesting and kept me reading. The setting was great and will make you want to get in your car and go find this friendly town.
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
I thoroughly enjoy romances that celebrate real-life people in all their glorious, humorous imperfections, and Cedar Creek Seasons is such a book. All four novellas overflow with humor and quirkiness. The characters ring trueâ€”as rumpled and odd and wonderful as your friendsâ€”and the writing is fresh and fun and truthful.
Ever notice how some teams of authors mesh really well together, not only in personality but in writing voice? This discovery was an increasing delight to me as I read through each of the four novellas in Cedar Creek Seasons.
This collection is set in contemporary Cedarburg, Wisconsin, an artsy community north of Milwaukee sporting the only remaining covered bridge in the state. Each author made full use of the flamboyant flavor of the town (which sounds like one of my favorite towns, Sandpoint, Idaho) and the historical, peaceful retreat provided by the bridge is a place of escape, thought, prayer, and. . .possibly kissing.
This team has written another Wisconsin collection together called Door County Christmas which released two years ago from Barbour. Two of the authors live in the state, while the other two have visited for team research. This extra attention to detail is obvious throughout the stories, even to a reader who's never visited this town.
Not only did each author use a different season of the year as a backdrop for her story, but each also chose a different season of life. Thus the heroines in each tale range from 20-something to 60-something, which added to the allure of the collection as a whole.
The first story is called "A Contest of Wills" and was written by Becky Melby. We meet free-spirited Willow Miles as she participates in the annual Polar Bear Dip. . .and loves it. When the door to her old van lands in the snow, she grabs the nearest guy and begs for a ride home for herself and her kids. Then she invites her rescuer, Wilson Woodworth, in for Strawberry Chili. Wilson is a meticulous artist who's living his life by a plan. He's fascinated by the way Willow rolls with the punches provided by raising kids she didn't give birth to and low funds. Her business building and painting children's furniture is limited by her tiny basement, yet nothing seems to faze her. Nothing, that is, until they find themselves competing for the chance to win retail space in the coveted historic area of Cedarburg, which brings out the competitive nature in them both. Do opposites attact. . .or just keep butting heads?
Second in the line-up is "In Tune with You" by Rachael Phillips. This story features Chesca Appel, who's a part time choirmaster for a Cedarburg church. She's planning the most awesome cantata ever for Easter until her pastor calls her in to suggest a live drama accompaniment, run by tone-deaf football coach, Seth Amundsen. Too bad it isn't a suggestion she can turn down. Chesca finds her orderly rehearsals filled with rambunctious children, unbelieving football players representing Jesus and the disciples, and a donkey. Just when she thinks she's maxed out, the lambs appear. She can't figure out why she's attracted to Seth at all, yet has to deal with Seth's biggest crush, a 9-year-old in the play, as well as his former (jealous) girlfriend. And the guy's cheerful singing voice grates on her very last nerve.
In "Silvery Summer" by Eileen Key, newly retired Claire Parsons returns to Cedarburg to help her niece hawk her pottery at the annual Strawberry Festival and street fair. When the prong on her old promise ring snags things, Claire feels confident to enter the jewelry shop and ask for a repair job. After all, what are the odds Eli Mueller, the man who made the ring for her in high school, will still work there?
When a familiar ring lands in his hands once again, Eli must determine whether to take a chance on rejection from his one-time love all over again. Raised by pacifist parents, she'd never answered a single one of his letters from VietNam. Is it too late to find out why?
The final tale, "Maybe Us," was written by Cynthia Ruchti. Beth Schurmer is well settled in Cedarburg caring for her beloved great-grandfather and their Yarn Shop. Seven-foot tall Derrick Hofferman has opened a chocolate shop but seems to spend much of his time sitting with Oompha by the stove in the back of the shop, listening to yarns of the old days and the old man's yearning for heaven. Beth can't bear to accept that time is coming. She doesn't want anything to change-ever-even if it means pushing away Derrick and the growing attraction between them. As autumn heads toward Christmas, Beth considers the moebius she's currently knitting-a scarf created in a loop with no discernible beginning and end. Is eternity something like that? And how about Derrick's love for her?
Cedar Creek Seasons is easily one of my favorite Romancing America titles thus far. Each author infused her story with humor and hope. I also loved the little hints of the other novellas' characters popping in here and there. This is a masterful collection you won't want to miss.