When Englishers Michael and Miri Mulligan died, their will stated that Holly, their 6 year old daughter, was to live with Miri's Amish relatives in Ohio. This came as a surprise to Rachel, Michael's sister, who didn't even know about these relatives. She was even more taken aback because she thought she would be Holly's guardian. This part was unbelievable to me. Michael was a lawyer. I think that he of all people would have his will up to date.
The Mulligan's will read that Lydia Schrock, Miri's estranged sister, was to have custody of Holly. Lydia really struggled with Holly and her English ways invading her house. If I were Rachel it would have been hard for me to hold my tongue with Lydia. She expected Holly to instantly become Amish.
Rachel struggled with leaving Holly in Ohio without her and Holly not getting the Christmas she was used to having. Rachel did find an ally in Benjamin, Miri and Lydia's brother. She was also surprised to be attracted to him since he was Amish. In the end, Lydia and Rachel both realized they needed to demonstrate unselfish love to ensure that Holly got the happy life her parents would have wanted for her.
I always enjoy Amish Christmas stories. I did like this novella but I think it would have been better as a full length novel. Everything just happened too easily, which is because of it being a novella. For example, Rachel and Holly got through the grieving process too quickly to be realistic. But situations can't be drawn out, there aren't enough pages in a novella. Rachel didn't really fight enough to keep Holly when she had to leave her with the new found relatives. Overall, I did enjoy it and would recommend it as a good story to read around the Christmas holiday.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Rachel's brother, Michael and his wife, Miri are in the Caribbean, so Rachel is babysitting her six-year-old niece, Holly. It is almost Christmas, and Holly wants to get a tree and decorate it before her parents return home. Also, Holly will turn seven on Christmas Eve, so she is very excited about both events.
After Holly is in bed for the night, Rachel receives a phone call with the news that her brother and sister-in-law have died in a plane crash.
With no other relatives, Rachel assumes she will be Holly's guardian. It is quite a surprise when the attorney advises her that a sister of Miri has been named guardian. Rachel and Holly travel from Chicago to Ohio to meet Lydia. They discover Lydia is Amish. They also discover Miri's siblings and mother live in the Amish community.
Lydia is ready to raise Holly and send Rachel on her way. Holly fits in well with Lydia's family, but has some difficulty with all the rules, the plain clothing, and lack of electricity. Also, she expects Rachel to live there as well.
Rachel realizes Lydia wants her to leave, but she can't bring herself to walk away from the only family she has left. She loves Holly and is disappointed she won't be the one to raise her.
We learn that Lydia's harsh attitude toward Rachel is a result of her own poor choices. As much as Lydia wants her raise her sister's child, is that the best choice for Holly? This is a very sweet story, which I enjoyed reading.
Due to an unforeseen event, Aunt Rachel Milligan and her niece, Holly, are about to spend their birthdays and Christmas in a very unexpected manner. Finding themselves in an Amish Ohio homestead, Rachel must deal with her own selfishness as well as the stirrings of her own heart. Through family secrets, regret, heart-break and jealousy, Rachel and Holly learn the true meaning of Christmas.
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Another short Christmas story from Melody Carlson_true to the style and deeper meanings I have come to anticipate at Christmas time from her. Short and sweet yet moving at the same time, it has become almost a tradition for me to read a Christmas story from this author. I enjoyed the Amish customs, a family's forgiveness and even a brief romance all in one read. I am already looking forward to next year's new Christmas novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Even though it was short, it had a lot of suspense in it, and I wanted it to turn out a certain way. It had a wonderful ending to it. I know the readers will enjoy reading it even when it is out of season.
Melody Carlson's Novella's never disappoint! Give me a wonderful, warm Christmas story, and I'm a happy girl; also include an Amish aspect, a child, and a budding romance? You'll probably be able to hear me sigh! This story will pull on your heartstrings, making you cry on one page and smile on the next.
I am always amazed when an author can convey such a depth of emotion in such a limited amount of pages, but my heart broke for Holly and for Rachel a couple of times over the course of this read. That being said, this story was written so beautifully that I couldn't bear to put it down and leave these characters for a second, I had to know how it turned out.
It was very easy for me to identify with Rachel, and not see the situation from Lydia's point of view, but Miss Carlson even remedied that with a conversation between Rachel and Lydia's mother asking Rachel (and readers), to think about what is truly best for the child. The romance aspect of this book is incredibly subtle so as not to take away from the central storyline of the "fight" for Holly, but entirely refreshing, sweet and sincere.
Please pick up a copy of this book, it will make you feel real emotions for characters that you will quickly love, and leave you feeling satisfied and happy.