Take Me Home by Tracey Bateman (Coon's Hollow, Iowa, 1887)
This story was included in a book that I read a couple of years ago (Christmas on the Prairie), but I enjoyed reading it again. As a new teacher in a strange town, Kathleen struggles to fulfill the expectations of her mother.
One Wintry Night by Pamela Griffin (Leaning Tree, Nebraska, 1871)
Good story about a young woman coming to terms with the realities of life and learning about the things that are really important to a persons happiness. Excellent characters and storyline.
Image of Love by Jo Ann Grote (Peace, Minnesota, 1869)
I didnt read this one, as Id read it quite a few years ago in the collection, A Currier & Ives Christmas.
The Christmas Necklace by Maryn Langer (Chicago, Illinois, 1871)
The Christmas Necklace has a very unusual and mysterious storyline. It ends in a lovely allegory. I found it compelling.
A Christmas Gift of Love by Darlene Mindrup (Dakota Territory, 1869)
A Christmas Gift of Love is the touching story of love lost and love found. Very sweet romance of sacrificial love.
God Jul by Tracie Peterson (Lindsborg, Kansas, (1884)
God Jul, which is Swedish for Merry Christmas, includes several Swedish recipes. This story takes place during the time when the railroad was first coming through Kansas.
Circle of Blessings by Deborah Raney (Dakota Territory, 1871)
Circle of Blessing is a good Christmas story. The characters are appealing and the story is interesting.
Christmas Cake by Janet Spaeth (Nebraska)
Sweet story about giving Christmas gifts with very little resources, but much love.
Colder Than Ice by Jill Stengl (Coons Hollow, Iowa, 1885)
This last novella by Jill Stengl is my favorite. I had read it once before, but thoroughly enjoyed it again. It is wonderful to see two characters surprised by love.
I recommend this collection to those who enjoy Christmas novellas.
Although I had read most of the stories before, I enjoyed all of them. My only suggestion is to read the last story first because it takes place two years before the first story. Reading Colder Than Ice before Take Me Home make it easier to understand statements in Take Me Home. Great read!
I have only read about half of the stories, but I enjoyed the most recent one so much I just had to come leave a review. In some of them, I felt that subplots and other story lines somewhat overpowered the main plot, especially since they are shorter stories to begin with. However, the ones I have read so far were still very enjoyable.
Take me Home: This is a sweet story. The hero/heroine story was a great one, and there is a subplot romance that I enjoyed maybe even more than the main one. Beautifully written characters.
One Wintry Night: I enjoyed this story. It was more of a traditional romance with hero/heroine. The hero was a very good, respectable character, self-sacrificing and steady throughout. I came to love him, and it was nice to see the growth of the heroine through the story.
Image of Love: I was surprised by her circumstances of pining for her lost fiance for so many years, but aside from that fact it was a great story otherwise. Again, I really had a lot of respect for the hero, and I liked the sweet way that things came together.
The Christmas Necklace: This was a good story, but it was more about the history and other elements than it was about the romance, which was really a very small element of the plot. So, it would be good if that's what you were expecting, but I prefer the romance to be in the forefront. There were also a couple of story elements that I felt were left with loose ends. The ending was very sweet though.
A Christmas Gift of Love: This is the story that compelled me to write this review. So often it seems that novellas are probably, by design, going to leave the reader wanting to an extent, because of the short length. However, this one proves it doesn't have to be that way. I enjoyed everything about this story. The characters were both respectable and did things exactly as I wanted them to. The romance was sweet from the very beginning and it was a pleasure to watch these two characters fall in love. (This is the story that made me give a 5-star review, without this one, it would have been more like 4)
I bought it because is was only $1.99, expecting that most would be stories of beautiful young women meeting handsome young men who, in a matter of just a few weeks, would decide to marry and live happily ever after. And so they were, differing from secular novels in that the main characters generally attended church and prayed--well, except for one, in which the storyline was so shredded (the main character rode off in a blizzard with a man she had known for maybe 48 hours) that it was too preposterous to be at all plausible. But then I reached the last story in the collection: "Colder Than Ice" by Jill Stengl. This centered around an older, more ordinary-looking woman, and woven into the story was a presentation of the gospel. It was so good I read it twice. I had planned to donate this collection of stories to a thrift store, but instead will keep it based on Jill Stengl's engaging work.