I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. It's difficult enough for a single author to keep all of the details straight when writing a book, but to have four different authors working together, all of them writing a story from a different time period, is pretty incredible. And these ladies...Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and MaryLu Tyndall...pulled it off beautifully. Not only that, but instead of writing their stories in chronological order, they take the reader on a journey back in time, with a few little breaks in between. They are stories of real heroes, sacrifice, romance, and God's love. I give this book 5-stars.
I have never read a Four-in-One Collection by four different authors, where each story ties in with one another. I have noticed with all the Romancing America series each book contains four different stories, one after another. Only did I notice with "Central Park Rendezvous" the first story is split four different parts with the other three stories going back in history in relating to a letter from the first story. I like more of a historical novel and seeing how with all of them tying together from present day to 1865, I have truly enjoyed this novel. Each story takes in dealing around certain wartimes like the Afghanistan War of this present time (by Ronie Kendig), Vietnam War of 1973 (by Dineen Miller), World War II of 1941 (by Kim Vogel Sawyer), and Civil War of 1865 (by MaryLu Tyndall). Read this four-in-one collection novel to see how a family heirloom gold coin with a description on is passed through the generations of a many years working through each of the different couples based around Central Park in New York!
Central Park Rendezvous is skillfully crafted by four different women into one beautiful romance. I was really excited because it was written by some of my favorite authors, but I did doubt a little when I saw the cover. I judge a book by the cover and the cover didn't reflect the story very well in my opinion. So, enough about the cover... The book starts with the story of Jamie Russo and Sean Wolfe. This portion of the book is modern day and is actually split into four different portions in between the other stories. I thought it was odd at first but it was actually really skilled how I wanted to skip the other stories and just see what happened to Sean and Jamie. Kendig did a really good job of bringing the characters to life and advancing the plot in such a short amount of pages. Then we go to the story of Gail Gibson and Alan James, which brings us from the Vietnam War to present day. I really liked this portion of the book (by Dineen Miller). If I didn't already know a portion of the story, I never would have expected the ending. I actually shed a few tears. The reader is then brought back to the world of Jamie Russo and Sean Wolfe. Then suddenly the reader is taken to World War II America where families are struggling and men are fighting overseas. This was the most homey portion of the book, the only thing that could have made reading Sawyer's portion more homey was if I could cuddle up with a blanket by a warm fire. Helen Wolfe is struggling to support her siblings and Bernie is God's instruments to meet her needs. I did cry at during this portion a little, too. After heading back to current day again, suddenly the reader is thrust into the Civil War. The last portion of the book, MaryLu Tyndall's, is a hit for all those who love history (like me). Sisters Annie and Permelia could not be more opposite; one sister is kind and godly, the other has a bad attitude with a heavy dose of self-centeredness to top it off. William Wolfe comes back scarred after the war to claim Annie as his bride, but she is repulsed by him. Will he marry Annie or fall in love with Permelia? Tyndall's portion of the book had a Sense and Sensibility feel to it. Although, Marianne came to her senses whereas Annie really never learned from what God placed before her. I really liked Permelia and caught myself praying that God would send me a friend like her. The Romancing America books I've read are always kind of cheap and lame, but not Central Park Rendezvous. Five/five stars no question. A must read!
In this novella we are introduced to various members of the Wolfe family through four generations, each family tied together by three common threads, one of war, one of a coin passed down from the Civil War Era., and a romantic bridge in Central Park.
Dream a Little Dream
By Ronie Kendig
Afghanistan War, Present Day
Jamie Russo was raised by her uncle, Alan James, since a young girl when her parents were killed. Alan never married and when Jamie tries to talk to him about the reason why, Alan doesn't want to talk about. Now that he has gotten older he has come to the conclusion that part of his life is better left alone and forgotten. So he packs up some boxes of old letters from his past and is going to throw them away. Without his knowing Jamie retrieves them and sets out to find out the mystery behind her uncle's sorrow.
The more Jamie reads, the more she decides she must find this Sean Wolfe that is mentioned in the letters. When Jamie finally gets in touch with him and sets a date to met, they are both surprised by the other one. Jamie surprised that she is so drawn to this handsome man, physically scarred by an IED explosion in Afghanistan and mentally scarred by things in his past he endured from an abusive mother. And Sean is surprised because he was expecting a guy and not a beautiful sweet spirited girl that seems to see beyond his flaws to the person he wants to become. As they begin to read the letters and unravel the mystery of Sean's family will they find out more about the long lost love Jamie's uncle has been mourning all these years and will they find that same type of love for themselves?
A Love Meant to Be
By Dineen Miller
Vietnam War 1973
Alan James was going to a party at the Wolfe home to visit one more time with his best friend, Patrick Wolfe before Patrick has to go back to Vietnam. Patrick's father, Henry Wolfe, has been like a second father to Alan through the years. While at the party he meets Patrick's sister-in-law, Gail Gibson who is in town for the summer. He offers to show Gail around New York, even though he knows she is engaged. But the more time they spend together, the more Alan is convinced they belong together.
Helen Wolfe's mother and father were killed in a trolley accident and she was left to care for her 3 much younger siblings. Because of this new responsibility she had to sacrifice her dream to be a singer. With no money left, in desperation Helen asks her brother Henry if she can have the gold coin he was given by their father. Helen takes it to the local pawnshop to see how much she can get for it, there she meets Bernie O'Day. Even though Bernie knows the coin is worthless he hears God tell him to give Helen money anyway, so he gives her forty dollars for something he will never be able to sell. After a series of events, including Henry showing up by chance to his door looking for a job, Bernie and the Wolfe family draw close. Bernie gives the coin back to Helen but when he has to leave to join the war, they give the coin back to Bernie with the promise they all will be waiting for him at Bow Bridge when he returns.
Beauty From Ashes
By MaryLu Tyndall
The Civil War 1865
Permelia and Annie Shaw are sisters that have endured much sorrow because of the war, they have lost both parents and now their brother is presumed dead. Before the war Annie was engaged to William Wolfe, a colonel in the Union Army, and to show his love before he leaves he gives her a twenty dollar gold piece with the words "Love Never Fails W. W.", which Annie throws out her window in anger because William has been gone too long. Thankfully Permelia sees it and keeps it safe, and that's not the only thing Permelia has done. When Annie refused to write William anymore letters, Permelia kept sending letters to him signing Annie's name. Those letters were filled with the love Permelia has for William, but he doesn't know they are written by Permelia. William is in love with the Annie that wrote him the beautiful letters.
What will happen when William returns? Will Annie still have the same love for William or will she be so appalled by his disfigured face that she will refuse his proposal and stay with the man she met while William was away fighting? Who will be the one to meet him at Bow Bridge?
This was a great story written by marvelous writers, although it was a bit unconventional in the way the first story was divided up between the other three stories. I was thrown off at first when Sean and Jamie's story stopped abruptly and A Love Meant to Be picked up.
By the time I got to the end of A Love Meant to Be, and Sean and JamieÃ¢â¬Ës story once again picked up, I had it figured out_ there's a pattern here! J Well done ladies for giving me something that warmed my heart and challenged my mind!
I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.