Linda Goodnight contributed Yuletide Homecoming, which is Rafe Westfield and Amy Caldwell's reunion story. He broke her heart five years ago when he left her at the altar to enlist in the Marines. A year ago, and suffering from PTSD, he returned to Snowglobe to run a business with his brother. Now Amy has also returned, to take over her mother's Christmas Village-type store.
This novella is lushly descriptive of the best of Christmastime.
As to the romance, it takes some doing, but Rafe finally melts Amy's heart. And who wouldn't love a man like Rafe, and eventually forgive him for what he did? He's a do-gooder, volunteering at his church and for other organizations in need, including foster children. Plus, he's about to build a new house in a beautiful valley, and he needs Amy's help in planning the layout. These are only a couple of the many ways this handsome man wins back the love of his life.
If you need your spirits lifted, do yourself a favor: download the book to your favorite e-reader, make a cup of steaming hot chocolate, put your feet up, and prepare to feel loved, pampered and protected. We women need stories like these at Christmastime, when we're running a mile a minute, trying to get everything done and meet everyone's needs but our own.
I will never, ever forget the joy I felt one year at Christmastime, when I was feeling this way, besides being basically snowbound with three small children. A package was delivered to my door in a plain, brown cardboard box. But it held such treasures: Christmas stories from Harlequin!
Now for A Family's Christmas Wish by Lissa Manley: I was sure when I started reading this novella that I couldn't possibly like it as much, or more, than Linda Goodnight's pitch-perfect, spot-on story. Was I ever surprised when I found myself so touched, moved and inspired by it that I cried throughout the last quarter.
Was this story truly a tearjerker, or did it simply find and pluck deep chords within me? Maybe it was the Snowglobe that played The Impossible Dream, my all-time favorite song, and Owen's Christmas gift to Sara.
Maybe it was Ms. Manley's expert choice of scenic material in the final quarter, situations which enabled these stubborn characters to trust God's plan for them and, eventually, their love for each other. I don't know what it was, but it moved me powerfully.
Summary: Sara Kincaid's father left her when she was a child, and then was later abandoned by her husband during her eighth month of pregnancy. As you might guess, she doesn't trust men. When she hires builder Owen Larsen to do some carpentry work on her Bed-and-Breakfast, she's pretty sure her heart is safe. After all, Owen's moving away in a week. Besides that, Owen himself is afraid to love again, after his beloved wife's death a year ago. Their small children help bring them together, and as the week rolls on, Owen and Sara fall in love. But it takes some doing on God's part to finally pull them back into each other's arms forever.
Review source: NetGalley.