Friday, 7 January 2011

A Prairie Christmas Collection - Various

Apologies for the lack of posting, but I have a good excuse - I got engaged on New Year's Eve, and had to tell everyone in my family! My boyfriend (well, now fiancee) and I had already planned a trip to visit my grandparents and my aunt this week but a lot of our time was taken up making preliminary wedding plans, so I didn't get the chance to read this review. This one is particularly appropriate as it's definitely focused on love and romance...

Experience Christmas on the historical American Great Plains as retold by nine different multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney. Follow pioneers, immigrants, and orphans through their adventures, heartaches, challenges, victories, and romances. You are sure to find more than one favorite among the nine holiday romances in this unique collection to warm your heart and inspire your faith.

This is a wonderful collection of historical romances, the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who is a true romantic at heart or simply an admirer of the good old days of wagons and bonnets. From stories of love at first sight to newly married couples overcoming problems together to widowers and spinsters finding a love they never thought they'd experience, there is sure to be more than one story in here to delight an avid inspirational historical romance reader.

Having spent most of December reminiscing with the first season of Little House on the Prairie, I was excited when I remembered that I'd received a review copy of this book from Barbour. And I definitely wasn't disappointed with this collection! While I'm not normally a fan of short stories, each of these were at least 50 pages long and had room for plenty of character development, descriptions of the great plains of the prairie and even some sub-plots. My personal favourites were "The Christmas Necklace" by Maryn Langer, which involved a mystery surrounding a woman who falls from wealth and ends up working as a maid; and "Circle of Blessings" by Deborah Raney, in which a female college student falls for her tutor and has to prove to her father that he's worthy of her affection.

I appreciated the range of different stories in this collection, featuring everything from girls barely out of their teens to older women suffering from past heartbreaks. While one might expect repetition when the setting and time period of each story is limited, I'd like to assure potential readers that this is not the case. There was only one story that I felt was a bit too contrived and predictable, and bizarrely it was the first one, "Take Me Home" by Tracey Bateman! While it was cute, I felt it was veering towards being sickly sweet. This may just be a matter of personal taste, and I'm glad that I continued reading as I was introduced to some wonderful new authors. I was surprised to discover that the final story, "Cold As Ice" by Jill Stengl was linked to "Take Me Home", featuring some of the same characters. In a nice way, these two sandwich the rest of the stories together.

If you're a fan of historical romances or would just like to relax with some short stories during the cold nights before Christmas, I'd definitely recommend putting this book on your wishlist for next winter. 9/10

I have a more detailed review, including my thoughts and ratings of each individual story at GoodReads. Click here if you're interested.

Many thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

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