"Yet, this type of charity was something more; it stemmed from somewhere deeper. This type of charity was veritably connected to his heart-to love."
'Tis the season to spread hope and kindness. These four anthologies focus on the magic of healing that occurs within ourselves as we serve others.
thoughts & feelings
Do small books make anyone else nervous? I'm always a little weary that small, or short, books won't be as good and that key elements will be minimized or left out. Compared to the other anthologies on my shelf Christmas Grace is quite small. However, I had hope because I have previously read and enjoyed books by both Jennifer Moore and Anita Stansfield.
Unfortunately, I was correct in my hesitations. My main "beef" with each of these stories was length. Before you get your haunches up let me explain. Each of the stories in this anthology range from about thirty-five to fifty pages. For me, the thirty page mark is when I start to really catch my stride with a story. At that point I have a feel for the writing style, the setting, and the characters. It was disappointing to read to that point of investment and intrigue only to have the story end shortly after. I know that not everyone feels this way and I have kept my ratings based on the sole enjoyment of the story line.
Now, let's break it on down.
The first story featured in this anthology is Let Nothing You Dismay by Jennifer Moore. This novella ties for first place for overall enjoyment. I loved the way that Jennifer Moore connected the past with the present. Each chapter begins with a glimpse into the past, slowly revealing the reasoning behind a past disappointment. I loved the anticipation of not knowing exactly what happened while watching the present timeline unfold.
Next up, Christmas at Canterwood by Krista Lynne Jensen. This was my first time reading a novel/novella by Krista Lynne Jensen. I enjoyed her book and felt that it was a nice "moment in time" story. I liked the simple way that Christmas is carried out in this story. In most Regency Era stories that I have read we see more of the adult side of the holiday celebrations. I enjoyed getting to see what the children do and the simple ways that they participate and help spread joy. I am excited to get to revisit this family in the anthology A Hopeful Christmas.
Winter Angel by Anita Stansfield was sadly my least favorite of the four novellas. I honestly think that if this story were longer I would absolutely LOVE it. I have read a few of Anita Stansfield's novels in the past and have revisited them many times. I like the idea for this story, especially the part where the heroine gets to do the rescuing, but really wish it were about twenty to thirty pages longer. Overall, the story felt rushed and I was disappointed that the relationship building moved so quickly.
The final novella was Christmas Grace by Chalon Linton. This is the other novella that ties for first place, in my book. I felt that this was another "moment in time" story. We catch just a glimpse of the story but know that much more has happened before and will happen after. I'm secretly hoping that one of my other novellas has a sequel. I know the likelihood is slim but hey a bookworm can dream right? I really enjoyed the unique situation that our characters Grace and Gordon find themselves in. A severe snowstorm is the driving force between the two characters meeting and the continuance of snowfall leads them to be "trapped" indoors together. I had a "finally!" moment as the characters had a natural relationship progression from strangers to friends to the butterfly love moments. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a love at first sight story but the natural, slow building relationships are my favorite.
Steam Level: clean, kissing
Book Tags: talk of death of an immediate family member
Title: Let Nothing You Dismay
Author: Jennifer Moore
Title: Christmas at Canterwood
Series: Expectations at Canterwood is available in the anthology A Hopeful Christmas
Author: Krista Lynne Jensen
Title: Winter Angel
Author: Anita Stansfield
Title: Christmas Grace
Author: Chalon Linton