You can read part 1 of my Christmas book review posts for 2014 here.
When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman
Katherine Zook and her four children are facing their first Christmas without a loved one, and the future seems dim. But when a mysterious "Englisch" man begins to show up in the most unlikely of places, Katherine can't help but be suspicious . . . and a bit curious.
Her Christmas Pen Pal by Ruth Reid
When Joy Stolzfus's boyfriend tells her he wants to court other women, she's shocked. She pours her heart out in a letter, but it mistakenly reaches Noah Esh. The two begin writing letters back and forth, but a misunderstanding threatens to topple the relationship they re building.
A Gift for Anne Marie by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie Smucker's life is pretty perfect. Until she discovers her widowed mother is getting married and they're all moving. On top of that, Anne Marie's relationship with her friend Nathaniel has changed, and she's more confused than ever about her feelings for him.
The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer
Esther Glick bakes a Christmas pie for a fundraiser, and she soon finds herself sitting across from bachelor Ammon Schwartz. Esther receives many orders for pies, but when she breaks her wrist, she discovers what community and love are all about.
My thoughts: I love these Amish novella collections! Not only do I get the chance to enjoy authors I already know I love (like Beth Wiseman), but I often discover new authors I hadn't read before (like Ruth Reid). The authors tend to change for the collections, though Beth is usually always included. If you like Amish fiction, you'll definitely want to read this book during the Christmas season.
Alexis Fletcher hasn't had a merry Christmas in five years-not since her mother passed away. Every December she remembers the joy her mother brought to everyone during the holiday season and feels the pain of her absence, even more so now that she and her sister are barely speaking. More than anything, Alexis wishes her family could be whole again. However, with her wedding fast approaching, Alexis might just be ready to make some holiday memories with a new family of her own. Alexis's fiancé, Chase Dupont, is everything she ever dreamed of. He's kind, handsome, fully supportive of Alexis's career, and the CEO of a large company. But outside forces threaten to derail this happy couple from ever reaching the altar. As tensions rise, a dramatic event causes Alexis to question everything. Will fate give her what she needs to finally embrace the season that has brought her so much pain? Will Alexis get her wish for a happy holiday? Or will her Christmas prayer go unanswered?
My thoughts: It's hard to say how much I liked this book. The plot and characters thoroughly entertained me and the book was a quick read. I certainly wanted to find out what happened with the story, but this book did not necessarily put me in the Christmas spirit. I did not find the characters very relatable. If you're looking for a Christmas book, I would skip this one. If you're looking for an entertaining piece of fiction, this is right up your alley.
After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who the gifts were from, they began to thaw out from their grief and come together again as a family. This true story about the power of random acts of kindness will warm the heart, a beautiful reminder of the miracles of Christmas and the gift of family during the holiday season.
My thoughts: This book definitely tugged at my heartstrings. I can't imagine my life without Jason in it, and this is even more true now that we have children together. My Bug absolutely adores her papa, and the idea of her in this world without him just... it's heartbreaking. The author's writing style is a bit stilted and cold, but I did enjoy reading the story. Overall, I would recommend reading this book.