The stack of books wasn’t that tall, and there weren’t many kids who would want them—not when there were Barbies and Legos in the offing, anyway. Still, as they got to know the kids and tried to find the perfect gift for the perfect child, the woman’s lips stretched thinner. Tighter. Her heart heavier.
She’d been wrong. Half the room, it seemed, loved to read. Choosing which one of the dozens of children would get one of about a dozen books—heartwrenching.
If a child wants a book, a child should get a book!
List of titles in hand, she traversed the room, crisscrossing back and forth among laughing children enjoying a Christmas party put on just for them—foster kids. Every last one of them, kids whose parents would spend Christmas “behind bars,” as they say.
A two-minute talk with one boy made the first choice easy. He’d like the book about knights. Another couple of minutes with a girl with twisty braids and she decided the one about the magical desert world would be a perfect fit. Spy book here… teen angst there. Her job description had morphed from being a gift organizer and wrapper to a matchmaker—book soul mates as it were.
In all of it, she answered one simple question.
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Who Will Love These Stories the Most?
That’s the point of any review, isn’t it? Who is this book a good fit for? Well, I think Love’s Christmas Blessings would be a good fit for three specific people.
First, Amish fiction skeptics.
Yeah, that seems kind of weird to write about an Amish book, but I don’t really think it is. One of the biggest complaints about the genre is how each book is too much like the next. And it’s a valid point.
Of course, it’s a valid point for any genre when authors don’t mix things up a bit. Every genre has its tropes. The question isn’t whether one is used but if it is used in a new and fresh way.
I think Laura Hinton’s Winter’s Treasure does just that. One common complaint in any book is how romantic conflict would often be solved if people would just talk. Here’s where Amish culture and the perception of Amish culture work in the genre’s favor. Because few people would expect an Amish young woman to just admit she’s had a crush on a guy for most of her life, when she doesn’t do that to explain her issues, it makes sense.
We don’t expect Amish young people to have nasty, petty jealousies, so what would be cliche in an urban setting looks new and interesting when set in an Amish district.
Foster care isn’t new for most people. It occurs in books all the time—but how many Amish books have you read where the Amish worked with the foster system to adopt?
So… I’d say one of the perfect readers for Love’s Christmas Blessings are the Amish fiction skeptics.
Second, I’d say Amish fiction lovers.
Conversely, one of the reasons people love Amish fiction is a tiny bit of predictability. They don’t want the same-old, same-old, no. But they do expect an emphasis on family and community, sweet, restrained but genuine romance, a glimpse into the reality of Amish life, and often either animals or children. In that respect, it’s very specific—much like a cozy mystery with its small town, off-screen death, and amateur sleuth (preferably one with cat, dog, or pink stuffed rabbit).
Rachel Good’s Mistletoe & Miracles fits this to a proverbial tee. However, rather than being that same story you’ve read over and over, this one took all those familiar elements, added a few locations and personality issues, shook them up, and drew a winning lottery interesting characters, situations, and events. (And there’s a raffle in the book, too. Just sayin’).
Yes, Amish fiction lovers will love this collection.
Finally, I’d say Christmas story lovers—for any time of year.
While both books take place at Christmas and have a strong Christmas element, neither felt like I needed a candy cane and hot cocoa to enjoy the story. I would enjoy them both in July as well.
Still, setting, detailed elements like the aforementioned mistletoe and also a Christmas tree farm keep things squarely in the Christmas camp for those who love a strong feel of the holidays in their holiday reeds. So whether you’re a “I only read Christmas stories in November & December” or you’re a “Christmas in July, YEAH!” person, I honestly think both camps will enjoy this book equally.
As one who rarely reads Amish fiction, I enjoyed this collection and Love’s Thankful Heart (for interviews with the authors, check out the link!). If Amish fiction isn’t something you’ve tried, this would be an excellent dip in the water, so to speak. If you’re a die-hard Amish fan, I suspect you’ll love these stories. Neither one felt rushed or draggy—just a perfect length for a quick read.