Do you love Christmas but find the stress of the season overwhelming? I sure do. Christmas novella collections offer a sweet remedy - short, uplifting stories to refresh your love of the holiday but without demanding too much time.
A Quaker Christmas offers four such stories, each following a nineteenth-century Quaker woman.
In A Crossroad to Love by Lauralee Bliss, Mary Hall helps at her parents inn, but is disturbed by their newest guest, Silas Jones, who mocks the faith of the Friends. And yet he's so attractive. A lame horse and a family emergency prolong Silas's stay, and Mary learns the cause of Silas's animosity - but can she help him find healing?
In Simple Gifts by Ramona Cecil, young widow Lucinda Hughes is blessed by her former husband's best friend, Will Davis, who quietly watches over her. But Will's growing love for Lucinda is checked by her diminishing faith and the concerns of family. Can Lucinda see behind Will's quiet facade to see his worth, and can her faith be renewed?
Pirate of My Heart by Rachael Phillips was my favorite of the lot, mostly because of Phillips's trademark humor. Keturah Wilkes wears a red shawl. Good Quaker girls do not wear bright colors. Keturah chases her shawl into the river and is rescued by handsome boatman Henry Mangun. Just as Keturah bucks the traditions of her family, Henry bucks his family's traditions - the traditions of river pirates. Will Henry break free? Will Keturah be dazzled by Henry's dashing older brother? Or will she see Henry's worth?
Equally Yoked by Claire Sanders tells of Susanna Griffith, who is not a Quaker but has just married into the Friends faith. When her husband is away from the farm, Susanna finds herself involved with her in-laws' Underground Railroad activity. Susanna must decide whether to adopt her new family's ways and risk everything to help an escaped slave.
The four stories were each satisfying. A light thread linked the stories. My only gripe about the collection is that the stories were not arranged in chronological order - why? - so that the linking thread was more difficult to see. However, the collection was as delightful and refreshing as the gingerbread cookies the four women share.
Labels: A Quaker Christmas, book review, Christmas, Claire Sanders, Lauralee Bliss, Rachael Phillips, Ramona Cecil