Four historic antebellum mansions in Natchez, Mississippi make beautiful settings for these four novels. For a book written by four different authors, the cohesion of the novels was impressive. The stories took place in the same town: the characters frequented some of the same places and watched the same Christmas activities. By the last story, several of the place names were familiar, reminding the reader of the stories that came before and providing continuity.
Even though the locations were intertwined, the stories were less so; providing variety and allowing readers to see more events, places, and people than if everyone had been in the same family, or close friends. I appreciated this most of all.
Sylvia Barnes wrote “Christmas at Dunleith”, where a middle-aged widow must battle her prejudices concerning the father of her daughter’s groom. Himself a widower, he must find healing for the pain his wife’s death has caused him. The romance itself was very quick considering the circumstances, but the messages on healing, prejudice, and returning to God were encouraging and moving.
Lorraine Beatty wrote “Christmas at Monmouth”. A wedding planner must put aside her feelings when a young bride decides to have the wedding she would have had years ago, if the groom had bothered to show up. Through this wise bride and an old friend, she is encouraged to change her ideals when it comes to love and look for something that will last longer than the wedding day.
Cynthia Leavelle wrote “Christmas at Longwood”. This couple liked each other in high school, but due to a misunderstanding, both got emotionally hurt. Now, she is a newly famous writer, and God tells her to go back to face her past. As she comes to understand things about herself, readers also learn to see themselves and others through God’s eyes.
Virginia Vaughan wrote “Christmas at Brandon Hall”. So many books are about people finding love and marrying. But what happens after the wedding? This was a moving story about a couple on the brink of divorce. How God, through their family, tried to bring them together again. But the decision belongs to the couple. Will they fight for their marriage or give up, once and for all?
NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com) and Barbour Publishing Inc. provided me with an advance copy of this book to read and review. I have given my honest opinion on it, as they requested. It comes out on the September 1, 2013.