When is the right time of year to start reading Christmas books? Well, I think it is just whenever you get your hands on one.
An Amish Christmas Star is a collection of three Amish novellas by three different authors that has just been released this month (September). So far I have only had the opportunity to read one of the novellas, but I plan to get to the other two very soon.
In Star of Wonder, Charlotte Hubbard takes us back to her fictional Amish community at Promise Lodge. If you have read any of the books in that series (and if you haven't, I would recommend them all, in order), you know that Promise Lodge is not your typical Amish settlement. People have come from several different districts, including some who are Mennonite, and from a wide range of backgrounds. And you just never know who or what will pop up next in this community populated in large part by some pretty strong female residents.
Neither Lizzie nor Raymond, the main characters in the story, have found exactly where they belong and what direction their lives should take. For different reasons, they both end up at Promise Lodge and are almost immediately attracted to each other. One things leads to another, one obstacle after another comes up, until . . . well, you will just have to read the story to see how everything comes together.
As always, I enjoyed Charlotte Hubbard's writing. It was fun to revisit this familiar location and see familiar "faces" play into the story. The characters are quite spirited, and the story moves at a very fast pace. Of course, that pace is pretty much necessary to move things along in the constraints of a short novella. I would recommend the story to anyone interested in a quick, light Amish story with the story of Christmas at its heart.
Thanks to Charlotte Hubbard for providing a copy of her book and to Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me to be a part of this book tour. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
About the Book:
The crisp fragrance of pine trees and the warm spice of fresh cookies aren’t the only blessings that Christmas brings, and no one knows more about happy homecomings than three couples who are celebrating the greatest gift of all . . .
STAR OF WONDER by Charlotte Hubbard
When Raymond Overholt comes to Promise Lodge, hoping to sell the barnboard signs he’s painted with stars and Christmas messages, spirited young Mennonite Lizzie Zehr is intrigued. But any courtship between them will face fierce opposition from the bishop of Raymond’s Old Order community—unless someone can convince him that at the heart of faith lies love . . .
Read an Excerpt:
With the girl’s laughter still dancing in his head, Raymond Overholt tried to refocus his thoughts. If he didn’t convince Mr. Kraybill to sell his handmade plaques, his past several weeks of work would be for nothing. He’d have to return home to Coldstream with his tail between his legs, and face a long, dreary lifetime of milking his dat’s cows. Running a dairy was honest, necessary work but Raymond didn’t enjoy spending his early mornings and late afternoons in a smelly barn disinfecting udders any more than the Holsteins liked having him around. Worse yet, if he overslept, his older brothers did the milking and left the hosing down and mucking out of the stalls for him.
“If your customers like these plaques, I can make more,” he assured the steely-haired storekeeper. “I—I really appreciate having the chance to sell them here in your new store. Our bulk market in Coldstream is dim and overcrowded with merchandise, and even if the owner there had display space, he wants nothing to do with artwork. It’s that Old Order thing.”
Mr. Kraybill smiled knowingly. “Jah, Amish stores don’t usually carry much that appears English even if they have a lot of customers come in from outside their community to shop,” he acknowledged. “But your plaques carry a solid Christmas message—‘Wise men still follow His star’ and the lyrics to ‘We Three Kings’ are meaningful reminders about following our Lord’s holy light. Thanksgiving always kicks off the Christmas buying season, so we’ll give it a shot, Raymond.”
He hoped his grateful grin didn’t appear too adolescent—or desperate. Raymond gazed around the store, where a gal in a pleated Amish kapp was stocking shelves in the rear. A few early shoppers were pushing carts into the grocery section. “If you need some extra hands when things get busy these next few weeks, I’d be happy to help, sir,” he offered. “I’ve not worked in a store, but I’m gut at tallying sums and I’m a quick learner.”
“I’ll keep it in mind,” Kraybill said with a nod.
Raymond heard probably not in the storekeeper’s words, but he’d dealt with people’s dismissals before. If he’d dressed in dark broadfall pants with a plain shirt and suspenders—and if he’d chosen glasses with conservative frames—Kraybill might’ve taken him more seriously. But until he had no other choice than to submit to Old Order ways and join the church, Raymond was determined to wear clothing he liked.
“I’ll be back in a few days to see how my signs are selling,” he said. “Denki for giving me a chance.”
About the Author:
In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.
Facebook -- www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1
Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the link below to enter the giveaway.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-amish-christmas-star-shelley-shepard-gray/1140825147
Kensington Publishing: https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/9781496734273/an-amish-christmas-star/
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/an-amish-christmas-star/id1602867197