Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Christmas Novellas: Christmas Roses and The Christmas Pony

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

Celia Anderson doesn’t need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn’t have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man---the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But, Christmas, after all is the time for miracles….

Readers, this is a sweet confection of a tale and it did something very difficult to do: it made me care about their characters and their development within the span of a novella.  Further, it is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving for those women, like me, who just love a sprinkling of romance. This is a quiet romance developed between two extremely likeable characters. Indeed, Mark the carpenter is one of the most dashing heroes I have encountered in Christian fiction of late.  He is a woman’s dream man.  He anticipates Celia’s needs before she even voices them. Moreover, he is incredibly gentle with her daughter from her previous marriage.

A wild Wyoming romance starring a widow and a travelling mystery-man is a tale as old as the hills; but this one was remarkably sweet despite its clichéd construct. I  was invested in the romance that I knew would come to pass and in the reconciliation between Mark and his long-absentee father was also welcome fare.    This is the type of story that Hallmark Channel should be all over.  I mean I’ve watched my share of bad Christmas tv movies this season and in seasons past ( please see my series on Bad Christmas TV Movies).

Cabot imparts a keen interest  in the period as well as an intelligent recollection of daily life on its frontier.   I really enjoyed this tale and think it is perfect for the quiet romance lover in your life.

The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson

Eight-year-old Lucy Turnbull knew better than to wish for a pony that Christmas in 1937. Her mother had assured her in no uncertain terms that asking for a pony  was the same as  asking for the moon. Besides, the only extra mouths they needed at their boarding house were the paying kind. But when an interesting pair of strangers come to town, Lucy starts to believe her Christmas wishes might just come true after all.

I have a warning for you readers when you approach Carlson, the described “Queen of the Christmas novella” , she will lure you with a warm and telling story and insightful characters only to drop you off when she realizes she has a dozen other deadlines to reach.  For previous example, I was really enjoying “Christmas at Harringtons” until the moment when she had to rapidly-quick wrap it up and tie it with a bow so she could move on to whatever other series the author of 200+ books was currently under contract for.    I also found that the Christmas Pony was just loose ends waiting to happen, It’s a sweet premise and delightful construct: depression-era farm girl wants a pony. I am behind this! But, Carlson needs a better editor. Carlson needs to invest in the story she is currently working on.  Carlson needs to care enough to keep the same precision and pace that gallops through the first half of the novel in the latter. 

I received both books from Graf-Martin Communications on behalf of Revell Publishing 

1 comment:

Kailana said...

I always plan Christmas reading, but then it never seems to happen...