|A Pioneer Christmas Collection|
by Various Authors
Barbour Publishing, Inc. (September 1, 2013)
Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
~5 STARS~ *****
In ‘A PIONEER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION’, nine exceptional and esteemed authors share their stories of brave pioneers who face daunting challenges and danger as they travel to, and occupy untamed lands. When Christmas arrives, the pioneers find shelter in unexpected and unconventional forms, and learn it is not the place but the heart, that’s needed to celebrate love.
This exciting collection of original novella’s are penned from these outstanding authors: Kathleen Fuller; Vicki McDonough; LauraineSnelling; Margaret Brownley; Marcia Gruver; Cynthia M. Hickey; Shannon McNear; Michelle Ule; and Anna Carrie Urquhart.
A BADLAND’S CHRISTMAS by MARCIA GRUVER
‘A Badland’s’ Christmas’ is an aesthetically delightful story that will submerge your senses in its charm and beauty with the captivating and enchanting storyline, coupled with the incomparable scenery of the Badland’s of Western Dakota Territory.
Desperate to help himself and his family heal after the loss of his wife, Jonathan Nancarrow brings his two daughters Noela and her younger sister Beatrice from Queensland, Australia to New York to live. However, when Jonathan gets to speak to an up and coming politician named Theodore Roosevelt at a function, he is inspired to pack up his family and undertake homesteading at Medora, which is in the heart of the wilderness. Along the way they meet young Hiram McGregor, who when hearing of the Nancarrow’s plans and prospective accommodation, is gravely worried for their well-being and survival in their dilapidated dwelling, from the chilling Dakota winter. How will this completely unprepared little Australian family ever survive in this harsh but beautiful land, and will Hiram be the answers to all their prayers, especially Noela’s? With both pleasant and frightful surprises around each corner, can Jonathan and his girls persist in their struggles to discover happiness, love, and peace, in time for Christmas?
Marcia Gruver writes with flair, delivering a touching and sweet to the soul romance, outstanding humour, and rich, vivid characters, in this wonderful historical romance. An immensely memorable and highly entertaining read! Thank you Marcia!!
A PONY EXPRESS CHRISTMAS by MARGARET BROWNLEY
In ‘A Pony Express’, author Margaret Brownley takes us on a fascinating journey across the wild and sometimes unforgiving land of Nebraska Territory, as Ellie-May Newman seeks her beloved missing brother Andrew - a Pony Express rider that never returned after the company had shut down.
The delightful but headstrong Ellie-May, strikes an amusing sight with her unusual bloomers and floppy straw-hat, and draws laughter and raised eyebrows from everyone she encounters, including Michael Corbett, a ruggedly-handsome man with intense cobalt eyes. This unlikely couple met in rather disconcerting circumstances and Michael was immensely appreciative she came along when she did! Helping Ellie-May in her search for her missing brother, Michael wasn’t prepared for all she would put him through. It didn’t hurt however that he began to find her quite appealing, even with her ridiculous bloomers, or that he felt surges of protectiveness toward this gal. He wasn’t quite prepared though to find that another in their small traveling party had their sights on him. This little love triangle provided some of the cutest and most hilarious scenes because the third party was none other than Josie, one of the mules! Take a step back in history as you traverse the trails in Nebraska of the Pony Express riders, and search for clues along with Ellie-May and Michael in their quest to find her brother.
Margaret Brownley is a brilliant storyteller, harmoniously incorporating historical facts and interesting geographical landmarks in a novella that’s replete with humour, adventure, and a delightful romance. An inspiring message of trusting God our rock crowns this captivating tale.
DEFENDING TRUTH by SHANNON McNEAR
In ‘Defending Truth’, author Shannon McNear takes us back to 1781, to a misty forest on a mountain of the western North Carolina frontier, and to the small Bledsoe farm just below the slope of the mountain. The story is set during the American Revolutionary War and after the legendary fierce but swift battle at King’s Mountain that had became the turning point in this conflict.
Truth Bledsoe’s father had left her alone to care for her younger siblings when he’d gone off to fight the British and militia loyal to the Crown. While on the lookout for game at her favourite hunting spot, Truth comes face to face with a bedraggled, hollow-cheeked young man in tattered blood-stained clothes. Realizing he was a Tory, the very enemy her father was off fighting and had warned her about, she kept her long rifle trained on him although compassion prompted her to feed this half-starved man.
Micah Elliot, an escaped loyalist prisoner, was bone-weary and soul-weary and uncertain where his allegiance lay anymore after seeing the horror that neighbours and brothers had inflicted upon each other. He wasn’t even sure where he could call home. Micah was ashamed of running away but although he had fled capture, he couldn’t escape the nightmares. Will Micah ever find a place to call home and something that is worth laying down his life for? Where might he find his future or will he forever be considered the enemy?
Shannon McNear has created a gem with her first novella that is exciting, thought-provoking, and historically fascinating. This story is an outstanding testament to her remarkable skill as a writer, compelling me to read anything else that Shannon might set her hand to!
*Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.*
GIVEAWAY: We have 2 copies of 'A Pioneer Christmas Collection' for giveaways! One from Marcia Gruver that be signed by all the authors and one from OWG!
QUESTION: What are some Christmas traditions unique to your family and/or your favorite Christmas food?