by Melody Carlson
Release Date: Sep 15, 2013
Source: sent by publisher
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish. Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.My Review:
Combining an Amish family saga with the anticipation of Christmas cheer and the promise of a budding romance, this newest Christmas story from beloved author Melody Carlson is sure to please.
I really enjoyed the Christmas story, even though I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started to read it! I didn't know that the book would start with a tragedy, or I might have steered clear. Rachel's brother and sister and law were killed in a plane crash, leaving Rachel's niece Holly as her only family. It was a little strange to me, because it didn't seem like Rachel was really that sad about the plane crash. But I suppose she was just staying strong for Holly. But soon, Rachel learns that she must send Holly away to live with another aunt who is Amish. How will she stay strong when she is losing all she has left of her family? And what is right for Holly?
This story is an interesting twist on the Amish tale we are used to reading, since we see things from the oustsiders' points of view. Holly's other aunt, really wasn't very nice to Rachel at all, and Holly was supposed to instantly be used to this completely different way of life. I honestly felt scolded right along with Rachel when Holly's Amish grandmother told her how selfish Rachel was being for wanting to keep custody of Holly. I had been pulling for Rachel to retain custody for the whole book, was I selfish, too? You'll have to read the book to see what happens, but after that, I sure didn't know what to expect or where it was going.
The romance between Rachel and Holly's uncle, who had his own views about the Amish even though he was born in the community, was quite cute. He was very likable right from the start, and even though the romance certainly took a backseat to the family drama, it was a lot of fun to see the little sparks fly between the couple.
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Bottom Line: This is a nice, short holiday story, that mixes some heavy subjects with uplifiting Christmas cheer.
“Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.