Imagine a bed-and-breakfast set in a castle in Vermont. In the first novella, Love Comes to the Castle, by Susan Page Davis, Jayne visits her parents, the owners of Barncastle Inn. Her dream is to allow well-heeled guests to choose what era they’d like to have Christmas in, and transform the inn into that scenario. Their first guests include the Dillard family, who are trying to reconnect with their widowed son-in-law, Luke, and their grandson. A medieval Christmas, complete with dragons and sword fights, is what young Andy wants most. He also wouldn’t be against Jayne for a mama. Kathy Harris posted a great interview with Susan a couple of weeks ago.
The second novella, Christmas Duets, is by Lynette Sowell. Two sisters rent the inn and invite their whole family as a way to get their estranged grandparents back together. Marcella did not expect her grandfather’s roommate to accompany him–or that Sean would be so young and attractive. A World War II Christmas is in the wings, and Sean is the only one who can sing Bing Crosby’s part in White Christmas for the musicale Marcella and her sister have planned. Not only that, but he’s worked his way into Marcella’s heart after all.
What’s a theme inn if you can’t do pirates? In the third novella, Where Your Heart Is by Janelle Mowery, Stephanie Minter is accompanying the family she nannies for to Barncastle. Years before she’d walked out on an engagement to Jayne’s cousin Matthew when the glitz of a big city job blinded her to love. She’s shocked to find him working for Jayne and Luke, and it’s awkward dealing with him in her plans to make a pirate Christmas come true for the children. Can they rebuild the trust they once had?
In the final story, First Christmas by Darlene Franklin, young single mom Waverly Coe is working for veterinarian Alec Ross. Part of the job entails helping nearby Barncastle Inn recreate the first Christmas with live animal scenes. Waverly struggles as she empathizes with Mary, who was also an unwed mother, and seeks God’s forgiveness. Alec is waiting in the wings to provide love and stability for both Waverly and her little baby girl.
I loved not only the concept of this anthology with the ‘time-traveling’ inn, but the individual novellas were all delightful as well. I’d be hard put to choose a favorite. Each was ‘the best’ while I was reading it. If you’re looking for some fun themed novellas, each including young characters as well as the main romantic thread, you’re sure to enjoy this anthology.
Thanks to the authors for providing me with a review copy. In no way did this require me to post a positive review.