Who knew there was a small town in Florida called Christmas? I’ve learned all kinds of things since I began reading and reviewing the Romancing America titles from Barbour. Apparently the Post Office in Christmas sees a lot of activity coming up to December 25 as people come from miles around to have their seasonal mail postmarked “Christmas.” This practice is central to each novella in Postmark: Christmas.
Christmas, Florida, is also home to “Swampy,” the world’s largest gator, who is the feature attraction at Jungle Adventures Nature Animal Park. This park is also featured in the novellas.
For this Canadian girl, watching the lengths a small Florida town goes to to create a Christmas wonderland full of wintery charm was entertaining. The stories all overlapped in the same holiday year, with the same carnival atmosphere. Each story cameoed some of the other characters, too, which is always fun.
The first story is “Home for Christmas” by Paige Winship Dooly. Stella has been roaming the USA for years in an RV, planning all kinds of events and pulling them off before heading to the next gig. She’s been contracted to set up a winter carnival which will run between Thanksgiving and Christmas in Christmas, Florida, only this time, she doesn’t have a “next job” to go to. That doesn’t mean she should settle down here though, does it? She’s working with single dad Brick, and loving being part of his little boy’s life. Her RV is also parked at Brick’s mom’s rural property. This story sets the stage of the event that all of the other novella characters participate in as well.
Next we have “Merry Christmas, With Love” by Darlene Franklin. Randi is a war widow raising a teenage son in Christmas. For years she’s participated in a program to send cards to servicemen and women overseas, in some cases even carrying on a pen pal relationship. But when she discovers Major Troy Brennan has arrived in town to search out the mystery correspondent, she freezes. She can’t allow anyone into her life while she’s fighting to hold her husband’s memory and her son’s behavior in check. But Randi can’t quit her volunteer work at the Post Office–her mother is the postmistress after all–and Troy isn’t about to give up his search. Only problem is, he hasn’t found his mystery woman, and he’s falling in love with Randi.
Kathleen Kovach wrote the third novella, “A Blessed Angel Came.” Gabi works at Jungle Adventures Nature Animal Park. She’s rather shy and has had a crush on another worker for quite some time. When her boss assigns employees to wear full costumes to promote the park at the festival, Gabi finds that she’s free to become someone else and pursues her crush. But David Levine has been hired as a photographer for the event, and he seems to be everywhere she wants to go. David, for his part, has figured out Gabi’s identity and is gently wooing her to his side.
“You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch,” by Paula Moldenhauer, is the story of Christmas’s postmistress (and Randi’s mother), Edie Hathaway. For many years retired police officer Rick Stanton, who plays the Grinch for Christmas’s festivities, has been trying to get Edie’s attention. Everyone in town knows, it seems, to Edie’s everlasting embarrassment, and not only knows it, but seems to be on Rick’s side. When Rick takes charge when Edie’s vehicle breaks down, she begins to see the man behind the charming facade. But there are still plenty of issues between this couple. Maybe the Grinch will steal their joy, after all.
Starting on Monday, we’ll be featuring posts about and excerpts of these novellas, plus interviews with each author over at Romancing American. Each comment gets your name in the hat for a copy of this fun collection (USA only).
I received an e-version of this novel from NetGalley for the purposes of review. All opinions are mine alone.