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To prepare you for this book, I want to share a brief portion of the description of a luckenbooth. While it is not necessary for understanding the novellas, this additional insight is interesting to me and so I thought it might pique your interest as well.
The enduring appeal of traditional jewellery is captured in our Luckenbooth designs. The Luckenbooth is one of the most romantic Scottish symbols of love, from the 17th century and often given as a token of betrothal, affection and friendship. It is usually in the shape of a heart or two entwined hearts, symbolizing love, with a crown, symbolizing loyalty, topping the heart(s). In addition, a couple may pin a Luckenbooth to their firstborn’s blanket as a good luck charm.
The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations
by Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date October 2, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England, Texas, West Virginia, Washington Regency Era – UK – 1795 – 1837, Gilded Age – US – 1875 – 1900, Cold War Era - US - 1947 - 1991, Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
In Kristi Ann Hunter's "Legacy of Love," Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman's grandson, a man far above her station.
In Karen Witemeyer's "Gift of the Heart," widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.
In Sarah Loudin Thomas's "A Shot at Love," Fleeta Brady's rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family's brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.
In Becky Wade's "Because of You," Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers, Netgalley for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
When I saw that two authors I know and love were a part of this collection, I knew I had to read it. All the stories are tied together by a beautiful luckenbooth that has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries.
Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter
England – 1827
When a lonely orphan becomes Companion to a Dowager Countess, she is snubbed by most of the family. I was enthralled by the way the author conveyed the distance the family placed between them and her using the giraffe piano that she was expected to play through their meals. And I cracked up at the way that Sarah was playing so distractedly, peeking around to see where in the meal she was and to make sure she didn’t miss the cake.
The rest was every bit as endearing. The contrast between Sarah’s thoughts and her meek demeanor when she was with the family made for amusing reading. But the way that she pulled out of her quiet ways to defend the dowager showed some of the fire that she had kept hidden. What a lovely person she was!
Randall was delightfully confused at his grandmother’s Companion. When he saw the spark of life in the mousy girl. Well! He was the third son, and therefore unimportant. He didn’t really care because he loved living on the family farm working the land and making it prosper. Despite his lofty upbringing, he was humble and kind.
Gift of the Heart by Karen Witemeyer
Texas – 1890
When the lovely widow, Ruth, comes into Hope Springs, her hopes are no higher than having a chance to provide for her daughter. She is surprised by the warm welcome and deep friendship her new employer offers her.
Bo has been mostly a recluse due to an injury to his arm when he was just a boy that left it practically useless. In an attempt to not call attention to himself and his disability, he spends most of his time at home and his resort and sneaks through back alleys when he needs to travel between the two. He doesn’t have much trust in women – the only ones who had paid him any attention were only after his money.
The author uses Proverbs 31 references throughout to describe Ruth and it is very fitting. She had a deep faith in the Lord and worked hard to provide for her daughter. She was full of kindness and didn’t give Bo’s injury any thought other than with compassion, not pity.
I loved the way Ruth slowly wormed her way into Bo’s heart by simply being friendly and seeing him. And then when Bo discovered Maddie, Ruth’s daughter, in danger. Wow!
Gift of the Heart was warm and fuzzy (there was a cat in it after all!) and filled with the humor I have come to expect from the author.
A Shot at Love by Sarah Louden Thomas
West Virginia – 1958
Fleeta was as unusual as her name. Orphaned as a young girl, she now lived with her aunt and uncle and their passel of children. Having heard how her mother died of heartsickness and loneliness once her husband had died, Fleeta determined to never fall in love. She was more comfortable in pants than a dress and with a gun in her arms than with a kitchen pan. She was such a great shot, the men of the West Virginia town she lived in never hoped to win a contest shooting against her.
Hank was also a gun enthusiast. He was only in town a short time for work but while he was there, he saw in Fleeta something none of the local men had seen – that in addition to her tomboy ways, she was a beauty and was worth pursuing.
Though I am not anything like Fleeta, I could relate to the insecurities she experienced and really enjoyed reading her story. It was such fun to have a blue jay play an unexpected role. The writing pulled me into the Appalachian village and had me falling in love with the people.
Because of You by Becky Wade
Washington – Contemporary
I was hooked from the first sentence. I can’t even imagine how awkward it would be to have a crush on your best friend’s boyfriend, especially when the friend ends up marrying him. Ouch!
Maddie was a godly woman who had a heart of gold. I admired her sense of how to take charge of serving the single mother in need at Christmas. For her, it was much more than just a cause to write a check for. She poured her heart and soul into raising money and then shopping for the family to make sure they knew they were loved.
I’m hesitant to say much. I don’t want to give any spoilers here. I will say that Maddie had burdened herself with requirements that were not from the Lord, and she almost missed out on a huge blessing. However, her concerns about doing everything right and staying close to the Lord were so admirable.
My heart was deeply involved in this story.
Quotes from Legacy of Love
Quotes from Gift of the Heart
Quotes from A Shot at Love
Quotes from Because of You