The Kissing Tree
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date October 13, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Texas Reconstruction Era – US – 1863 – 1877, Gilded Age – US – 1875 – 1900, World War II Era - 1939 - 1946, Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak's bark.
Regina Jennings - "Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts"
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?
Karen Witemeyer - "Inn for a Surprise"
Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise.
Amanda Dykes - "From Roots to Sky"
WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they've shared be enough to give their future flight?
Nicole Deese - "Heartwood"
Abby Brookshire's world is turned upside down when the historic tree she's strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she's been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers, Netgalley for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
I can’t resist reading books by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, or Amanda Dykes so I snagged a copy of this book as soon as I saw it was available! And now, I have Nicole Deese to add to my list of must-read-authors!
I think my favorite type of multi-author collection is the kind where an object ties the stories together in a unique manner. In The Kissing Tree, the thread is the kissing tree itself, the beautiful oak tree that gave the town of Oak Springs its name. The tree and the stories of the lovers whose lives are touched by it are told, starting in the mid-1800s and ending in the current day.
There is so much to love about these stories. Each one deals with former heartbreak and future hope. There is a subtle thread of faith that runs through them.
My favorite part of Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts by Regina Jennings was the way it made me realize how difficult it would be for a farmer to trust newfangled technology. If you had asked me yesterday how quickly machines such as a thresher would have been adopted, I would have laughed at any possibility other than immediately. After all, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to eliminate some of their work? Yet, as I read, I was better able to understand the reluctance shown. Seeing how the thresher worked was fascinating!
Bella’s fears paralyzed her – holding her back. It was so sweet the way Adam encouraged her and even helped her to overcome them. And then, there was the contest against her father that he unwittingly got caught in … where winning could mean losing the thing he wanted most of all!
Inn for a Surprise by Karen Witemeyer was delightful! As Barnabas and Phoebe were forced to work together to make the Inn a success, it was a lot of fun seeing them learn that their strengths complemented each other and created a synergy. However, my favorite thing about the story was the “alternate” names Barnabas came up with for the Kissing Tree Inn. They were so fun!!
From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes was amazing! While it was so full of hopes and dreams, it was the story that most touched my heart and brought me close to tears. It was incredibly beautiful and romantic. I loved the contrast of Hannah’s constant chatter and Luke’s inability to get his thoughts out. He was one of the sweetest, most romantic heroes!! The Watermelon Festival and the thistles were funny, sweet, and a little heartbreaking all in one.
In Heartwood by Nicole Deese, Griffin has hopes of a second chance with Abby. Faced with pending loss that will compound the grief she still carries from the loss of her father, Abby clings desperately to every vestige of the past that she can and is fearful of change. Griffin was so sweet in the gentle way he allowed her time and space so she could heal. The story could have been very sad – yet it wasn’t. It was full of hope and light and, of course, romance!
Lovers of romantic fiction, historical and contemporary, should add The Kissing Tree to their libraries!