A western family Christmas Mass Market Paperback – 2001
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From Library Journal
In this heartwarming trilogy of Christmas-themed novellas by some of Harlequin's favorite historical authors, small towns in Colorado and Kansas and a Texas ranch provide the wintery backdrops and plenty of Old West ambience. Likable, spirited characters, many of whom have past issues with Christmas, enliven the appealing stories that, while not always predictable, are overflowing with family, love, and all the expected holiday festivities. A blizzard, a stranded, unwelcome stranger, and a baby on the doorstep disrupt the quiet life of an independent, Christmas-avoiding spinster with ultimately romantic results in Criswell's "Christmas Eve"; a fiery, "haunted" storekeeper rescues a tormented doctor turned gambler from a bounty hunter and ends up finding love and freeing them both from the past in Mary McBride's memorable "Season of Bounty"; and a mail-order fiance, three unwanted orphans, and the children's grouchy, resentful rancher uncle put their pasts behind them and form a family in Liz Ireland's especially well-done "Cowboy Scrooge." For readers who like their holiday historicals with a Western touch.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Christmas Eve" by Millie Criswell -- 3.5 stars
Eve Barlow hated the Christmas holidays. Although she had been born on Christmas Eve, it seemed that bad things had to happen around that time. First, she lost her parents in a horrible train accident the day before Christmas ten years ago, and six years ago she had been left standing at the altar by her no-good-fiance on Christmas Eve. So Eve was content to keep to herself and not celebrate the Christmas holidays - until drifter Gabe Tyler showed up at her door, asking to rent one of her rooms while he was in town. Gabe too had faced his share of sorrow in life, and he drifted from town to town searching for his son, who had been disappeared with Gabe's faithless wife several years ago. An unlikely friendship forms between Gabe and Eve, a friendship that blossoms into romance as an unexpected Christmas gift finds its way on Eve's porch.
This story was moderately good. Eve was a bit silly when it came to the "Christmas curse," and I don't know why she saw her fiance leaving her at the altar as such a bad thing. I'm sure being left at the altar isn't much fun, but it's got to be better than marrying a real jerk and being stuck with him forever. This story seemed like it had too much crammed into it. I know it's a short story, so space is limited, but the author tried to shove way too much stuff into the story. Take out a few subplots, and maybe the story wouldn't seem so rushed. The ending, however, will leave a fuzzy feeling in your heart.
"Season of Bounty" by Mary McBride -- 3.5 stars
Matilda Favor ran a small mercantile in a small town and squirreled away every penny she earned. The town thought she was pretty batty, considering she consulted her dead husband's ghost, Charlie, on everything related to the business and her personal life. When Matilda does something without consulting Charlie, namely helping a ne'er-do-well named Will Cade who was attempting to steal an expensive hairbrush from her store, she tells Will he needs to help in her store to pay off his moral debt to her. Will is incredibly drawn to Matilda, but he thinks she is still married since she continually talks about Charlie (even though he's been dead for years). Will isn't who he seems to be, though. Although he's a gambler now, he was a doctor in the Civil War until personal tragedy caused him to give up his practice. Can these two lost souls help one another?
I really liked the premise of the story, but the story itself was somewhat a disappointment. The whole "consulting with Charlie's ghost" was just weird, I was beginning to wonder if Matilda really was crazy after all. Will Cade was a much more interesting character, despite Matilda constantly snipping at him and being generally rude. If Matilda had had some sense and manners, this story would be more enjoyable.
"Cowboy Scrooge" by Liz Ireland -- 5 stars!
Ivy Ryan headed for a small Texas town to be the mail-order bride of Josiah Murphy, fleeing from her past and convinced men are all jerks. Upon arriving in Otis, Texas, however, she learns that Josiah is dead, and the town is now thrusting the care of his three orphans into Ivy's less than capable hands. Ivy discovers that the three orphans, who are bratty beyond belief, have an uncle nearby and is determined to dump them off at his ranch. Once she meets Justin Murphy, though, Ivy knows that she has her work cut out for her. Justin shows no interest in the children, and although he does agree to take them, he insists that Ivy stay to take care of the children. Although each is wary of the other, soon they find romance blooming between them.
This story was, by far, the best in the book, and is worth the price of the book alone. The story was wonderful, with a great cast of characters and a surprising level of character development considering it was a short story. Liz Ireland really made the characters come alive, and the romance between Justin and Ivy was realistic and heart-warming. It was a wonderful story that made you laugh out loud and left you with that warm fuzzy feeling at the end. Out of the three stories, this is probably the only one I will read again.
But her intended gets himself killed and leaves three bratty children -- Joe Junior - Sophie and Linus - maybe about 10 - 7 and 4 years of age.
Ivy has her own problems and they sure don't include taking on children.
It is about a month before Christmas and no one has the right clothes to survive a Texas winter.
She is exhausted trying to keep track of the children - they could scatter quicker than a litter of coyote cubs. Luckily she finds out that the kids have an mean, old uncle in Wishbone.
It turns out that Justin Murphy is not as old as Ivy thought and when Justin first saw Ivy and the kids he knew they were trouble.
He didn't want it. Or them.
The only way Justin would agree to take his brother's children was if Ivy agreed to stay and take care of them. He had a ranch to run. And he wasn't willing to be reminded of his perfidious brother. Or the children's mother.
This story alone is worth getting the book.
Loved it - great the way it worked out.
I enjoyed these stories very. n
I Like stories.especially around Christmas time and in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth.
2] Season of Bounty by Mary McBride: How a Civil War Doctor/gambler and a beautiful widowed shopkeeper and how their romance and his redemption develops. Great story.
3] Cowboy Scrooge by Liz Ireland: I have read most books by Liz Ireland. I found this was of the quality she has always shown. Well written and interesting. All about a Texas-size family Christmas.
All of above are terrific and I would recommend reading them.