A Texas Christmas Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 2011
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About the Author
Jodi Thomas is a certified marriage and family counselor, a fifth generation Texan, a Texas Tech graduate, and writer-in-residence at West Texas A&M University. She lives in Amarillo, Texas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Since this author is the reason why I picked up this book, I am glad to say that her book did not disappoint.
Samuel Thompson, considered a notched above the wolves of the wild west by the town people, is introduced watching a mercantile and the woman pacing inside the store. A woman he met as a girl when they started going to school. As it happened, she is the only girl who gave him a good memory the short time he attended school. Grown now, he still nurtures a soft spot for her. And tonight the reason he is braving the oncoming snow storm is because he knew her life would be in danger soon.
Margaret Allison, Maggie, grew up to be the only daughter of a rich mercantile owner and just two months ago she came back in town to bury her parents and is now alone in the world. She is introduced as lonely even when growing up and is now facing the upcoming holiday as alone as she always has been - no friends, and no family. Still in her spinster heart she wished for a loving man.
Robbers came in the mercantile, Sam came into the rescue attempt, and they ended up forced to be together for a few days to evade a robber intent on revenge. They play husband and wife - I kid you not - and the robber came to find their death and they live HEA.
The story is solid, as I expected from the author whom I just started reading a month or so ago. And having read at least four book of her that time I present the following issue about all her books that I read: THE RULES.
See, she made ALL her heroes or heroines (from the books I read)lay rules during the development of romance to create the conflict. In a book or two, I don't mind but to have it on all her books is just too formulaic or too overused or....it just makes me think of a cookie cutter that's being used over and over again. Don't get me wrong, her books so far entertained me in the past but with me reading this `ground rules' on every book made me pause to pick up another book from her in the future.
Second issue: I understand why the village people don't like Sam but WHY did they scorned or did not befriend Maggie as a girl and as a woman was not explained here on the book.
Over all, Ms. Thomas' story is a good hour or so read.
Naughty or Nice by Dewanna Pace
DNF so I think it's not fair to give a review. I really tried and until the middle of chapter 3 but I think it's just not my thing. Funny though because one of Ms. Pace's short story in the book "Give Me A Texas Outlaw" titled Most Wanted, was a blast to read for me. This one just isn't pulling me in or as interesting.
The Christmas Bell by Linda Broday
Sloan Sullivan is a Texas rancher, whose ranch happens to be near where a train was stranded because of a blizzard/snow storm. Seeing the train and its trouble, he rode on it with the needed woods, foods, and blankets.
Tess Whitgrove, the town's banker's daughter, is in the train who volunteered to bring the commissioned town bell from Boston to their Texas town. We learn soon that she volunteered to prove herself not a spoiled rich daughter to the town people (which to me just prove the point). But I am digressing.
So they get crowded in the train and they fall in love as they mother and father the rest of the passenger. I'm not kidding.
Characters are overused but I would not have mind if the plot isn't as predictable three chapters in the book. I would not have mind a monotonous normal activity if there is more challenging internal conflict rather than a spoiled rich girl proving herself and a working rancher dreaming about her.
So why did I read it? Because one secondary character intrigue me which is a sad thing because I am more invested on secondary characters than the main one.
2 stars (3 on the secondary character)
Away In A Manger by Phyliss Miranda
DNF, again I tried because I do like the main characters. It's just that within in chapter two I already can see where the story goes.
To each her/his own I suppose.
Overall, the three stories (except Jodi Thomas') are uncomplicated and very transparent from the very beginning. If not for Ms. Thomas' book the money would be a waste - for me.
"Naughty or Nice?" By DeWanna Pace. In December 1887 tired of the scorn by the townsfolk of Kasota Springs, saloon owner Anna Ross returns from a supply run as a snowstorm assaults the Texas Panhandle. There she saves the life of greenhorn James Elliot III caught in the blizzard.
"The Christmas Bell" by Linda Broday. In December 1887 the blizzard strands the train on the Texas Panhandle as it headed to Kasota Springs. On board is spoiled Tess Whitgrove the banker's daughter coming home from Boston. Sloan Sullivan, who she disliked when they were children, arrives with a sled to rescue the stranded passengers and workers.
"Away in the Manger" by Phyliss Miranda. In 1887 on the Texas Panhandle Randall Humphrey looks forward to solitude during the Christmas season. Instead the Kasota Springs blacksmith finds Edwinna Dewey yelling at him over his half brother failing to arrive with her family. Her niece Sarah Callahan arrives with three years old twins Damon and Addie Claire at the blacksmith shop.
The latest western romance anthology by this quartet (see Give Me A Texas Outlaw) is a terrific somewhat interwoven but mostly separate tales of couples trapped by a snowstorm falling miraculously in love.
The first story was amazing. Samuel Thompson, a forgotten childhood friend to Allison, made sure that a gang of guys who he overheard were going to rape Miss Allison and rob her store late at night as she's staying open late for last minute Christmas shoppers, didn't do that. She ends up hiding out at his house and finds out more about Samuel's life. And he, about her- that she's really lonely with no friends, and in fact, remembers/cherishes gradeschool the year she and him went together.
The 3rd story was interesting from the time Sloan, a retired lawman, rides out to the train, stuck in the weather (snowed in on the tracks). When he gets there, to deliver blankets, wood, food to the people in the passenger train car, the first person he sees when the train car opens to his good samaritan-townsman self, is a woman who he avoids at all costs in town. It's a good one.
The 4th story, I loved too. It starts out with a somewhat grumpy blacksmith, whose really not at all grumpy, but saddened by his wife and unborn child's death 3 years previous, being bothered close to christmas time by ungrateful women in town to "remember to do this for me Mr. Humphrey, oh you're not going to forget to do that, mr. Humphrey," when he's saved by a lady and her two, 3 year old twins, whose not at all like her Aunt- (one of the ladies who always gives Mr. Humphrey a bad time). I loved it.