Title: Christmas Lights (2016 edition)
Author: Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, April Hayman, Chautona Havig
Series: Christmas Lights
Major Themes: Cats, Christmas, Homelessness
Synopsis: A collection of four novellas set at Christmas; one historical and three contemporary.
Christmas Lights is a collection of four Christmas novellas. They are all very clean, as far as romance and language go. I enjoyed the opportunity to read this book in advance of publication, although due to family circumstances I was not able to write my review in time.
The first book in the collection is The Heart of Joy by Vikki Kestell. Apparently, it is a addendum to a series titled A Prairie Heritage. Maybe it would have meant more to me if I had read that series; as it is, I wasn’t very impressed. It struck me as pretty much just romance, with nothing else to add value. Like I said, though, if I had read the series it would probably have been fine. Basically, Joy, a young widow, must decide if she can allow another man to capture her heart several years after her husband’s death—or if anyone she loves will inevitably be hurt.
The second book is Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson. I really enjoyed that one. The main character is another young widow, dealing with guilt from her husband’s death. She starts a project to help a homeless man find a job and get some self-respect, only to discover that everything she believes about him needs to be rethought. I loved the thoughts about not allowing grief to overshadow your entire life, and I loved the humor towards the end of the story.
Trip the Light Fantastic by April Hayman is the third book. I’m sorry, but I didn’t get a lot out of it. I thought that was because I had just started reading the book when my son suddenly died, and that maybe that was why the story didn’t make sense. When my daughter had the same reaction, though, and I read about someone else who also thought the same thing, I decided maybe something needs to be clarified in the story. I’m not sure what, though. As far as I can tell, the main character, an FBI man who desperately wants to make one more arrest for the year, is set up in a situation to force him to take a break. I couldn’t quite get the point of the story, though.
The last book is Christmas Stalkings by Chautona Havig. Anything by her is sure to be great, and I was not disappointed by this one. The main character is another widow, this time middle-aged—that makes three out of four novellas in this collection with a widow as the main character! Wendy is also rather crazy about her seven cats, and one of her obsessions is putting up a Christmas tree each year for each cat. This year, however, mysterious things start happening when she does; someone is entering her house and moving things. The police can’t solve the mystery; will Wendy be able to?
I received a free advance copy of this book and chose to write a review.
WARNING: Heart of Joy: A number of kisses. Snow Angels: Chapter 23 describes an incident from a war. The last chapter mentions a couple of kisses.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy these books:
These books are no longer available as a boxed set. However, you can buy the individual books here: