Title: Comfort & Joy
Author: Alana Terry, Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig
Series: Christmas Lights
Major Themes: Alaska, Christmas, Dyslexia, Ghosts, Romance
Synopsis: The four stories in this collection center around romance beginning at Christmas, but have wildly different themes otherwise.
This is the third Christmas Lights collection. I’ve enjoyed all of them for the most part, although I’ll have to admit I struggled with this one to a certain extent.
Alana Terry’s Frost Heaves begins the collection. I was immediately drawn into the story and had a hard time putting it down, but there were parts of the story I did not like at all. I appreciated Jade’s reliance on God. Alana drew a vivid picture of what happens when a religious group loses its focus on Jesus and allows its leaders to exert too much control over their followers. I’ve seen it happen, and this story does a good job of warning of this danger. On the other hand, Jade kills, or attempts to kill, two people in self-defense. Jesus did not encourage this—in fact, in the Sermon on the Mount, He said not to resist evil. Because of that, I cannot recommend this story.
The second book is Deck the Shelves, by Toni Shiloh. Once again, although there are some lovely bits to the story, I did not appreciate parts of it—and I’ll have to admit that I didn’t even finish reading it. Kendall ran a delightful little bookstore, which Quinton frequented. She started writing quotes from classical books to tuck into the bags with his purchases, while he was writing quotes to leave for her to find. My problem with this book is that they are both divorced and seeking a new spouse. According to Jesus, again, in Matthew 5 and Luke 19, that is wrong.
I really enjoyed Cathe Swanson’s Always and Forever. Penny’s challenges with starting a new business make a nice framework for the story, and I loved the parts about her dyslexia. As the mother of several dyslexics, almost all of that rang true. I also loved that Penny had been homeschooled, and the little bits stuck in about chicken butchering day and the question about the name of the Thanksgiving turkey were a great touch of realism.
I also loved The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, by Chautona Havig. Once again, she has taken a unique idea—in this case, a ghost storytelling competition—and made it into a great story! Mitchell had a phobia of ghosts, but his uncle left him a building as his inheritance, only on condition that he compete in the annual competition. The two neighbor girls encourage him—but why were strange things happening in his house? My favorite character is Lauren, the spunky little sister. I love that she’s homeschooled, too!
I received a free ecopy of this book and chose to write a review.
WARNING: As noted in main review.