4.25 stars for craft, and 3/4 hearts for spiritual strength. 4/4 hearts for healing heart potential. That was the best part of these two stories. They weren't fluff.
About the book:
Love Finds You under the Mistletoe: An Appalachian Christmas by Irene Brand
A promise to her dying sister compels Julia Mayfield to take her young nephew to Mistletoe, Kentucky, a tiny town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. Sparks fly when she meets David Armstrong, a World War II veteran like herself. Even as shadows from the past weave a dangerous web around Julia and David, will their love flourish like the mistletoe that blankets the nearby hills?
Love Finds You under the Mistletoe: Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Anita Higman
Hollie Goodnight's store has just been voted best Christmas shop in America. All the new publicity draws flamboyant novelist Van Keaton to the cozy town of Noel, Missouri, demanding to write Hollie's story - a dramatic tale of misfortune and triumph. She is swept up in his world of beautiful words and fanciful interludes. . .until Owen Quigly, her lifelong best friend, launches a plan to win her back.
More like 4 stars for novella #1, and 4.5 stars for #2, making it average at 4.25 stars overall....
At first I thought I'd like the first book by Irene Brand best, since I'm a fan of historical fiction and have always enjoyed her Love Inspired stories. But then I decided to read Anita Higman's book and ended up loving it even more. Probably because it was deeper in regards to love, the heart, motivation, infatuation, and what it means to be committed to someone. However, I really enjoyed the first book, too.
They were both very different and spoke to different issues of the heart. What I enjoyed about the first book was the idea that if you love someone, are you willing to give up what you think you want and be open to something better? It also had to do with keeping promises and what real love is, versus a commitment made while grieving. Do you honor it even if it no longer applies?
Regarding the second story, I loved the whole "nobody wanted me then I received two marriage proposals in the same day" theme. I loved how the author had the heroine examining her heart and her motivation. Did she want what was comfortable and safe because of her abandonment issues? Did she want something new and exciting if it meant losing her best friend? How do you decide for the long haul what is best? Also, do you do what people expect, or do you risk doing the right thing when no matter what you do somebody gets hurt? Where does God fit into all of this...? :)
Great stories, both of them, but if I were to choose my favorite I'd have to say I liked the second story best. But they were both heart-warming and can be read any time of year, not just during the holidays.
Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe was published by Summerside and released in Sept 2010.