Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review: The Magic of Christmas by Carolyn Davidson, Victoria Bylin, and Cheryl St. John

A Christmas Child ~ Carolyn Davidson

Marianne Winters has no one in the world but her baby brother and, with Christmas approaching, she needs somewhere warm to stay. Will she find her home, and a loving heart, with the lonely pastor, David McDermott?

The lead-off story in this anthology, Carolyn Davidson’s tale really set the tone for Christmas. The story read like a sweetly inspired Christmas tale, set slightly away from deep point of view with strong relationships between Joshua and baby Jesus. 

I enjoyed Marianne and David’s story although I had trouble completely believing the love they felt for each other. I believed their love would grow, however, and so I was able continue reading without being bothered.

~ Favorite Carolyn Davidson: Homespun Bride

The Christmas Dove ~ Victoria Bylin

Maddie Cutler once snubbed bad boy Dylan McCall, but with nowhere else to turn she had come back to town – with a babe in arms. Dylan is a reformed man, and on seeing Maddie again he longs to heal her hurt – and claim her once and for all!

This is my first experience with Victoria Bylin’s writings and I can happily report that I will be on the lookout for her next effort. Her words flow effortlessly across the page, weaving a beautiful Christmas story about forgiveness and acceptance.

The story had potential to be a full-length book but Ms. Bylin did an excellent job of trimming down the details to create a lovely short story. The simplicity of Dylan’s love for Maddie was almost heart-breaking and his love fairly bled through the pages. Maddie, once a spoiled brat and now coming home in disgrace, was a well-rounded character, changed by the birth of her daughter. She was, at times, a little too hard on herself but Dylan provided the perfect balance.

Ms. Bylin, you have found yourself a new reader.

~ Author Website:  www.victoriabylin.com

A Baby Blue Christmas ~ Cheryl St. John

Turner Price hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and child. But when he finds a young woman and newborn twin babies in his stable, he realizes this may be his second chance to be a loving husband and father, just in time for Christmas!

Easily my favorite story of the three, I went into reading this one expecting to feel that way and was not disappointed. Cheryl St. John is one of my favorite Western romance writers.

Turner and Gabby were truly made for each other – strong and sure, they found themselves in the midst of an almost impossible situation and came through better for their experiences, with each other and Gabby’s sweet nephews.

If anything detracted from the story it is a well-used Western cliché to round out the end of the story and help our hero realize that he really does love our heroine. However, the story was so engaging that even though I knew it was coming, I breezed through the last few pages unbothered and saddened when the story ended.

~ Favorite Cheryl St. John: Sweet Annie

~ Author Website: http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/

On a personal note: I read this book at nights, usually at three or four in the morning, while feeding my newborn son. At a time when I am struggling through exhaustion and the slightly panicky feeling of new motherhood, this book helped calm my fears with relatable characters and situations. I owe these authors a debt of gratitude for the comfort they offered.

Additional Info

~ Published: October 2008

~ Price:  $5.99

(this review can also be found at Reading Romance Books)


Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Emily! Thank you for your kind words for "The Christmas Dove." I'm glad you enjoyed Maddie and Dylan, and even more delighted to see pics of Michael Lee. He's adorable! Those late nights can be rough, but they're so worth it!

CherylStJohn said...

Thank you for the review! I love Christmas stories, too.

Amy said...

This is a great idea for a post! Christmas stories are so great and there are many people who are looking for some good ones this year!