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This is such a well crafted gift for book readers with a heart for the Lord and His word. I can’t decide which part is my favorite! Thank you Karen, this book brought me such delight in such a troubling time for me. May the Lord continue to bless❤️
I loved this book! The retelling of the classic “A Christmas Carol” was so good. There is a bonus devotional and even a recipe. The other two novellas were released previously, but I enjoyed reading them again. It’s always good to visit with the Archers again!
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2021
I love novella story collections & Witemeyer is one of many favorite authors. To have three stories in one book by her is like getting an early Christmas present! You'll also find some bonus material which includes a couple of her favorite recipes, fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations and a hope-filled Christmas devotion. So without further ado, here's my review on each novella:
A Texas Christmas Carol
I loved this fun take on one of my favorite Christmas movies “A Christmas Carol”! Instead of Ebenezer, our hero is a Scrooge-like bachelor named Evan Beazer & our heroine is Felicity Wiggins. She decides to take on the mission of enlisting Evan's monetary & physical help to distribute Christmas baskets & bring him Christmas cheer (in spite of his grumpiness). It's fun to watch her break down the walls he's built & touch his hidden tender heart! Witemeyer references the biblical story of the persistent widow when it comes to the tenacity Felicity shows. It also has a deeper meaning to the story that I think readers will enjoy, the real reason behind Christmas. The epilogue was my favorite & very heartwarming. I found this to be a tender love story & a fun take on a favorite Christmas tale.
An Archer Family Christmas
I've read every one of the Archer brother stories, so to see them all come together for a Christmas celebration was purely delightful! Watching the children's excitement along with the adults definitely got me in an early Christmas mood. There's a bit of danger to add a little spice to this story, but I love how Jim Archer plays the hero to save his wife. The ending was sweet & brought some tears to my eyes. If you've read the Archer brother's (if not, you should!), you'll love this extra addition!
Gift of the Heart
Since my favorite Biblical story is Ruth and Naomi, this held a special place in my heart. I really enjoyed the nod to scripture. Widow Ruth Fulbright & her daughter Naomi relocate to Hope Springs, Texas two years after her husband’s death. Taking the job as a cook at the Homespun Cafe, she hopes to start a better life for her and her daughter. In the meantime, she meets her landlord, Beaurgard Azlin—or Bo for short. Thus begins their happily-ever-after story, and while this may sound too perfect, it has a few rocky places they both must navigate. Ruth is good for Bo in boosting his self-confidence and in return, Bo is good for Ruth in resurrecting feelings she thought buried with her husband. Naomi is the glue that binds them together! I love her spunky spirit, her childlike view of the world and her compassion for one stray cat lovingly nicknamed Teddy. Talking about the tabby, he contributes his own quirkiness and personality to the mix. A mish-mash family whose love story is hard earned and has a satisfying end. Witemeyer inserts her trademark humor that had me laughing out loud in quite a few spots & her characters are ones I would have enjoyed meeting. Too bad it's not real because I could make a life in Hope Springs myself! A delightful story with a Biblical twist.
* I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the author and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *
Four months before Christmas, beloved author Karen Witemeyer gives her readers' an early Christmas gift with Under the Texas Mistletoe: A Trio of Christmas Historical Romance Novellas.
I make no secret of the fact that I'm an ardent fan of Ms. Witemeyer's books. Last month, I had the honor and privilege to meet Karen in person at the Mississippi River Readers Retreat. What a thrill and delight for me as a reader! Meeting Karen only deepened my appreciate and admiration for her. Her kind and gracious manner put me at ease straight away and made me feel as if I'd known her my entire life. Karen, meeting you will forever be a memory I hold dear in my heart. Thank you.
A Texas Christmas Carol is the first novella that begins this collection. Ms. Witemeyer gives subtle nods throughout to Dicken's Christmas Carol with a Texas twist.
Felicity Wiggins persistent determination to have Evan Beazer donate either money or time to the Christmas Basket Committee for needy families soon wins him over despite his best efforts. Evan soon finds himself seeing Felicity in a new light as he realizes that "Family was her lifeblood." (Witemeyer, 43) and she "was a woman worth waiting for." (Witemeyer, 41).
One aspect of Ms. Witemeyer's writing that I appreciate are the gospel message and the nuggets of truth she manages to seamlessly sprinkle in all her stories. An example, I think of Felicity's explanation of Christmas when talking to Evan. "The Spirit of Christmas is about touching lives and letting them touch you in return. That's why Jesus left heaven, why he confined his infinite being into a finite flesh. To give us the best gift ever given-his presence. Immanuel. God with us...To leave your wallet behind and give what comes from the heart." (Witemeyer, 23).
How Ms. Witemeyer wove together both the gospel elements and the nods to the iconic Christmas Carol was so cleverly & beautifully entwined together to make a delightful and heartfelt read that you just did not want to put down. I might have lost a lot of sleep trying to finish this in one sitting because I just did not want to close the book. It will leave you contemplating the meaning of Christmas in the best way possible. The next novella included is An Archer Family Christmas! (Previously only available as a digital download.) Who are the Archers? Well I'm glad you asked. After you finish A Texas Christmas Carol, but before you start this 2nd novella you'll want to acquaint yourself with the Archers through Short-Straw Bride, Stealing the Preacher and A Cowboy Unmatched. (Note: If you prefer a print version of stories you can find A Cowboy Unmatched in the A Match Made in Texas collection).
I'd recommend running to the nearest bookstore or library to find these books. I'm only teasing about reading 3 novels before this novella. Although, I do highly recommend all of these books. You will not be disappointed. Because I've read all the books about the Archer clan this Christmas novella felt like coming home and being reunited with old friends you hadn't seen in a while. All of the Archer men and their wives' and children have reunited at the homestead of their youth to spend Christmas together. A plea for help puts Cassie Archer unexpectedly in the crosshairs of a dangerous man and it will take all of the Archers banning together to save Cassie. Will their Christmas end in disaster? This novella further completed/rounded out the Archer clan to this reader's satisfaction. Slight Spoiler Alert: I appreciated what I felt was a full circle moment. It was interesting to me how the Archer men were wary of any and all outsiders with the motto "Archer's protect their own" to now see the men are husbands and fathers however the same creed is even more ingrained in them because of their families.
If Ms. Witemeyer even needs any more story ideas I'd be interested in re-visiting the Archers and their brood. Perhaps she could do a series with the Archer children/cousins.
A Gift of the Heart rounds out this compilation of sweet and delightful Christmas-themed novellas. This novella was previously published in A Christmas Heirloom and I already did an in-depth review about it here.
Under the Texas Mistletoe is a joy and delight from beginning to end and not to be missed. I will want to be re-reading it again before Christmas for years to come.
~~ Under the Texas Mistletoe was provided to me by the author and Bethany House in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own.~~
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2021
🐎A Texas Christmas Carol It is so well written. I absolutely loved it; especially the angels. This story is so, so clever. And I had tears coming down at the end. I am thankful Karen Witemeyer took the time to rework a classic into a new little piece of magic that honors our Lord and Savior. “It’s not the size of the gift that pleases our Lord, but the heart that gives it.” (5 stars) read 08/2021 🎄An Archer Family Christmas The Archers never disappoint and returning to them is like coming home. Even though I read this story a couple of years ago, I cried all over again. The beauty, love, and fierce devotion of this family pulls you in. I still love it. However, you need not have read any of the Archer-related books to enjoy this story. (5 stars) read in 11/2019 - Originally appeared in “An Old Fashioned Texas Christmas 2-in-1 Holiday Novella Collection” and 08/2021 Under the Christmas Mistletoe” 💖Gift of the Heart An incredibly sweet story of acceptance. Bo and Ruth are drawn to each other and find something they were each missing in their lives. “When Ruth pushed open the door, warmth from the front room enveloped them like a welcoming hug. … It left her feeling cherished, pampered. Loved?” (5 stars) read in 2018 in “The Christmas Heirloom Collection” and again in 2019 in “An Old Fashioned Texas Christmas 2-in-1 Holiday Novella Collection”, 08/2021 in “Under the Christmas Mistletoe”
💒🍪Bonuses Features: Why a Baby? A Christmas Devotional, American Christmas traditions of the 19th century, Christmas recipes
These historical stories, encased in a charming cover, are comforting reminders of what we desire Christmas to be.
Karen Witemeyer kindly sent me a complimentary book in the hopes of a favorable review, with no further compensation or expectation. 🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖🐎🎄💖
A Texas Christmas Carol - A clever and completely charming Texas take on the Dickens' classic. An utterly delightful read with engaging characters with names that are fun twists on their inspirations.
Eben is a smart businessman, with really great ideas. He is a clever man, but likes to keep people at a distance with his gruff exterior. I loved how Felicity challenges Eben, and draw him out.
Such a wonderful twist on a traditional story, with strong faith that points to the true meaning of Christmas.
An Archer Family Christmas - The holidays are hard for Cassie and Jim Archer, but when a stranger shows up in need it just might be the answer to prayers.
A heartwarming story of faith and family that finds all the of the Archers together for Christmas. I loved seeing all the couples together for Christmas, as well as getting to know the people at the neighboring boarding school better as well like Myra and her family. An exciting, action-packed read, with strong themes of faith and family.
Gift of the Heart - A widow puts up a treasured broach for collateral on a loan from a wealthy land-owner to help her and her daughter make it through their first Christmas in a new home.
Ruth is a hardworking mother, and the last thing that she wants to do is ask for help, she is a great mother to her young daughter. Naomi is so cute, and I loved how outgoing and friendly she is. Bo is impressed by Ruth's work ethic and charmed by Naomi's honest innocence and accepting nature.
A heartwarming romance, with an adorable little girl, I enjoyed the characters and the Texas setting of this re-telling of the Biblical story. A highly enjoyable read.
Overall, an excellent collection of Christmastime novellas from one of my favorite authors, with familiar faces and familiar timeless tales told in a fresh way. An excellent gift for Christmas or anytime, I read the whole book in one sitting, and you won't want to miss it!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2021
These 3 novellas will get you in the mood for the holidays but you can definitely read it anytime of the year! Each one is heartwarming and has such wonderful characters. A TEXAS CHRISTMAS CAROL - As you might suspect, this is a take on the Dickens' Christmas Carol. The author does a wonderful job of putting a Texas spin on it! The town's wealthy Scrooge-like Evan Beazer is just as grouchy as they come and he will not be helping out Miss Felicity Wiggins with the Christmas baskets for the poor! Oh but that Miss Wiggins has a few tricks up her sleeve that Evan surely can't resist! I loved this story and all the lessons that were learned! AN ARCHER FAMILY CHRISTMAS - The Archer family is one close to my heart as I loved all their books written by Ms. Witemeyer! In this novella, she wraps it all up by giving the reader the joy of seeing what has been happening with all those Archers since their books ended! Even if you didn't read any of them, you will still enjoy this book! It has love, laughter and even danger as one of the brothers races to the rescue to save his wife! I loved visiting with the Archers once again! GIFT OF THE HEART Ruth and Naomi will steal your heart! This widow and her young daughter need a new start so they move to a new town and then, have to convince the town's wealthy resort owner to loan them money to secure housing. Bo Azlin has had a crippled hand since his youth but that hasn't stopped him from being a resort owner. However, he's closed himself off from relationships and the possible hurt....that is until Ruth and Naomi burst into his life! This is such a sweet story of how people can make such a difference in your life! Truly a joyous story! I was given a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to review it. These opinions are my own.
Under the Texas Mistletoe is a delightful treat for the Christmas season that warms the heart with romance and holiday cheer. Karen Witemeyer simply never disappoints, and this book is no exception! The first novella is an utterly creative and thoroughly enjoyable retelling of A Christmas Carol--set in Texas with a Scrooge-like character as the hero! I never thought someone could make a Scrooge character dashing and romantic, but I never should have doubted Karen Witemeyer. Of course she achieved this with her unmatched storytelling style! The second novella is a heartwarming holiday tale of the Archer family that allows us a peek at the happy marriages of the four Archer brothers, and the subsequent family fun of Christmas with their children. The story focuses on Jim and Cassie and their struggle to start a family, and how their prayers are answered with a Christmas miracle of an unexpected adoption. A swoon-worthy rescue scene with Jim and Cassie is the best part of this story, and the glimpse of how they love and fight for each other is precious. This story was my absolute favorite, and any fan of the Archer clan that we met in Short-Straw Bride, Stealing the Preacher, and A Cowboy Unmatched simply cannot miss it! The third novella is a sweet and romantic story of a reclusive landlord Bo, who falls swiftly and completely in love with a sweet and sacrificing single mother who comes to town. Ruth has surrendered a family heirloom to Bo as collateral for a loan to set up a new life for her and her daughter, but then she finds herself smitten with the landlord--who quickly becomes so much more. This sweet love story featuring a spunky seven-year-old and the joy of the holidays is both hilarious and romantic! These three novellas---combined with a devotion, interesting historical insights, and some holiday recipes---make this collection perfect for readers as they head into the Christmas season, and I highly recommend it! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher for review purposes, but my thoughts are my own. I really did love it!