Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
In this special holiday novella, Stacy Henrie returns to the World War I setting of her Of Love and War series for a heartwarming read that’s perfect for the Christmas season. (Goodreads)
This Christmas themed novella is set in 1918 and is a nice continuation of characters that were introduced in the first Love and War romance, Hope at Dawn. Maria Schmitt moves to Sioux City, Iowa, from her small hometown of Hildon (where Hope at Dawn takes place) in an attempt to start a new life after her boyfriend marries another. She is content to now be a bank clerk where she is the top performer. All she really desires is respect and to be valued for being herself.
She literally falls into Dale Emerson’s arms when she loses her balance on a ladder. Little does she know that Dale is the bank owner’s nephew come to town to be the bank’s manager so that Uncle Lester may retire. Dale is uneasy about his new role since he has always aspired to be a surgeon. He lived his dream until he lost his eye, and subsequently his depth perception and ability to see during surgery, during battle. He wants to help his uncle but is despondent over the loss of his career and desperately wants to be accepted despite his injury/disability. He has recently broken off his engagement to one the wealthiest daughters in town, thinking that he could no longer provide the society status to which she was accustomed.
Of course, they are attracted to each other and quickly fall in love. As is often the case in romance, there is a misunderstanding that leads to a breakup, but all is right in the end.
A Christmas Hope is a sweet little romance, but it seemed short, even for a novella. My rating is based on its brevity. I wish it was longer so that the characters could have been better developed. They were interesting and likable; I would have just liked to have spent a little more time with them and gotten to know them better. As a result, Maria and Dale’s courtship seemed rushed. The holiday setting was a nice backdrop to the story and made it all the more cozy.
I like the world Ms. Henrie has created, and it seems historically sound. Her writing is lyrical and easy to read, and I am excited to spend more time with her characters in the future. I recommend A Christmas Hope to Ms. Henrie’s fans and those who enjoy historical romance with a Christmas twist.