Katie Lundy is looking forward to Christmas. Her parents own and operate Brenneman Bed and Breakfast but every year the weeks surrounding Christmas are visitor free and this year the family is all coming to the B&B to celebrate.
Katie, her husband, Jonathan, Jonathan’s two girls from his first marriage, Hannah and Mary and baby, Eli make up Katie’s new family.
Anna, a good friend of Katie, married Katie’s brother Henry. Anna did not grow up in a Plain community but decided to convert 2 years ago. She’s still learning but it’s getting easier.
Winnie is Jonathan’s sister. When his barn burnt down she was injured and need to stay in the hospital which is where she met her husband, Samuel Miller.
With this many people, there will be close to a full house so when Henry finds a reservation in the mail for the 20th of December, Katie is furious. She would like to tell this Levi Bender to go home. She far from welcoming as he comes to the inn.
Levi only wants to be far from his home and his memories. Christmas is a hard time for him because his wife and child died at that time and he’s sure that if he had not been so arrogant they would have lived. Surely in an inn full of strangers he will be able to forget or at least not have to deal with his loss.
When Melody Gingerich’s boss offers her a gift certificate to a Bed and Breakfast, she ‘s reluctant to take it but her boss makes this place sound so good. Melody is 9 months pregnant due to a rape and knows that her life is about to change once again. Her family is of the mind that if the don’t talk about it, the whole problem will go away but how can you ignore a baby? Maybe a week away will help.
Katie can’t believe how sullen Levi is and how Melody would even think of being away from her family with only 3 weeks to go before delivery. Of course, she has her own secret that she really needs to tell Jonathan. How can this Christmas be anything like she wanted?
Leah Dillon is Melody’s friend and is upset that Melody has traveled so far away at Christmas. She’s sure that Melody would rather come home than spend Christmas with strangers and if not Leah will just stay and celebrate with her. As Leah is Englisch and not Amish, she has a car and sets off on her trip never expecting to run into bad weather and a major accident. Will she be able to make it and bring Melody home before Christmas? And that policeman, Zach , who stopped at the accident, well, she wouldn’t mind getting to know him better.
This is a wonderful Christmas story with all the characters from the Sisters of the Heart series. You do not have to have read the series to enjoy this delightful book but if you have, you will enjoy catching up on all of the characters.
The characters are wonderful. When most people think Amish, they stereotype them into a one mold fits all. In this story, we learn quickly that this is not the case. Katie has a temper that comes out. She knows that she should be welcoming and accepting but she still has her own desires. Anna is still learning how to be Amish and that she didn’t grow up that way comes out every now and then. Levi has never been hunting! He lives in town and works at a factory that is owned by an Englisch man. Each character is unique and brings a greater insight into a world most do not have contact with.
The chapters are divided up into sections defined by the date and time. This makes it easy to transition from one event to the next. For example, it may be 10 in the morning and the women are making pretzels and talking followed by it being 11 and you join the men hunting. This allows the reader to see several points of view and get a bigger picture of what is happening. These breaks give you a heads up that you’re shifting scenes.
There are two or more stories going on at the same time so those breaks are welcomed. While Melody is slowly learning about Levi and Levi is learning about Melody, Leah is finding herself in an unexpected relationship with Zach, the policeman. So, it’s almost two stories in one as we jump from the Amish to the Englisch parts of the book. Yet, this does not make it disjointed but rather enriches it.
By just looking at the cast of characters, you will get a pretty good idea how the book ends. Yes, it’s predictable but it’s still fun to read.
I really enjoyed this Christmas story. I was a wonderful reminder to slow down and enjoy this joyous season. Things don’t have to go as planned for it to be special, just ask Katie! Heartwarming would be a good word to describe this story. From the characters to the presents, everything plays out the way God wanted it to and lessons are learned.
As an added bonus, there are recipes in the back of the book for some of the foods that were made in the story. A few of them, I can’t wait to try.
It's never too late to go home
It’s Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holidays. But when two unexpected visitors appear seeking shelter, the family’s commitment to hospitality is tested. First Levi arrives, sullen and angry . . . but insisting on staying for five days. Next Melody shows up. She’s almost nine months pregnant, but won’t say a word about why she traveled all the way from Kentucky by herself. As the two strangers settle in, the Brennemans try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, except for Katie, who and knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. She is determined to learn the truth about these two strangers . . . all while keeping her own secret safely hidden away.
All is revealed when a snowstorm traps them at the inn.