I recently read The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson. I have to admit that I love Christmas stories. This book wasn’t so much a romance novel as a cute Christmas story. The author’s style reminded me a lot of the Mitford Series, if you are familiar with those books.
The main character of the novel is the preacher’s wife in a small town of Christmas Valley that was built around a logging mill. When the mill shut down the town leaders decided to make the town a Christmas destination as a way to draw tourists to the town to keep it economically alive. After several years of everything focused on Christmas the members of the town have become a bit disenchanted with the entire Christmas season and solely focused on the consumerism side. Edith, the pastor’s wife and operator of a bed-and-breakfast, is facing her first Christmas without children present and decides to open up the Inn to guests for the first time. Edith imagines a perfect Christmas with perfect guests and ends up instead with a crazy old lady named Myrtle, a fighting couple, a single mother with daughter and a reclusive old man as guests. To top it all off, a tack 1970’s bus pulls up and the couple who live in it ask if they can park the bus in front of her Inn. Taking one look at the extremely pregnant wife, Edith agrees to let them park there until they can get the bus fixed. Pretty soon Edith is regretting all her Christmas decisions; the mayor doesn’t like the bus being parked where tourists can see it, Myrtle causes problems with everyone in the town, and Edith’s favorite Christmas angel figurine goes missing.
This story was a feel-good Christmas story. Some of the plot was pretty predictable but sometimes I need to be reminded of the real reasons for Christmas and what the Christmas spirit really is. I love reading Christmas stories before Christmas but I have learned, the hard way, that I have to double check copyright dates of Christmas stories because publishers have a tendency to re-release the same stories every year with new covers.
The book was a quick read and is available for free at Amazon.com for the Kindle and I recommend it.
Previously I posted on the general attitude towards the romance genre. USA Today posted a great article on that same subject, showing how many authors are well educated women who enjoy the witty romance novels. You can click on the link below to read the article. It is well worth the time.
Santa in a Stetson by Janet Dailey. Having read some of Janet Dailey’s previous work, and enjoyed it, I thought I would read her latest release. I have to admit that I struggled to get through this book. It was well written and I liked the beginning story where the characters met and fell in love but then I struggled to relate to the main character for the rest of the book. Most of the book takes place in the desert of New Mexico and the main character, Diana, struggles to adjust to her new surroundings. Having grown up in the Southwest Desert, I find the desert beautiful and don’t understand when others cannot see the beauty that I see.
I was able to relate to the Diana’s struggles to find purpose and happiness in a secluded ranch after living in a big city. I do, however, have problems understanding women who don’t figure out that they are unhappy and then try to do something about it. When Diana first started to dislike living there, I thought she should have found some kind of hobby but that is because I am a doer. In addition, I grew up around horses and cattle so I struggle to understand individuals fears of the animals.
The book was well written and the character development was great it just was not a good fit for me. I debated about posting about the book since I didn’t love it and I decided to review it in the interest of showing that not every book is a perfect fit for every reader.
Ask any romance author or reader who their favorite author is and Georgette Heyer’s name will be mentioned. Credited with inventing the Regency England genre of novels, Heyer is still being published today. I have to admit I own all of her romance books and most of her mysteries. Georgette Heyer (August 16, 1902-July 4 1974) wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of 21 as a story for her brother.
Heyer was a very private person and spent most of her life refusing interviews. Most of Heyer’s novels take place during the same time period as Jane Austen’s but Jane Austen was writing contemporary fiction and Heyer was writing historical novels. Heyer was incredibly prolific and wrote numerous historical and mystery novels.
Heyer also wrote several novels about famous historical figures including An Infamous Army about Duke Wellington and The Conqueror about William the Conqueror. Heyer carefully researched and collected facts about the time periods she wrote about, even claiming that she only wrote what Duke Wellington wrote or said.
While I have yet to read a Heyer novel that I don’t love my two favorite are Sylvestor, or the Wicked Uncle and The Grand Sophy. There are numerous websites and discussion groups out there but I have listed a few here:
www.georgette-heyer.com and www.georgetteheyernovels.com