Publication Date: September 27, 2022
The crisp fragrance of pine trees and the warm spice of fresh cookies aren’t the only blessings that Christmas brings, and no one knows more about happy homecomings than three couples who are celebrating the greatest gift of all . . .
STAR OF WONDER by Charlotte Hubbard
When Raymond Overholt comes to Promise Lodge, hoping to sell the barnboard signs he’s painted with stars and Christmas messages, spirited young Mennonite Lizzie Zehr is intrigued. But any courtship between them will face fierce opposition from the bishop of Raymond’s Old Order community—unless someone can convince him that at the heart of faith lies love . . .
An Amish Christmas Star is an anthology of three Christmas short stories written by three authors. I’ve only read a few books by Shelley Shepard Gray and Charlotte Hubbard, while Rosalind Lauer is a new author to me.
I plan to read more of their books since I’m a fan of Amish romances. The stories were very different, but each had Amish beliefs, hard work, family and friends, and Christmas at its center as characters tried to return home for the holidays under very different circumstances.
The only downfall for me was the stories didn’t continue a little longer with an epilogue to give the closure I always look for. I love Christmas stories at any time of year, and I enjoyed each of them for different reasons.
“Buggies, Trains and Automobiles” by Shelley Shepard Gray is an unusual tale since the main characters, John and Ellie, are trying to get from Florida to Ohio, but for very different reasons. Their different modes of travel were unexpected, as were some of the people they met along the way. When they finally reach Ohio, they both find peace and realize their feelings for each other. I liked how they supported each other even though they were virtual strangers when they met but got to know each other better on their journey.
“Star of Wonder” by Charlotte Hubbard had a lot of unusual premises. There’s a very strict bishop who wasn’t liked by many, and many of his flock decided to move from Coldstream to Promise Lodge, a more progressive church district. The lodge apartments were a useful setup, and I liked that Raymond was able to fulfill his artistic bent after working all day in the bulk store doing a multitude of jobs. Lizzie was unexpected in her clothing choices as well as her outspokenness and beliefs, but she and Raymond definitely hit it off. But are they good for each other? Raymond’s barnboard plaques were an interesting concept and nicely woven throughout the story.
“Starlight Everlasting” by Rosalind Lauer was my favorite story. The Christmas shop with its message was heartwarming, as was how Rachel and her family pulled together to help fulfill her dreams of the shop but also were there for each other after the death of their mem. Rachel’s newlywed husband, Luke, who took a job at a factory in a town hours away, was very caring and a family man, even if he had to spend days away from her and her family. I liked their interactions but also those with her family members. She and Luke always seemed to put the other first, even when it didn’t seem so. There were multiple storylines nicely woven together. The story had a wonderful and unexpected ending, although there were a few hints throughout.
All three authors did a fine job with their stories, and I truly enjoyed An Amish Christmas Star. I love Amish tales and Christmas/Holidays books, and combining them into one book was a real treat and a fantastic way to prepare readers for the holiday season.
In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 60 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.
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