The Advent Bride by Mary Connealy
Book 1 in the 12 Brides of Christmas series
Kindle e-Book, 51 pages
Shiloh Run Studios
October 6, 2014
Genre: Christmas, Historical Romance, Christian Fiction, Western, Short Story/Novella
Source: Purchased from Amazon for Kindle
“Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.”
The Advent Bride is the first book in the 12 Brides of Christmas series, but they are not connected to each other except in theme, so you can read them in any order you choose (me being me, I have to read them in order). This series of short story/novellas features the stories of love/courtship/marriage for one woman during the Christmas season. From what I have read so far (4 books) they appear to all be sent in the American western frontier in the late 1800s – a relatively new setting for me, and an entirely welcome change. As the description implies, they are historical romances and Christian fiction as well – however they all feature a different depth to the religion.
The Advent Bride is one of those stories that uses religion as another angle for character development and identity. She will occasionally pray for something or look for strength to get through some event that is happening. This felt right for the character. I know some people get turned off by Christian fiction, but this is one that I feel used just the right amount. I loved how the tradition of Advent was built into the story. Instead of teaching the story of Christmas, it was utilized as a way to bring family/people together and to spend quality time together. I thought this was a very different way to look at the tradition, but was certainly necessary for the characters.
Most stories that you read set in the American west are stories of westward travel and the hard scrabble efforts to put together homes, towns, and create a livelihood out of nothing. It was refreshing to see set amongst these fledgling towns, a Christmas story. It is easy to forget that they had times of celebration as well as times of struggle and hard work.
In the short length of time, the author was able to build solid characters. I understood all of their motivations – even some of the more periphery characters. I’m not sure that I was exactly rooting for the couple in this story, but I understand what pulled them together and that was really strong.
Overall, this was a very sweet story of the Christmas season and I could see it being a chapter of a much longer story arc.
Author Mary Connealy also has written many other novels including: Out of Control, Over the Edge, and In Too Deep. You can visit Connealy’s website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to know more about The Advent Bride or the 12 Brides of Christmas series, follow the links.
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