ACFW Book Review

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Title: Christmas at Barncastle Inn (Romancing America)
Author: Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Janelle, Mowery, Lynette Sowell
Publisher: Barbour Books
Date: Sep 2011
ISBN: 978-1616264383
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Laura V. Hilton

Four couples find romance at Barncastle Inn in Vermont.

Love Comes to the Castle by Susan Page Davis. Jayne Barncastle has earned her MBA in marketing and has a job offer in Boston. But when she visits her parents she learns they’re hoping to retire in the New Year and sell the inn—if she doesn’t take over. Jayne has some big ideas, but will they work? Luke Gilbert’s wealthy in-laws want to rent the inn for a Christmas gathering, if Luke’s six-year-old son likes it. Luke agrees to take Andy up to visit for the weekend, but he doesn’t expect to be attracted to the pretty hostess. With her considering a big city job and the fate of the inn in his in-laws hands, things could go bad very quickly.

Christmas Duets by Lynette Sowell. Sean McSweeney has “kidnapped” Marcella Goudreau’s grandfather, destroying what Marcella perceived as a happy marriage. She invests her life’s savings into renting the inn for a week so her grandmother and grandfather can get back together. But when her grandfather brings Sean along, Marcella sees her plans for reuniting her grandparents dying. But Sean isn’t want he seems. Is there hope they might by able to save their grandparents’ marriage?

Where Your Heart Is by Janelle Mowery. Stephanie Minter is a nanny to two young children and she agrees to accompany the family to Barncastle Inn when they go for their Christmas vacation. But the last person she expects to see there is her former love, Matthew Raynor, at the inn. Matt has been hired as a set designer at the Inn. He’s not overly thrilled to see Stephanie there, and harbors a lot of hurt over their breakup. Is there any hope that the two of them will get beyond their past and find a future?

First Christmas by Darlene Franklin. Waverly Coe is an unwed mother, working as an assistant to veterinarian Alex Ross. When the Barncastle Inn is rented out for a rendition for the first Christmas, Alex and Waverly work together to care for the live animals at the manager scene. With both of them facing difficult circumstances, will they find their way clear for love?

Christmas at Barncastle Inn is a four-in-one collection with a unique twist. Set at Barncastle Inn, in Maine, the stories’ themed holiday vacations include a live nativity, knights, pirates, and more, where four couples find romance. This is an excellent read, with three of the four stories completely engaging me. The characters are realistically developed with deeper perspectives and insight than typically found in novella collections. The stories are well plotted with interesting and engaging characters and situations that left me cheering for the couples.

These stories are easy to read in one sitting, making it ideal for the holidays when you don’t have tons of time to read. One of the better four-in-one romances I’ve read recently.

Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are home school graduates and are in college. Hilton, a breast cancer survivor, also writes devotionals and has been published in Zondervan compilations. A business graduate of Ozarka College and a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, she has over a thousand book reviews published at various online sites. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Laura V. Hilton, author of Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past, Treble Heart Books. The first novel in her Amish of Seymour series, Patchwork Dreams, Whitaker House, released in April 2011. Book two, A Harvest of Hearts released in September 2011, and book three, Promised to Another, releases in April 2012.

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