Title: MONTANA SKY CHRISTMAS: A Sweetwater Springs Short Story Collection
Series: Montana Sky #3.1
Author: Debra Holland
Narrator: Lara Asmundson
Format: Unabridged Audiobook, 4 Hours and 23 Minutes
Published: December 21, 2015 (Debra Holland)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
These holiday stories are about various kinds of Christmas love--the romance between a man and a woman, the devotion of a husband to his wife's memory, and the love of a child for her goose. You'll read about familiar characters from Sweetwater Springs and come to know new ones--many of whom you'll see again in future Montana Sky Series books and novellas.
A Sweet and Heartwarming Collection of Yuletide tales set in Debra's Sweetwater Springs, Montana
MONTANA SKY CHRISTMAS by Debra Holland is a delightful collection of clean and touching short stories set in the small town of Sweetwater Springs, Montana in 1894 at Christmastide. Even though these are short stories, they do not feel short or rushed. The characterizations are strong and compelling with lots of depth. Fans will be thrilled with this anthology, but the assorted stories each work well as stand-alones if you are new to Debra's historicals.
It was a joy to revisit the characters residing in and around Sweetwater Springs during the Christmas season. If you are not feeling the Christmas spirit when you start these stories, you certainly will be! I can see myself listening to these again and again for the warm fuzzies feel they render.
Following please find a very brief description and a favorite quote from some but not all - of the endearing stories in this bundle:
RED STOCKINGS FOR CHRISTMAS
• The heartwarming story of a mix-up that evolved to much more. Louisa Cannon thought that Red Macalister wanted to take knitting classes from her...
"The Christmas I was sixteen, my ma and I were poorer than church mice. My pa died when I was two, taking her heart with him." A smile curved his lips. "She could have remarried for a more comfortable life. But she couldn't bring herself to do it. We were happy, though, her and I. Just when I was getting old enough to do odd jobs, bring in some money to make her life easier, she got sick. I stayed home to nurse her. She had no strength left. But somehow she'd scraped together the last of her red yarn and made me a pair of stockings. My Christmas gift that year."
Sensing his thoughts lingered in the past, Louisa brushed a finger over the scrap in her palm.
"She died several weeks later."
Louise caught her breath, aching for the pain of that young man.
"I took a lot of ribbing for wearing red stockings. But I didn't give them up, even when I could afford to. I felt like they kept my ma close. Like she was with me."
Tears welled up in Louisa's eyes. One dripped over.
He caught the drop on the tip of his finger. "They brought me luck."
"That's why you're called Red. I wondered."
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
• Reliving Abe's memories of his wife and children who have passed brought tears to my eyes.
Abe picked up a shiny silver star, now a bit tarnished, the symbol of a happier time. The year after their daughter's death came the joy of a a newborn son,. Jeremy just squeaked into life the day before the holiday. The star was Abe's gift to his wife that Christmas. He smiled as he hung it on a branch.
KAYLEIGH'S CHRISTMAS GOOSE
• Kayleigh's story was exciting and treacherous as she strove to save Prince, her cherished pet goose, from her own family's Christmas table.
Who would have thought God would send a bad man and a sheriff just to save Prince?
A SHERIFF FOR CHRISTMAS
• I finally found out how the town of Sweetwater Springs hired a female sheriff! I'd been dying for this story and it does not disappoint!
"I'll get right to the point," Mr. Carter said. "For the last year, we've been searching for a sheriff for our town." He grimaced. "Wouldn't have thought finding one would be so difficult."...
"She hasn't said yes," Carter commented. He slanted her an inquiring glance. "Well, K.C. Granger. Will you have us?"
At the marriage-vow-sounding question, K.C. felt a smile play around her lips, perhaps the first one since Charles' murder. In keeping with the formality of his question, and because a little imp of humor prompted her, she said, "I do."
• OMG! Pepe's story will pull at your heartstrings with a huge tug. He loves Lucia, but doesn't have anything to offer her. I've wanted Pepe to have his own HEA since I first met him in Debra's books so this tale was a special treat.
Pepe absently thought, happy beyond words that he was actually holding hands with Lucia.
Passing a stall with a particularly pungent odor of manure made Pepe falter, realizing a barn wasn't the most romantic place to propose. Then he remembered the Savior born on this very night so long ago, and he figured if God could choose a stable for such an important miracle, he could too.
A CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
• Marta was in a new unfamiliar land. She had no friends and struggled with our language. Then, a Christmas pageant performs its own miracle.
She allowed herself to relax and enjoy the wave of applause breaking over them. Marta glanced at her mother, who had tears running down her face, but her smile was the happy one Marta hadn't seen in a long time. She no longer looked drawn and sad, but the pretty Mutti her Vati had adored.
A hand brushed her head. But when she turned to look, no one stood close to that side of her. But she caught a whiff of a familiar scent, cigars- and-Vati smell, and knew in her heart her father had come to listen to her sing.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Lara Asmundson's performance of each of the stories. Her voice is pleasant and clear and she skillfully differentiates between the characters. Her inflections are faultless and both her female and male voices sound realistic. I always thoroughly enjoy listening to her professional narrations and this wondrous set of tales is no exception.
As an avowed fan of Debra's books, I found each of these up-close-and-personal tales of the town's characters whom I've grown to think of as dear friends to be captivating and highly entertaining. After I finished each of them, I had the feeling of walking on clouds with a happy heart and a satisfied smile. If you love Debra's Sweetwater Springs tales, these should be a must-read! I highly recommend MONTANA SKY CHRISTMAS to anyone who delights in sweet Christmas stories. These are guaranteed to warm your heart!
Suggested Reading Order:
Sweet historical Western Romance
Beneath Montana’s Sky
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Trudy
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Lina
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Darcy
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Prudence
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Bertha
Grace: Bride of Montana
Wild Montana Sky
Starry Montana Sky
Stormy Montana Sky
Montana Sky Christmas
A Valentine’s Choice
Irish Blessing (coming soon)
Painted Montana Sky
Glorious Montana Sky
Healing Montana Sky
Sweetwater Springs Scrooge
Sweetwater Springs Christmas
Mystic Montana Sky
Angel in Paradise