Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review Friday - Christmas Stranger

Here's my review for "Christmas Stranger" by Marion Kelley Bullock. It's also posted on Ezines, & Go Articles.

Written by: Marion Kelley Bullock
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-936000-46-3
Ebook format
4 Stars

Bullock pens a sweet, inspirational, American historical romance with “Christmas Stranger.” Rich in setting, this story of a Missouri postmistress is one that captures the spirit of Christmas and reminds us today why Christmas is so important.

The story takes place in 19th Century America and opens with a fierce snowstorm engulfing the small town of Primrose, Missouri. Melinda Jane Frazier is the postmistress of the town and lives alone. Her father, who she had cared for, has just recently died. In the howling winter wind, she hears a knock. Answering the door with a gun in her hand, she discovers a wanderer named Zeke, and his son, Timothy, needing shelter. Melinda takes them in. When the storm dies down, a grateful Zeke offers to help Melinda around the farm. Zeke goes to live in the lean-to next to the home. Timothy, who is seven, also settles in, helping his Pa do chores. Since Christmas is around the corner, Zeke and Timothy stay with Melinda during the holidays. Timothy makes new friends in Primrose, and Zeke grows to admire Melinda. After the holidays, Zeke, unnerved by the growing intensity of his feelings for Melinda, turns back to his wandering ways and leaves. Only time will tell if Zeke can find his way back to Melinda.

Bullock’s style is easy to read and keeps the reader engaged. Her descriptions are vivid and rich in detail, from the setting to the smells in the kitchen, helping to capture the authencity of the story. Her dialogue and character accents are well done and gives the reader a feel for the times.

Zeke and Melinda are well developed characters and the reader can easily understand their motivations. Zeke is an honest man at heart, but has to reconcile his need for wandering with a desire for a family. In that regard, Melinda offers him her father’s Bible, so he can draw inspiration from it. Not prone to read the Bible, after Zeke has a disturbing encounter with a farmer’s daughter, he goes to it to help draw strength for the decision he has to make.

Melinda is loyal, hardworking and honest, traits to be admired in a historical American character. Melinda’s desire for a family is one many can connect with. The supporting cast is also well rounded and fun to read about.

“Christmas Stranger” is “sweet” for romance readers with Zeke and Melinda exchanging longing glances and a gentle kiss. Overall, “Christmas Stranger” is a tender, inspirational read that will warm the reader’s heart.

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