Monday, May 18, 2015

"A Christmas Promise" (Second Chance Brides) by Wendy Lindstrom

A CHRISTMAS PROMISE is the SWEET edition of Sleigh of Hope 

Two Young Sweethearts Discover the True Meaning of Love 

When Adam Grayson and his sweetheart Rebecca discover two orphans hiding in his sister’s greenhouse, they promise to help the boys find a warm, loving home. Adam never suspects that home might be his own. Being an only son is not a position he wants to give up, but in trying to protect his place as an only son, will Adam lose what he wants most—to win Rebecca’s heart and become a man of integrity like his father and uncles?

Genre: Historical Romance (Sweet Edition)
My Review:
A Christmas Promise is a quick easy-read novella that is the "sweet" edition of Sleigh of Hope by Wendy Lindstrom. It's primary focus is on Adam, the adopted son of Duke Grayson.  Adam is a sweet boy who has settled in with his new family as Duke's son. He struggles with jealousy and fear of losing the hold on his family when new orphans come to town. I enjoyed seeing the struggles that Adam faces with jealousy and guilt - afraid to lose his family but feeling terrible for not wanting the new kids to live with him. The feelings Adam experiences are real feelings of losing a person's place in their family and with their parents - trying to forge their unique identity in their world. It is really refreshing to watch as he struggles to figure out how to do the right thing while trying not to lose what's important to him.
This story also shows how a small town can come together to support their own - from rebuilding a home that burnt down, to delivering wood to families who couldn't heat their houses, and to providing food for those who were hungry. Adam sees the needs in his neighbors, and feeling guilty that he didn't help Leo in the best way possible, turns that into an opportunity to help many people. Adam draws on his experiences of being hungry and and his feelings of being alone to determine how to help his neighbors in Fredonia, and ultimately uses that experience to draw Leo into a closer relationship.
I love that Adam is already in love with Rebecca and has decided that he'll marry her. That confidence in his feelings and his future isn't often seen in modern day men and is a refreshing look at how love can be so simple when the complications of life and adulthood can be removed. That said, the author has created children who are as wonderfully-complex, caring, and loving as the adults that support and love them. If children today had even a small amount of the fortitude, honor, and drive that Adam, Rebecca, Leo, and the rest of Fredonia have, our world would be a much better place. 
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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About the Author:
I was born and raised in upstate New York. My seven siblings and I were as wild and untended as the land around us, nurtured by the rich, black earth and warm sunshine. We swam in a shallow creek and made forts in the corn field where I would lie beneath the enormous blue sky and imagine epic adventures.

Alone I would haunt the forest, sharing my stories with the trees. I would press my face against their bark to feel their energy; a deeply furrowed oak, a scaly pine, a smooth beech, all welcoming my skinny arms and childish cheek. Thirty feet in the air, I would perch on their limbs, feeling safe beneath their leafy canopy. There I would become the heroine of the stories I imagined. There I began my life as a writer.

My first attempt at storytelling was in English comp class at SUNY University at Fredonia. My professor, Melinda Wendell, told me I had a voice for storytelling and that she hoped to see my work in a bookstore one day. (Thank you, Professor Wendell!) I never finished that particular story, but in the messy, handwritten pages of my journal an idea began to form. While researching, I came across a Civil War memoir by George K. Collins and I knew I’d found the premise for my first book Shades of Honor.

My award-winning Grayson Brothers series set in 19th Century Fredonia echoes the sounds and smells of my childhood. Like me, my characters are driven to understand what it means to be alive to each experience and fully embrace the unknown.

While writing books three and four of my Grayson Brothers series I spiraled into chronic fatigue syndrome. Although I dabbled with a few projects during that time, I didn’t have the energy or focus to write a book. Like all adventures, there comes a moment when a person must embrace the unknown and leap! I took up tai chi to get myself moving again. I started kickboxing a few months later and eventually began taking karate. I’m happy to say that I have since earned an Green Belt in A.K.T. Combatives and have returned to vibrant health. Most importantly, I published SLEIGH OF HOPE and LEAVE IT FOR THE RAIN, books 5 and 6 in the Grayson Brothers series. More books in the Grayson Brothers series, and also in my new Crane Landing series, are in the works.


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