Published September 25th 2018 by Zebra (Kensington)
A Simple Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard is the third book in the Simple Gifts series. This is the first one I read and had no trouble loving this story without reading the first two. Nora Hooley’s shop, Simple Gifts, is full of beautiful handcrafted Amish items including wreaths made by Rosalyn Riehl. Rosalyn works in the shop part-time, happy to escape from her miserable father. Rosalyn is the last unmarried daughter of clockmaker, Cornelius Riehl. There is suddenly a problem with money in the house, past due notices, bills not being paid and no money for groceries. Cornelius has been having problems since the death of his wife and he expects Rosalyn to take care of him. When Marcus Hooley, a horse trainer, shows up at the shop when he arrives in town, Rosalyn has feelings for this rude and handsome young man. He has been hired to work for Wyatt McKenzie. He was recommend by his cousins, but Marcus’ wild ways have gotten him fired from his last three jobs. He is hoping he will get a chance to show what he can do, but does not want to get too involved in the Plain life. Wyatt hires Marcus with certain conditions. This is Marcus’ last chance and he knows it. As he makes himself comfortable in Willow Ridge, Marcus becomes attracted to Rosalyn. There are secrets being kept about something her father has done and is supposed to confess, but his confession does not happen. He becomes more abusive to Rosalyn and is not happy when he realizes there is an attraction between Marcus and his daughter. Marcus has questions about what Cornelius is doing, and he wants to find out so he can share it with Rosalyn.
A Simple Christmas is a lovely, heartwarming Christmas and Amish story. It is an engaging novel that captured my attention from the start. It was well paced and I read it in one day. There are several twists involving Cornelius and I was eager to find out what secrets he has been keeping. I did not like Cornelius and I could not even pity him once his secrets finally came out. Rosalyn is a caring woman with a good heart, who finds it difficult to not be the dutiful daughter she has been taught to be all her life. Marcus was a wonderful character and it was great to see his growth as the story evolved. I enjoyed the setting of Willow Creek. The Amish businesses, the tourists, family and friends all make it seem like a great place to live, Amish and Englisch. One of the main Christian themes of putting our worries in God’s hands and trusting Him to handle it, is central to the story. I enjoyed A Simple Christmas and will definitely go back and read the first two in this series. The publisher, Kensington Books, generously provided me with a copy of this book. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.