By Melody Carlson
Revell - September 2013
Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish.
Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.
Melody Carlson can be counted on to deliver entertaining and inspirational Christmas reads, and this year's release is no exception. Her newest novella, A Simple Christmas Wish (Revell), combines an Amish family saga with the anticipation of Christmas cheer and the promise of a budding romance in this novella that I enjoyed very much.
With the normal novella, we expect a short, sweet story with little depth, but Melody delivers much more here. Relationships are explored - the relationship between Rachel and her six-year-old niece, Holly; the relationship between Holly and her new Amish family. English and Amish worlds meet, and we see a growing friendship, respect and love expressed. Melody also brings home the fact that while there is much to admire about the Amish lifestyle, certain parts of their rules or Ordnung seem legalistic and hard for someone who hasn't grown up Amish to accept - and that the lifestyle doesn't even suit everyone who has grown up in the faith.
I loved the spiritual lessons Rachel struggled with as she learned to seek what was best for Holly rather than putting her own personal desires first. That's a hard lesson that most of us have surely faced at one time or another.
A Simple Christmas Wish is a story that captured my interest from the beginning and kept me eagerly turning pages to see how Rachel and Holly's situation would resolve. Although it could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel, the novella format still worked well. This is a feel-good book filled with the spirit of Christmas. Highly recommended.
Visit Melody's website at melodycarlson.com to learn more. Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
This book was provided by Revell in exchange for my honest review.