Dream a Little Dream by Ronie Kendig
Sean Wolfe has come back from Afghanistan a broken man. His past concerning his father Patrick's suicide haunts him as much as the TBI that leaves him with permanent mental scars. He has no one in the world but his devoted aunt, until a chance meeting brings closure to his past, comfort to his present, and hope to his future.
Jamie Russo is the niece of Alan, former love of a woman named Gail, who is closing his antique shop after decades of business in Manhattan. Jamie grieves her uncle's decision both for the sake of his lost dream of finding Gail, and for the other loose ends it leaves. One of those loose ends, a packet of letters from the Wolfe family who were old friends of her uncle, becomes her mission. She has laid aside her dream of dancing, but finds purpose in caring for others. She seeks out the Wolfes, and finds Sean.
The letters draw Sean closer to healing from his haunted past, to solving a mystery about his aunt, and to finding a love he thought he would never experience. Written with grit as well as insight, this story interweaves with the other three stories, going back in time to the Civil War following a keepsake coin through four generations of romance, until the satisfying end.
A Love Meant to Be by Dineen Miller
This story features Gail and Alan during the era of the Vietnam War. Alan is Patrick Wolfe's best friend, and like a son to Patrick's father--perhaps moreso even than Patrick. The elder Wolfe gives Alan the family keepsake of a Civil War coin to pass along to the one he loves. When Alan proposes to Gail after a whirlwind romance in the city, including clandestine kisses on Bow Bridge, she promises to wait for him until he returns from the war. But will her former fiance lure her away with his money and prestige, or will her heart remain faithful?
To Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Helen Wolfe is a brave young lady tasked with raising her younger brothers and sisters after her parents' untimely death. Though gifted to sing like a songbird, she must leave that dream behind to put food in their mouths. Her former intended, a rising singer, scorns her practicality, drawn to the big city lights and theater fame. He wants nothing to do with her life of drudgery and responsibility.
Helen comes to a painful decision to part with a family heirloom coin in exchange for food. At the pawn shop she meets Bernie O'Day, a kind and large-hearted man who gives her more than the coin is worth. He also employs her brother to help out. Their lives intertwine as a spark of love forms. . .they spend a Christmas together where Bernie plays Santa Claus to the younger Wolfes, and his heroism shines in contrast to Helen's former intended, who only esteems all that glitters. The attack on Pearl Harbor spurs Bernie to join the war effort, and the love story hangs in limbo from there.
Beauty from Ashes by MaryLu Tyndall
William Wolfe is a wounded officer engaged to Annie Shaw, a southern belle living on a plantation in Virginia. Little does he know that Annie's letters throughout the war were actually penned by her sister Permelia. When he returns to collect his bride, he has assurances from the genteel letters that she won't mind his dramatic facial scar. In person, Annie proves superficial and unfaithful. Will William's broken heart lead him away from true happiness with the real authoress of his love letters? Will the coin he gave Annie speak to Permelia that True Love Never Fails?
The picturesque Bow Bridge in Manhattan's Central Park draws these couples through time to finding true love, often amid the downy snowfalls of a New York Christmas or New Years.
This was my first time reading Dineen Miller and Ronie Kendig, and I was pleasantly surprised. I have enjoyed Kim Sawyer's work and consider myself a big fan of MaryLu Tyndall, so I knew I couldn't go wrong with this four-in-one. And the fact that one of the stories was set in the Civil War had me invested.
Loved the concept of romances revolving around a family keepsake coin and rendezvous at Bow Bridge in Central Park. I grew up taking trips into NYC where my grandfather was a superintendent of a building on Central Park West. Ronie's and Dineen's novellas had the most tangible sense of the city out of the four stories, and I enjoyed revisiting it through their depictions.
I adored the WWII story, and wished I could have closure on the chivalrous Irish soldier coming back from war for his sweetheart. This story of a sister struggling with her faith and to provide for her siblings moved me deeply--Sawyer's handling of deep emotions felt genuine and sincere. Each character reflected redemptive aspects of honor and sacrifice, selflessness and faith. And her humble, kind hero is among the most admirable I've ever read.
The modern romance by Ronie Kendig involving a hero with Traumatic Brain Injury returned from war captured my heart. Her writing was fresh and heartfelt, and the conflict of the heroine and hero to pursue their true dreams made for a lovely story full of hope and heart.
Dineen Miller's Vietnam era romance had gritty and bittersweet moments. I admired the depth with which the author writes, exploring themes such as PTSD, Post partum depression, and even betrayal. It was interesting how one author would add to the other's work and intertwine story threads.
MaryLu Tyndall writes about sisters in a love triangle. Unique storyline with a wounded hero who thinks he's in love with one woman, only to discover that his true North is the other. This story was a page-turner, written as only MaryLu Tyndall can write.
Nothing is as charming as a New York Christmas. I'm so delighted to share these romantic stories of faith and connection with you this week. Today I am offering a gently read copy of this collection to one lucky commenter.
Answer this question: Is there a special hand-me-down gift in your family? Extra entries can be earned by sharing on fb, twitter, google+ and pinterest, and by following this blog. Winners drawn Friday, Nov 22 at 8 PM eastern. Good luck!