My Valentine: Also Includes Bonus Story of Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity

My Valentine: Also Includes Bonus Story of Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity

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Overview

My Valentine: Also Includes Bonus Story of Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity by Tracie Peterson, Sally Laity

Enjoy two touching historical romances set in 1800s New York City. When Pierce and Darlene meet in her father’s tailor shop, their lives are on very different paths. But neither can forget the other. Also includes the bonus story, Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laiity, in which two orphans restore a woman’s capacity to love.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634099417
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 412,486
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tracie Peterson, bestselling, award-winning author of over ninety fiction titles and three non-fiction books, lives and writes in Belgrade, Montana. As a Christian, wife, mother, writer, editor and speaker (in that order), Tracie finds her slate quite full.



Published in magazines and Sunday school take home papers, as well as a columnist for a Christian newspaper, Tracie now focuses her attention on novels. After signing her first contract with Barbour Publishing in 1992, her novel, A Place To Belong, appeared in 1993 and the rest is history. She has over twenty-six titles with Heartsong Presents’ book club (many of which have been repackaged) and stories in six separate anthologies from Barbour. From Bethany House Publishing, Tracie has multiple historical three-book series as well as many stand-alone contemporary women’s fiction stories and two non-fiction titles. Other titles include two historical series co-written with Judith Pella, one historical series co-written with James Scott Bell, and multiple historical series co-written with Judith Miller.

Sally Laity has written both contemporary and historical novels, many of which have appeared on ECPA bestseller lists. She is a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and has placed in the Inspirational Readers’ Choice contest.  Along with numerous romances and novellas for Barbour Publishing, she also coauthored with Dianna Crawford a three-book historical series for Barbour and a six-book series on the Revolutionary War for Tyndale House. She considers it a joy that the Lord can touch hearts through her stories. Her favorite pastimes include oil painting, quilting for her church’s Prayer Quilt Ministry, and scrapbooking. She makes her home in beautiful central California with her husband of over fifty years, and loves that their four married children have made her a grandma and a great-grandma. Sally can be contacted at sallymlaity@gmail.com. You can also write to Sally at P.O. Box 1855, Tehachapi, CA 93581.
 

Read an Excerpt

My Valentine

Includes Bonus Story of Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity


By Tracie Peterson

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 1997 Tracie J. Peterson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-68322-150-0


CHAPTER 1

January, 1835

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. Deuteronomy 6:4


Darlene Lewy hurried to pull on warm woolen petticoats.

It was a frosty January morning and living so close to the harbor waters of New York City, the Lewy house always seemed to be in a state of perpetual cold. Shivering and slipping a dark blue work dress over her head, Darlene could hear her father in his ritual of morning prayers.

"Shema Israel, Adonai eloheinu Adonai echad," he recited the Hebrew in his heavy German accent.

Darlene embraced the words to her heart. "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." She smiled. For all of her years on earth she had awakened each morning to the sound of her father's faithful prayers.

Humming to herself, Darlene sat down at her dressing table. Taking up a hairbrush she gave her thick, curly tresses a much- needed brushing, then quickly braided and pinned it into a snug, neat bun on the top of her head. She eyed herself critically in the mirror for any escaping hairs. Dark brown eyes stared back at her from beneath shapely black brows. She was no great beauty, at least not in the eyes of New York's very snobbish social circle. But then again, she wouldn't have been welcomed in that circle, even if she had been ravishingly beautiful and wealthy to boot. No, the upper crust of New York would never have taken Darlene Lewy into its numbers, because Darlene was a Jewess.

Deciding she made a presentable picture, Darlene hurriedly made her bed and went to the kitchen to stoke up the fire and prepare breakfast. Her kitchen was a sorry little affair, but it served them well. Had her mother lived, perhaps they would have had a nicer house, instead of sharing the three-story building with her father's tailoring shop and sewing rooms. But, had her mother and little brother survived childbirth, fifteen years earlier, Darlene had little doubt they'd still be living in Germany instead of America.

"Neshomeleh," Abraham Lewy said, coming into the room.

Darlene could not remember a time when he had not greeted her with the precious endearment, "my little soul." "Good morning, Tateh, did you sleep well?" She gave him a kiss on his leathery cheek and pulled out a chair for him to sit on.

"It is well with me, and you?"

Darlene laughed. "I'm chilled to the bone, but not to worry. I've stoked up the fire and no doubt by the time we get downstairs to the shop, Hayyim will have the stove fires blazing and ready for the day." Hayyim, her father's assistant, was a local boy of seventeen who had pleaded to learn the tailoring business. And, since Abraham had no sons to carry on his tradition of exquisitely crafted suits, he had quickly taken Hayyim under his wing. Darlene knew that the fact Hayyim's father and mother had died in a recent cholera epidemic had much to do with her father's decision, but in truth, she saw it as an answer to prayer. Her father wasn't getting any younger, and of late he seemed quite frail and sickly.

Darlene brought porridge and bread to the table and waited while her father recited the blessing for bread before dishing up their portions.

"Baruch ata Adonai eloheinu melech ha-olem ha-motzi lechem min ha-Aretz." "Praise be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth." Abraham pulled off a chunk of bread while Darlene spooned cereal into their bowls.

"There will be little time for rest today. Our appointments are many and the work most extensive," he told her.

"I'll take care of all of the bookwork," she answered as if he didn't already know this. "I've also got Mr. Mitchell's waistcoat buttons to finish putting on. Is he coming today?"

"No, he'll come tomorrow. I told him we must have a week to finish and a week we will have."

Darlene smiled. "Eat, Tateh." The Yiddish word had never been replaced by Papa as she heard many of her neighboring friends call their fathers.

Abraham gave his attention to the food, while Darlene watched him for any telltale signs of sickness. The winter had been hard on her father and even though he'd stayed indoors except for trips to the synagogue on Shabbes, "Sabbath" as her American friends would say, Darlene worried that the grippe or cholera or some other hideous disease would take him from her.

"You should hire another boy to help you with the work. There's no reason why you should work yourself into the ground," Darlene chided. She had taken on the role of worrier since her mother's death and even though she was only five at the time, Abraham said she filled the role quite adequately.

"Oyb Gott vilt — if God wills," Abraham answered and continued eating. It was his standard response to subjects he didn't wish to continue discussing.

Darlene gave the hint of an unsatisfied snort before clearing her dishes to the sink and returning for her father's. He was a stubborn man, but she loved him more dearly than life itself. She tried not to notice that his hair was now completely white, as was his beard and eyebrows. She tried, too, not to see that his coat hung a little looser around his shoulders and that his complexion had grown sallow. Time was taking its toll on Abraham Lewy.

With breakfast behind them, Darlene hurried to tidy the kitchen. Her father had already gone downstairs to begin his workday and she didn't wish to lag behind and leave him alone. For reasons entirely beyond her understanding, Darlene felt compelled to watch over her father with a jealous regard. Maybe it was just concern over his winter illnesses. Maybe it was the tiniest flicker of fear down deep inside which made her question what might happen if her father died. She had no one else. Even Bubbe, her father's mother, had passed on years ago. If Abraham were to die as well, there would be no one for Darlene to turn to.

Changing her kitchen apron for the one she wore in the shop, Darlene made her way down the rickety wooden stairs. She would not allow her mind to wander into areas of morbidity. She would also say nothing to her father. He would only begin suggesting the names of local men who might make good husbands and Darlene refused to hear anything about such nonsense. She would never leave her beloved Tateh.

"Good morning," Hayyim said with a nod as Darlene passed by.

"Good morning." Her words were rather curt given the fact that her mind was still on the distasteful idea of marriage. Hayyim, three years her junior, was very much taken with her, and looked at her with such longing that it made Darlene uncomfortable. He was a child as far as she was concerned and his feelings were nothing more than a crush. She could only pray that God would forbid such a union.

She was nearly to the front counter when the door bells jingled merrily and two men entered the shop. Their warm breath puffed out against the accompanying cold air and Darlene couldn't help but shiver from the draft.

Dennison Blackwell, followed by his son, Pierce, entered Lewy & Company, stomping their feet at the door. A light snow had started to fall and the evidence left itself on the doormat.

Abraham stepped forward to greet them. "Welcome," he said, his w's sounding like v's. "It is fit only for sitting by the fire, no?"

"Indeed you are right," Dennison Blackwell said, shaking off little flakes of snow from his coat lapel. "It's only just now begun to snow, but the air is cold enough to freeze you to the carriage seats."

"And your driver?" Abraham said, looking past Pierce and out the window. "Would he not want to sit in the kitchen and warm up by the stove?"

"That's kind of you, but we won't be terribly long and Jimson doesn't mind the cold. He's from the north and actually embraces this weather."

Abraham smiled. "Then God did have a purpose for such things."

Dennison laughed. "Yes, I suppose He did at that."

Darlene watched the exchange with little interest. What had captured her attention, however, was the tall, broad-shouldered form of the younger Mr. Blackwell. She stole glances at him from over the ledger counter and nearly blushed to her toes when he looked up and met her stare with a wink and a smile.

"Oy," she muttered under her breath and hurried to lower her eyes back to her work.

"It seems," Dennison was saying, "that both Pierce and I will be required to attend the annual Valentine's ball."

"Ah, this is the auction where bachelors are sold to their dates, no?" Abraham said in a lowered voice that suggested the entire affair was a bit risque. "Such doings!"

"True enough. Pierce has been abroad for some time and now finds that his wardrobe could use a bit of updating. We'll start with a suit for the ball and he can come back later to arrange for other things."

Pierce smiled. "My father highly praises your work. I was going to journey to London and have my suits made there, but perhaps I won't have to travel so far after all."

"Certainly you won't," Abraham said with complete confidence. "We do much better work here. You will be more than happy, I think."

Taking their outer coats, Abraham motioned them into the back room where he and Hayyim would take measurements and suggest materials. Darlene couldn't help but watch the trio as they passed through the curtained doorway. Pierce Blackwell's dark eyes had penetrated her strong facade of indifference and it shook her to the very core of her existence. How could one man affect her in that way? Especially one Gentile man.

She busied herself with the ledger, but her curiosity was getting the better of her. Not knowing what they were talking about was most maddening. If she dusted the shelves near the back room entrance, perhaps she would be able to overhear their conversation. Taking up a dusting rag, she moved methodically through the small room.

"I suppose the easiest way to explain it," Dennison Blackwell said, "is that we, too, serve one God, but one God with three very distinctive portions."

Darlene's hand stopped dusting. What in the world is going on?

Dennison continued. "We Christians believe in one God, just as you of the Jewish faith believe. However, we believe from scripture that God has made Himself available to His children in three different ways. He is God our judge, God our Savior, and God our spiritual leader and consolation. Thus we say, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It's like an apple. You have the core of the fruit where the seeds lay in wait. Next you have the sweet meat of the fruit itself and finally the tough, durable skin which covers over all. One apple, yet three parts."

Darlene nearly dropped her cloth. What kind of meshugge "crazy" talk was this? God and apples? Did the Gentiles worship fruit or was that all that existed between their ears for brains? The very idea of comparing God to an apple outraged her. She dusted furiously at the door's edge without seeing her work. Instead, she concentrated on the curtain which separated her from the men.

"Hold up your arm, Mr. Blackwell," her father said authoritatively.

"Please, call me Pierce. My father says you two have become good friends. I'd be honored to consider you the same."

"The honor is mine. Your father is a good man."

Silence seemed to hold the room captive for several minutes and Darlene found herself breathing a sigh of relief. Good, she thought, Tateh won't allow for such blasphemy to continue in his shop. She was about to turn away when her father's voice caused her to stop.

"So the misunderstanding is that we Jews believe you have taken other gods, while you are telling this old man that there is but one God and you serve Him alone?"

"Correct," Dennison answered and Darlene felt a strange sinking in her heart.

"I remember when I came to America, Reb Lemuel, our rabbi in the old country admonished me to remember the Word of God in Deuteronomy." Abraham began to recite, "'And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which though diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which though plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, the gods of the people which are round about you.'"

Good for Tateh, Darlene thought as Abraham's recitation ended. He would never fail to tell the truth before man and God.

"There. That should do for you," Abraham said. Darlene could hear the rattling of items and longed to know what was happening. Her father continued, "Perhaps the scriptures speak not of New York City, but the heart of the matter is still intact, no?"

"I agree," Dennison replied. "And were our God a different one from yours, I would be inclined to agree. But honestly, Abraham, we serve the same God."

Darlene was nearly knocked to the ground by Pierce Blackwell's solid frame coming through the curtain. Gasping, she was stunned by his firm hold on her arm and the look of amusement in his eyes.

"Weren't we talking loud enough for you?" He grinned broadly and released her to stand on her own.

"Shhh," she insisted with a finger to her lips. She moved quickly from the curtain, irritated with both herself for getting caught, and Mr. Pierce Blackwell for doing the catching.

Pierce followed her back to the ledger counter. "I'm certain they would include you in the conversation if you but asked. Would you like to know more about what they were discussing?"

"Leave me be," she said and turned her attention to a column of numbers. She would try for the fourth time to figure out why the column didn't add up to match the one on the opposite page.

Pierce would not leave her be however. In fact, he made it his particular duty to keep at her for an answer. "I'm serious. My father and your father have been discussing the Christian faith for some time now. They contrast the differences between Jews and Christians and reason together the similarities. I'd be happy to enlighten you ..."

"I won't hear such blasphemy!" Darlene interrupted. "I won't be meshummad to my people."

"Meshummad?"

"A traitor," she replied harshly. "Now, please leave me alone. I have work to do and you mustn't interrupt me again or I shall never find my mistake."

Pierce glanced down at the column of figures. "It's there in the third column. You have a six and it should be an eight."

She looked up at him with wonder written in her expression. His stern expression was softened by a gentle smile. "I don't believe you." She quickly added the numbers and realized he was right. "How did you do that? There are more than fifteen numbers there. How can you just look down at my paper and instantly see that?"

Pierce shrugged. "I've always been able to do that. I guess I'm just good with figures."

"I suppose that would be an understatement," she said, still not allowing herself to really believe him. She tore a piece of brown paper from its roll and jotted down a row of numbers. "Do it again."

Pierce looked at the paper for only a moment. "Three hundred twenty-four."

Darlene turned the paper back around and used a stubby pencil to add up the column. "Three hundred twenty-four," she muttered. She looked up at him with real admiration, momentarily forgetting that she disagreed with his theology. "I must say, that is most impressive."

Pierce gave a tight, brief bow. "So does that mean you aren't mad at me anymore?"

Darlene slammed the book shut. "I'm not mad. Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do." She hurried across the room and made a pretense of rerolling a bolt of discarded remnant cloth.

"Well, if we can't discuss religion," Pierce said, following her doggedly across the shop, "perhaps we could speak of something else."

"There is nothing to discuss." She finished with the bolt and took up her sewing basket. "I have work to do."

"That's the third time you've said that," he mused.

She glared at him. "It's true."

"I suppose it is, but does it preclude us having a simple conversation?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from My Valentine by Tracie Peterson. Copyright © 1997 Tracie J. Peterson. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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My Valentine: Also Includes Bonus Story of Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
Two books in one - what more could you ask - these two books make you want to cuddle up with the book and a cup of hot chocolate in the front window - sit in the sun - wrap a blanket around you - and sit and read all day - because you do not want to put this book down - My Valentine is beautifully cautious with the handling of the discussions between Darlene's Dad and Pierce regarding Judaism and Christianity - and she does it with such clarity and non sermon like preaching to the masses. Pierce is dashing and debonair and rich and Darlene is the total opposite - they are a dichotomy, but with that dichotomy they are attracted to each other underneath - Darlene is a little put off by the fact that Pierce is talking to her father about Christianity. Darlene and her father came over from Germany to America. What happens well, let me tell you ------ nah - you have to get it to find out - it is so worth the read. and........you get a second book.......................................................... Little Shoes and Mistletoe and this book is about redemption, Christian living, forgiveness, and trust of the LORD. This is about Eliza who had her heart torn out and broken into pieces - moves to be with her Aunt who has a tea parlor and gift shop and gives money to the orphans - she has a person to take care of the orphans named Micah - who reminds Eliza of the man who stomped on her heart and it is hard for her not to like him - but not trust him either - Eliza has to learn how to help in the gift shop in order to give her keep. Now - will Eliza be able to trust again - will she be able to forgive the other man? Will she trust JESUS to heal her heart? This book was so very well written - this author did a great job. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
What are the differences that separate the beliefs of Jews and Christians? Does the Bible warn not to be unequally yoked and if so, does that apply to Jews and Christians? My Valentine by Tracie Peterson is a heartwarming regency romance between Darlene Lewy, raised a Jew her entire life that lives with her father Abraham and Pierce Blackwell, a Christian young man who has recently arrived in New York with his father. At the height of the season, Pierce comes to Lewy and Company with his father to get some suits made in time for the Valentine's Day ball. In order to expedite things in acquiring what he needs over trying to find suitable attire somewhere else, he is enchanted when he meets with Darlene who is trying to figure out just why her father and Dennison Blackwell are having discussions over the differences in their religious faiths. Darlene is concerned because if Abraham leaves his faith as a Jew, the entire Jewish community will ostracize them and stop doing business with them. It will also impact her future as well in the community, not that someone like the Blackwell would have any romantic interest in her as suitable match. The one thing Darlene didn't expect is that she would be caught overhearing their conversation and find herself trying to explain things to Pierce. Pierce's Aunt has just the right girl in mind for Pierce from just the right family and when she arranges to have them meet at a Bachelor's auction, the only girl he can't get off his mind is Darlene. Even he knows however that unless she is a Christian, there will never be any hope for anything more than a business relationship between them. But will the changes Darlene sees in her father, cause her to consider that perhaps Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised to come by the Jewish people after all? I received My Valentine by Tracie Peterson compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley. I absolutely loved seeing the various differences between the Jews and Christians in regards to their religious rituals and how they interpret the Bible. I love how the Blackwells are invited to participate in the Passover meal and how they are so impressed by how the Lewy's remember the blessings of God saving his people during Passover. In addition to this novel, readers are also treated to a bonus book, Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity inside. This is the story of Eliza Criswell that moves in with her Aunt Phoebe at Harper House after her fiancè Weston runs off with her best friend. She just doesn't expect to fall for someone who looks identical to him while working for her Aunt! Both books earn an equal 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.
jensenh98 More than 1 year ago
Rating 5 out of 5 stars. Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. My Valentine: Beautiful Darlene Lewey lives in New York City in 1835. She lives with her father Abraham above his tailoring shop. They are Jewish. Handsome & intelligent Pierce Blackwell is a young man who came in to have a suit made for a Valentine’s Ball. Pierce just returned from a trip to London & Paris. Darlene & Pierce both lost thier mother at a young age. Pierce is a land broker and owns properties in Chicago. Pierce attended the Valentine’s Dance and met Amanda a lady of high society there. Pierce sent Darlene a lovely lacy Valentine. Abraham her father is starting to question the Jewish faith and he is asking questions if Jesus is the messiah. He want to attend church with the Blackwells. Will Abraham get saved? Pierce asks Darlene & her father to move to chicago with him. Darlene seeks her fathers wisdom on his beliefs in Jesus. He is a Jew and yet still believes in Jesus. Pierce did some serious praying for Darlene. Will Darlene get saved as well? Darlene lives thru a fire that destroys her home and business. Darlene is taken in by the Blackwell family. Will Pierce’s sister Eugenia stand in the young couples way as she is jealous of Darlene coming into his life? 2. LITTLE SHOES AND MISTLETOE by Sarah Laity New York City 1898. Eliza Criswell lives with her Aunt Phoebe in a large victorian style house. Eliza has just come to live with and to take care of her Aunt. Her Aunt runs a small gift shop from her house. She donates her proceeds to charity. One day Micah Richmond stops at the shop. He’s a friend of Aunt Phoebe from church. Anabelle Dumont is the church pianist and is currently dating Micah. Micah has work taking in homeless children from off the streets to his shelter. Anabelle and Eliza go to the church quilting group each week. They donate quilts to the poor. One thursday Anabelle is sick and doesn’t make it to quilt group. Micah comes after the group and offers Eliza a ride. They go to deliver the quilts to the poor familys. Aunt Phoebe is feeling poorly after church. Dr. Jenson prescribes a week of rest for her. Micah stops by to see that she is doing ok and to visit with Eliza. Eliza is enjoying taking over the shop work in her Aunts absence. Micah struggles to find a new home for two orphans. Where will the children’s new home be? Who will Micah settle down with? The writer captures the beauty and elegance of this victorian period very well.#book #blog #traciepeterson #Sarah Laity
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
Two gentle romances set in 19th century New York City, reminiscent of the style of Grace Livingston Hill. The gentlemen and ladies in these well-written stories have noble character, integrity, and faith that moves them to act honorably. They are both tender tales that have strong spiritual themes. The first one has some interesting theological discussions among a Jewish family and a Christian one, overlapping their faiths. The time period of 1835 was unique, with a lot of cultural prejudice and class distinction, especially among the old NY elite. The second story takes place sixty plus years later when New York City was bursting at the seams, and poverty a growing problem. The main characters feel led to reach out to help children left on their own, putting their faith into action. Some good examples of how God works all things for good, and how He does not abandon His children. Recommend to readers who enjoy a tender historical Christian romance. (Both stories have been previously published.) (Book provided by NetGalley and the publisher. This is my unsolicited, honest, original review.)
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
My Valentine by Tracie Peterson is a Christian romance novel that also contains Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity. My Valentine starts in January 1835 in New York City. Darlene and her father, Abraham Lewy live and work in the Old Slip district (near the docks). Abraham has a fine tailoring shop that is patronized by Dennison and his son, Pierce Blackwell. Pierce has just returned to New York after being in Europe for the last three years (mostly to avoid his stuffy, snobbish Aunt Eugenia). Pierce and Darlene are instantly attracted to each, but Darlene knows there is no chance of romance between them. They are not only separated by social classes, but also by religion. Darlene is a Jewess and Pierce is a Christian. One day she happens to overhear her father and Dennison talking about religion. Dennison is explaining some aspects of Christianity to Abraham. When Darlene questions her father, he states he is seeking the truth. Abraham wants to make sure he has made the right choice. This is the start of trouble for the Lewy family with their neighbors (they live in a Jewish neighborhood). As Abraham learns more about Christianity, he shares it with Darlene. What choices will the Lewy’s make? Is there a chance of a future between Darlene and Pierce? Little Shoes and Mistletoe by Sally Laity is set in Manhattan in 1898. Eliza Grace Criswell has left her family home in Harrisburg to live with her Aunt Phoebe Harper in Harper House. Eliza was jilted by her fiancé, Weston Elliot. Eliza is hoping for a fresh start with her Aunt Phoebe. Phoebe introduces Eliza to Micah Richmond, a member of Faith Community Church. Micah bears an uncanny resemblance to Weston Elliot. Micah is a social worker with Child Placement Services. He is devoted to his work and Phoebe helps by providing funds. Micah is engaged to Annabelle Dumont, who does not care for Micah’s profession. After Eliza gets a glimpse at the troubles facing orphaned children in New York City, she wants to help. Eliza convinces Aunt Phoebe to open up the home to orphaned children (until they find permanent placement). Micah wishes Anabelle was more like Eliza in her feelings towards the children and others needing assistance in the tenements. Is Anabelle the right person for Micah? I found My Valentine to be nicely written and contained good characters. It is, though, very heavy in scripture, religious practices, and prayer. The romance is very subtle with the conversion (from Jewish to Christianity) being the primary focus of the story. I found the story to be very heavy or bogged down. It was difficult to get through. The pace was just very slow. I did enjoy reading about Abraham’s journey towards the Christian religion, and My Valentine has a lovely ending. Little Shoes and Mistletoe was a sweet story. It was easy to read and well written. I liked the characters, the setting, time period, and the ending. The religious aspect is much lighter in Little Shoes and Mistletoe. I found it to be an uplifting novella. Both stories contain good morals and life lessons that readers can apply to their lives. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars (My Valentine gets 3 stars and Little Shoes and Mistletoe gets 4 stars).