About the Author
Christian author Diana Lesire Brandmeyer writes historical and contemporary romances. Author of Mind of Her Own, A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee, and We’re Not Blended—We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families. Once widowed and now remarried, she writes with humor and experience on the difficulty of joining two families, be they fictional or real life. Visit Diana’s website: www.dianabrandmeyer.com
Bestselling author Margaret Brownley has published more than thirty-five books and has written for a daytime TV soap.The third book in her popular Undercover Ladies series, Calico Spy, will be published December 2015. She is currently working on a new series. A past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist she has won many literary awards including Readers Choice. Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California. Margaret can be reached through her website; www.margaret-brownley.com
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels. A former Easterner, she’s happy to now be living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with the Oregon Trail and Fort Laramie just a short drive away.
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty novels, in the romance, mystery, suspense, and historical romance genres. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband, Jim, a retired news editor. They are the parents of six, and the grandparents of nine fantastic kids. She is a past winner of the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Susan was named Favorite Author of the Year in the 18th Annual Heartsong Awards. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com.
Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in Washington State. Miralee loves interacting with people, ministering at her church, (she is a certified Lay Counselor with the AACC), riding her horse, and playing with her dogs. An award-winning and bestselling author, she speaks at various women’s functions and has taught at writers’ conferences. Since 2007, she’s had ten books release, both in women’s contemporary fiction and historical romance. Miralee recently started a newsletter, and you can sign up for it on her website/blog www.miraleeferrell.com.
Award-winning author Pam Hillman, a country girl at heart, writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. She lives with her family in Mississippi. Contact Pam at her website: www.pamhillman.com.
Maureen Lang writes stories inspired by a love of history and romance. An avid reader herself, she’s figured out a way to write the stories she feels like reading. Maureen’s inspirationals have earned various writing distinctions including the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, a HOLT Medallion, and the Selah Award, as well as being a finalist for the Rita, Christy, and Carol Awards. In addition to investigating various eras in history (such as Victorian England, First World War, and America’s Gilded Age), Maureen loves taking research trips to get a feel for the settings of her novels. She lives in the Chicago area with her family and has been blessed to be the primary caregiver to her adult disabled son.
Amy Lillard is a 2013 Carol award-winning author who loves reading romance novels from contemporary to Amish. She was born and raised in Mississippi, but now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their teenage son.
Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is the award-winning author of thirty-five published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and Gabriel’s Atonement, Book 1 in her Land Rush Dreams series.
Vickie has been married thirty-nine years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one of whom is married, and a precocious eight-year-old granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com
Davalynn Spencer is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters. She writes Western romance and inspirational nonfiction and teaches writing at Pueblo Community College. She and her handsome cowboy have three children, four grandchildren, and live on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue.
Michelle Ule is a musician, historian and Bible study leader who graduated from UCLA. She’s the author of five historical novellas and a Navy SEAL novel. Married to a now retired submarine officer whom she followed all over the world, she lives with her family in northern California. You can learn more about her at www.michelleule.com
Read an Excerpt
The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection
12 Heartwarming Historical Romances for the Season of Love
By Margaret Brownley, Mary Connealy, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Susan Page Davis, Miralee Ferrell, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Vickie McDonough, Davalynn Spencer, Michelle Ule
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
All rights reserved.
Southern Illinois, 1886
Roy Gibbons stirred the pot of oatmeal while doing his best to ignore the state of his kitchen.
"Papa, it shouldn't look like that." Eight-year-old Elisbet glared at him. "I can't wait until our Christmas mama gets here."
If Janie were here, everything would be in the cupboards where it belonged, not shoved into nooks and crannies. He never thought he'd be making breakfast for his daughters, much less trying to keep their frocks clean and pressed. He missed his wife more and more every day. Roy didn't know how she'd made his home run so smoothly. Not once had he needed to worry about how to get tomato stains off his shirt or when to cut his hair. She'd say in her musical voice, "It's time, sit down and let me trim that head, Roy."
When Elisbet asked him for a mother for Christmas, he'd said yes, thinking it couldn't be that hard to find one.
"Papa, do you think Becky will have sugar cookies at her party?" Frances, his youngest and his shadow, tugged his pant leg.
"Franny, she's going to have cake. That's what you have at a birthday party, right, Papa?" Elisbet never had trouble correcting her younger sister.
"But I like sugar cookies." Frances tugged again. "Can we make cookies when we come home? Mama makes the best kind."
"Mama made not makes. She's in heaven. Remember?" Elisbet patted her sister's shoulder. "When our Christmas mama comes, she'll make cookies with us."
"Stop telling her that, Elisbet. It's not that easy to get a mother. I can't order one from the catalog." He slid the pot from the burner, his little shadow still clinging to his leg as he moved. "Sit down, girls, and I'll fill your bowls." Roy was still stinging from Widow Percy's rejection. She'd have been a perfect fill-in for his deceased wife. Seemed logical — she didn't have a father for her boys, and his girls didn't have a mother. When he suggested they marry for the common good of their families, she'd done all but slap his face.
Trouble was, he hadn't lived here long enough to know people. Maybe he'd made a mistake moving here after Janie died. If he'd stayed in Collinsville, he'd have a mother for the girls by now. The whole reason he'd left was because too many young hopefuls were knocking on the door with some treat and mooning over him and the girls. At the time he didn't want another wife. No one could fill Janie's shoes, and these women would be expecting to have children of their own. He couldn't face that, not after losing Janie and the baby. No, he didn't need a companion. Just someone to take care of his house and his family.
He scooped up the oatmeal and plopped a lump in each girl's bowl.
He sat at the head of the table, a daughter on either side of him, and pushed back the hurt that came from seeing Janie's chair at the other end. The house was different, but the spot across the table was as empty as if he hadn't left Collinsville. "Grace, then food." He watched until little hands were folded and heads bowed, then said the prayer followed by an "Amen."
Frances stuck her fingers on the inside of her bowl to pull it closer. "Hot!" The bowl went spinning from the table to her lap and then crashed to the floor. She wailed.
"Are you all right? Are your fingers burned?" Roy sprung from his chair and pulled his daughter from hers. He grabbed her hands and flipped them palm up. They weren't red. Relieved to avoid a crisis, he planted a kiss on her fingertips the way he'd seen Janie do so many times.
"My dress," Frances whimpered. "It's dirty. I don't have another one for the party."
"Shh, Frances, stop crying. Your fingers look fine, and no one will notice your dress." Kneeling, he reached under the table for the offending bowl and spoon that had spoiled Frances's morning.
"If we had a mama, this wouldn't have happened, Papa." Elisbet already held a wet rag in her hand. She dabbed at her sister's dress. "It's only a little bit of oatmeal. Look, Franny. See? I got it off."
It bothered him that Elisbet tried to be like Janie, and he had no idea how to prevent it.
"But it's my favorite and it's ..." Frances hiccupped. "Wet!" Roy wondered how he would ever raise these girls without help.
* * *
Alma Pickens tugged her cape closer to guard against the sharp fangs of the November wind and leaned across the buggy seat. Her father had returned to the very subject she'd asked him not to speak about at breakfast. "Papa, you're a dreamer. Maybe I'm not the only one God will send a spouse for. I do believe I'll pray as hard as you do for me, that you'll marry again. A doctor should have a wife."
And she would take it to God in her prayers. She'd grown weary of her father's constant efforts to see her married. It wasn't that she was against the idea, but she'd made a promise to her mother to take care of him. And it would be a rare man who would marry her and take in her father as well.
Besides, she had her painting and taking care of her father's home. That gave her plenty to do. Why, just this morning she'd risen earlier than normal and put in a full day's work so she could come to town with him despite the cold to make a deposit at the bank and to visit her friend Jewel.
"Little Bit, it's not right for you to devote your life to me."
"Papa, I told you not to worry about me. I have you, and I don't need anyone else. Besides, there isn't anyone left in Trenton that I'd care to marry."
"Alma my girl, you'll make a good wife and mother. I can't sit back and watch you miss out. God will bring someone." He stopped the horse in front of Bossman's Bank and stepped out of the wagon. He tied the horse to the hitching post and helped Alma dismount. "I'm too old to get married again. It's you I worry about. I'll pick you up at Jewel's when I'm through at the Detterman's. And don't start making lists of promising wives for me. Go on, get in the bank and put your pennies away."
"I'm going." Who would be a good match for him? And who could she find that wouldn't mind her presence in the house as well?
Maybe she should hold off ordering from the Montgomery Ward catalog. She had her heart set on the Oil Painting Outfit Complete. It was outrageously expensive, but it came with twenty-five colors of paint. If she weren't able to sell her paintings right away, and her father married a woman who valued their privacy, she would need that money to rent a room somewhere. And without the paints and lessons that came with the painting outfit, how would she have anything to sell? Well, she wouldn't worry about that today, seeing as how there weren't any women who interested Papa. The irony that this town held no one for either of them struck her. Maybe Papa would consider moving to St. Louis, where her paintings would be discovered, and she'd be famous and wealthy. He could be a doctor there, and the number of people in that city would increase his chance of finding another wife.
She needed to talk this new idea of St. Louis over with Jewel. Together they'd find a solution.
* * *
Inside the bank, Alma waited her turn. Two little blond girls in front of her clung to their father. She knew who they were — the Gibbons family minus the mother who had died last spring giving birth. Mrs. Remik at the store said everyone was speculating on when Mr. Gibbons would take another wife to help with Elisbet and Frances.
The oldest, Elisbet, played peekaboo with her sister. Their giggles captured one hiding in Alma. She clenched her lips to contain it, but it escaped.
Mr. Gibbons turned and smiled. Alma had an unusual urge to slide her finger into the indentation on his cheek. Dimples. Then she noticed what looked like oatmeal in his hair. She shuddered. The man needed help.
"I apologize if my girls disturbed you, miss."
"They didn't. Their giggles captivated me along with those dark blue eyes." If she were painting them, she'd use cobalt blue to capture their intensity.
"We're going to a birthday party," Elisbet said.
Alma leaned down. "I love birthday parties, lots of games and cake to eat."
"I have oatmeal on my dress." Frances looked so sorrowful that Alma wanted to take her down to the store and buy her a new frock.
"Franny, it's okay. Remember I got it off and your dress dried on the way here. Papa, we have to get Becky a gift, don't forget. I want to get her red hair ribbons."
Had that man brought his daughter out in this cold weather with a wet dress? Was he touched in the head? No doubt her own father would end up at their place tending to the little girl for pneumonia.
"I don't. I think we should get her a knife." Frances held up her hands and pretended to open one. "It would be grand to have one. Papa, can I have one for my birthday?"
"We'll see. We best get moving if there's shopping and lunch to do yet." He turned to Alma. "Nice to meet you."
"Papa, can she be the mama you're getting us for Christmas? She doesn't have a wedding ring. I looked like you showed me." Elisbet smiled a got-you-now smile at her father.
Mr. Gibbons's green eyes flashed to Alma's, and his face flushed. "Let's go, girls." He ushered them out without another word to Alma.
Alma watched them leave, noticing the hem on Elisbet's coat was torn. She understood the child's desire for a mother but sincerely hoped her father didn't run into Mr. Gibbons before Christmas.CHAPTER 2
Roy covered Frances's shivering body with the blanket from his bedroom and tucked it around her. Her teeth chattered, and he brushed his hand against her forehead. Hot. Nothing good ever came from fevers. He couldn't let his daughters see his worry, especially Elisbet. "You'll be right as rain soon. I sent Pete to fetch the doctor. He'll be here before long."
"Not the doctor!" Frances sobbed. "I want Mama."
Her words cut him, opening a scar he'd thought healed. "We all do. The doctor will help you feel better, sweetheart." He'd taken to calling his daughters by the terms of endearment he'd heard Janie use. It seemed to settle them down when they were in a state he didn't understand. He should never have left Collinsville. Right now his mother could be helping him with this sick child.
Frances coughed again and again. Her body shook, and her chest had a rattle Roy didn't like. "Elisbet, sit and read to your sister until the doctor and Pete get here or I get done milking the cows."
Elisbet, eyes wide and face pale, didn't object but grabbed the picture book Frances loved. "Can I get under the covers with Franny?"
"I want Elisbet!" Frances threw off the covers.
Frances didn't know what she wanted, but he would give her what he could. "Didn't I just tuck you in, little girl?"
"Please, Papa?" Frances coughed again.
Roy slid back the covers. "Climb in." He waited for Elisbet to snuggle in next to her sister. Please God, don't let her get sick, too. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
Roy knew Elisbet was terrified. He wished he didn't understand her fear, but he did — all too well. The last time they'd seen a doctor, Janie died. He left his heart with his daughters as he headed outside. You couldn't let a cow go unmilked, even if you had somewhere better to be.
He shivered. He should have grabbed his coat. No matter, the barn would hold back the chill. He'd have to keep Elisbet home from school tomorrow to help him with Frances. He couldn't take care of a sick child, do barn chores, and work at the mill. This illness pushed him to fulfill his daughters' Christmas wish. He'd write to his mother, asking her who back home was still looking to get married. He wanted a widow, someone who'd already known love and didn't expect it to happen again. Someone who'd understand she couldn't replace his wife any more than he could replace her husband.
* * *
Alma convinced her father to take her for an afternoon drive before the winter snows came and forced them to stay close to town. Outside of town, the roads suffered from last week's gully washer, making the smooth rides of summer a memory to be cherished. The buggy springs bounced, squeaking as the wheels dipped in and out of holes in the dirt road. Alma held on to the edge of her seat. "Thanksgiving makes me sad. It makes me think of Mama."
"I think about her every day. Holidays are the hardest for me. But you've your mother's happy attitude about life, and that helps me." Her father winked at her. "Yes, you do many things that remind me of her."
"Tell me how, Papa." Alma drew the buggy blanket up higher on her lap. The warmth of fall had been shoved aside as winter gained a foothold. The trees held tight to a few weather-beaten leaves. Another strong wind and they'd be bare.
"The way you want to make small things into a celebration. Like Thursday, you invited friends to eat with us, but it wasn't enough to have all those platters of food. You decorated the table with red and gold leaves. That's not something I would do."
"Too many germs, Dr. Pickens? Those tiny little things no one can see?" Alma tried to raise an eyebrow the way her father did when making a point. It wouldn't go.
Dr. Pickens raised his brow. "Still can't do it? Neither could your mother. And yes, there is a new study out about germs being in unexpected places. It's possible leaves would carry bacteria spores, but your happiness matters more to me, so I kept quiet."
"Thank you. The decorations made the entire dinner party more festive. If the leaves make people sick, wouldn't everyone be ill when they fall from the trees?"
"It does seem I have more patients in the winter, doesn't it?"
"That's because it's cold and we don't get enough fresh air. You taught me that. So I'm like you, too, Papa."
"I'd like you to be more like your mother and me — married."
This conversation was going down a corduroy road she didn't wish to travel. Distraction always worked with her father. "Who was the letter from that you were reading last night?"
"Someone you don't know. How about Mr. Bruin? He'd make a good husband."
"I can't marry him. I won't. I know you're concerned for me, but I'd never be happy married to a miner. I'm surprised you would even consider him. He must bring home lots of germs every night. Why, I could catch something and die before spring if I were to marry him." She tried one more time to arch her eyebrow. It wouldn't go, so she pushed it up with her finger.
In the distance, Alma saw a horse and a rider coming up on them fast. "Look, someone else is out for a ride today."
"Doesn't appear he's riding for fun. Must be an emergency. He's got that horse running at a gallop." Dr. Pickens pulled back on the reins. "Wise to slow down and let him pass. No need to give our boy Charlie here a reason to bolt."
The horseback rider whipped off his hat and waved. "Dr. Pickens! We need you at the Gibbonses'." He stopped his horse next to the buggy.
"Pete, you came up so fast I didn't recognize you. What's the problem?"
"Roy Gibbons's little one is sick. She can't stop coughing, and he said she's burning hot as a barn afire. He sent me to get you. Can you come straight away?"
Her father wore his serious face; she knew he wouldn't hesitate.
"We'll follow you." Doctor Pickens urged Charlie into a trot.
"What does Mr. Gibbons do for a living, Papa?"
"I heard he bought Becker's farm." His forehead furrowed like a freshly plowed field.
"He's not married. Jewel says he never comes to town without the girls. Why do you suppose that is?"
"I take you places."
"Yes, but not all the time. Do you think he's taking care of the girls by himself? That would explain the oatmeal in his hair and the torn hem."
"Oatmeal? What are you talking about?"
"I saw them at the bank. The girls were going to a birthday party and were excited, but they weren't dressed for the occasion. I wanted to take them home, curl their hair, and buy them pretty dresses. I hope the other children weren't mean to them."
"Were they mean to you?" Her father's mouth turned down.
She hadn't meant to hurt him. "No. Well, sometimes. It didn't happen after you asked for help from Mrs. Wilson."
"She was a saint to step in. I'm not sure you would have learned how to be a lady if not for her."
"You tried, Papa." Alma pushed back memories of the times she missed her mother. She'd kept many of them from her father.
The two-story farmhouse appeared when they came around the bend in the road. A house built for a large family, not a father and two little girls. "Will you let me help?"
"Don't believe you've become a doctor since lunch, have you?"
"You can carry my bag."
"I'm no longer a child."
"Believe me, I'm aware."
The door opened, and Mr. Gibbons stepped onto the porch. "In here, Doctor. Franny is sick. I don't know what to do."
Alma followed her father into the house. She'd learned early to step back when her father was needed. Too many times she'd landed on the floor as he rushed by her.
Mr. Gibbons hadn't waited for either of them, but it wasn't difficult to locate him or the patient. The coughing led them to the sick child.
Dr. Pickens felt Frances's forehead. "Definitely a fever. You need to take those blankets off of her right now. You're making the fever climb higher. I need a basin of cold water and a cloth, please."
Excerpted from The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection by Margaret Brownley, Mary Connealy, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Susan Page Davis, Miralee Ferrell, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Vickie McDonough, Davalynn Spencer, Michelle Ule. Copyright © 2014 Diana Lesire Brandmeyer. 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.
Table of Contents
ContentsThe Festive Bride,
The Nutcracker Bride,
The Christmas Star Bride,
The Advent Bride,
The Christmas Tree Bride,
The Nativity Bride,
The Evergreen Bride,
The Gift-Wrapped Bride,
The Gingerbread Bride,
The Fruitcake Bride,
The Snowbound Bride,
The Yuletide Bride,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nice short stories
The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection are sweet historical novellas by twelve different authors. I enjoyed reading these at this busy time of year when I did not have time to get involved in a longer book. They are all tender stories taking place in America in the 1800s. I won my book in a giveaway by Davalynn Spencer.
The 12 Brides of Christmas (various authors) is a delightful collection of twelve, historical Christian stories written by well-known Christian authors. All of them take place in the late 1800s and revolve around Christmas (and Christmas items like the tree, star, advent, nutcrackers). Each story is set in a different place (Lone Tree, Kansas, Oregon Trail in Wyoming). I enjoyed these heartwarming Christmas stories. They are well-written and easy to read. Once you start reading them you will not want to stop. They are not preachy or overly religious. They all just have a nice, light Christian tone (so they can be read by younger readers as well). I give The 12 Brides of Christmas 4 out of 5 stars. I will be looking for more works by the authors in this book. If you enjoy reading historical romance books, then you will like this collection. I received a complimentary copy of The 12 Brides of Christmas from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Twelve different authors joined forces to write twelve stories about women who became brides at Christmas time. Each story is a stand alone, but they all fit together with the theme of the title. Each of these stories was sold separately as an e-book and the whole collection was put together in paperback for the season. This is the perfect glimpse into the writing style of a lot of different authors. Each story was well written and I enjoyed the opportunity to catch a quick story during my short breaks. The stories all center around Christmas and love, but also include faith as an integral part of the story. This would make an excellent gift to the reader in your life. I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
An awesome collection of 12 Christmas Brides, just in time for the holidays! 12 awesome stories by 12 talented storytellers. I absolutely adored each and every story. It would be hard to pick a favorite story. Each author brought their own unique writing style to the collection. The characters in each story were endearing, engaging and believable. I enjoy Christmas stories and gotta say, these are an absolute delight to read. A must read for the upcoming Christmas holidays. A sweet, heartwarming collection of Historical Romances. An enjoyable and satisfying read! * Personal Buy * Rating: 5 Heat rating: Sweet Reviewed by: AprilR
In this collection you will find 12 short stories that are set during the 1800s in the frontier of our expanding country. As the name of the collection proclaims each story highlights a bride's journey to love and romance. This collection has a wide variety of stories and characters. While I thoroughly enjoyed each story, a couple of my favorites were: The Festive Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, The Nutcracker Bride by Margaret Brownley and The Christmas Tree Bride by Susan Page Davis. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than 12 novellas written by some of my favorite authors? Each author did a wonderful job of capturing the Spirit of Christmas in just 50 short pages. Every story drew me into the heart of the season. The blessing that God gave us in Jesus' birth is demonstrated beautifully. Love, forgiveness and redemption are the main focus of this collection. If you are looking for a good Christmas read, I recommend this collection. You can read one here and there or burn through the whole collection in a week like I did. Either way, you are sure to enjoy the festivity between the pages. I received a free digital copy of The 12 Brides of Christmas from Barbour Publishing Inc. through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection is an aptly titled as the book contains Christmas-themed short stories. Some of the short stories start with a Bible verse while others do not. Each story starts with a dateline showing a location and date, which reminded me of reading the start of a letter or postcard. If you like wholesome, old-fashioned stories you should love reading The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection. Recommend. Review written after downloading a galley from NetGalley.
The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection by Various Authors: Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Michele Ule, Amy Lillard, Miralee Ferrell, Susan Page Davis, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Davalynn Spencer, and Vickie McDonough; Pub date: 10-1-15 This book is a collection of gentle, sweet, very clean Christian romantic tales. We have twelve brides in this collection that will find the love of their life at Christmas time. Each one is special in it’s owns way; all are historical Christian romances. They are not preachy or pushy in presenting Christian values and beliefs. The recipes were an added bonus. Barbour publishing has never failed me in publishing a wonderful story. These stories were a little too short to suit my taste, as I prefer more depth, but they are packed with the Christmas spirit and Christian values and are relaxing reads. These twelve authors are all acclaimed Christian authors and I have read most of them before. Christmas is time for compassion, loving spirits and nothing is better than sweet Christmas romance, in this book you have twelve such tales. I recommend this collection to anyone that loves Christmas, Christian historical romance and happy ever after. I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review.