Two Christmas Special Reads from Revell Books

Genres: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction

One of the things that I love about reading Christmas books is how publishers will have shorter than normal stories, but still a little bit longer than novellas in a jacketed hardcover edition. (Although sometimes, I guess these could be considered novellas… depends on who you ask I suppose.) They are pretty on the shelf, elegant enough for gifts, and just the right length to take along on a trip when traveling. Each year I’m eager to see what will come in the year to come. Interestingly this year provided two different faith stories. One is a historical set in the time of the American Civil War in a Shaker faith village and the other is a contemporary in an Amish town. Both are stories of hope.

9780800719821Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann H. Gabhart
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction – Christmas during the American Civil War, Shaker Faith
Pages: 208 Jacketed Hardcover
Date Published: September 2013
Publisher: Revell Books

She stared up at the Shaker buildings. They took in those in need. That was why she was riding into their village. But she couldn’t stay here. Not forever. They divided families. She’d heard her grandmother speak harshly of the way Shakers didn’t believe in marriage and had special houses where children were kept from their parents.

Heather put a hand over the swell of her baby inside her. Surely they wouldn’t take a newborn from his mother’s bosom. Heather’s mother couldn’t have imagined that happening or she’d have never told her to come . . .

As the Civil War rages, Christmas brings a time of simple celebration to the Shaker village at Harmony Hill.

A stirring story of healing and hope…

It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband’s army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation–deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, where her great aunt Sophrena lives. There, after many peaceful years at Harmony Hill, Sophrena is having doubts about her Shaker path. Both women are in need of love and forgiveness–whether given or received. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?

Christmas at Harmony Hill Excerpt

When I first saw the opportunity to review this Christmas story from Ann I was curious and uncertain, but jumped at the chance anyway. I have read some historicals by Ann and absolutely loved them page front to story end. However, I have not read any of her novels that have been set in a Shaker village, so I was a bit uncertain. According to Ann, while all of her Shaker books are set in Harmony Hill, they do read as stand alone novels very easily. She has an entire page dedicated to her Shaker books, where you can read more about them.

By the time that I was halfway through this book, I found myself still unsure of my opinion. Story-wise it is definitely interesting and I like the characters. I’m just really not sure how I feel about the Shaker faith. I guess I keep finding myself wanting to argue with their Sister Ann. So many things in their faith seem to go against what I believe the Bible says, and while I know that’s not fully what this book is suppose to be about, I found it to be a distraction for me. Yet, as I said… this is my first Shaker book.

While in the end, I am not finding myself desperately a fan of this book. I am a fan of Ann Gabhart, and will pick up other books by her in a heartbeat. One of her stand alone historicals, Words Spoken True is on my favorites list. Never were words spoken so true… *sigh* Is that not something that you just love, after reading a book that interruptions left you thirsting for more, where each page could not turn fast enough to bring what was next, but you wanted to take your time to soak it all in. Oh what a character I have found in Blake Garrett and while I was a fan of Adriane Darcy from page one, goodness what a great cast! So if you’re not in love with this book, know that there are others by her that I am in love with!

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details. 


Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels–The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted–as well as other historical novels, including Angel SisterSmall Town Girl, and Words Spoken True. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Find out more at


A Simple Christmas Wish by Melody Carlson
Genre: Christian Fiction – Amish Christmas
Pages: 176 Jacketed Hardcover
Date Published: September 2013
Publisher: Revell Books

One girl in need of a home. One woman in search of a home for her heart. One Christmas where it all seems possible.

It felt strange to be out here in the middle of the night, still wearing the Amish dress–a dress that had belonged to Miri. Rachel’s footsteps crunched in the snow, and halfway between the barn and the house, she paused to look up at the night sky, wondering if more snow was in store, but all she saw was velvety black and stars. Millions of twinkling stars. She had never seen stars like that before, so bright and so close, almost as if she could touch them with her hand.

Rachel Milligan never imagined that she and her seven-year-old niece would spend the week before Christmas on a quaint Amish farm in Ohio. But with so many unexpected occurrences of late, perhaps she shouldn’t have been surprised.

With her young niece Holly in tow, Rachel anxiously makes her way from Chicago to Ohio’s Amish country. As love begins to blossom, 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.

Join bestselling author Melody Carlson on an emotional journey into the heart of what family truly means at Christmastime.

Just reading about the description of this one, I almost expect it to easily be one of those Christmas short movies. Yet if you know anything about Melody Carlson, I can remind you of two things. If any author seems to enjoy writing Christmas novellas, Melody is definitely one of them! And secondly, she knows how to put a wrench in your heart and tug on the strings, especially in where it concerns the younger generation. Melody definitely has a way with a pen!

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details. 



“Heartwarming and heart-stirring, this easy read will warm one up for the holidays with all forms of delight.”

RT Book Reviews

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus,The Christmas DogChristmas at Harrington’s, and The Christmas Pony. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at


“Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.