AN AMISH CHRISTMAS STAR BY SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY
BUGGIES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES * Shelley Shepard Gray
Called home by family, John Miller and Ellie Coblentz are each looking for a way north from Pinecraft, Florida. With few options, they decide sharing the burden of travel must be the Lord’s plan for them. But can this bumpy, bad-weather journey home help them find their way into each other’s hearts, too?
STAR OF WONDER * Charlotte Hubbard
When Raymond Overholt comes to Promise Lodge, hoping to sell the barnboard signs he’s painted with stars and Christmas messages, spirited young Mennonite Lizzie Zehr is intrigued. But any courtship between them will face fierce opposition from the bishop of Raymond’s Old Order community—unless someone can convince him that at the heart of faith lies love . . .
STARLIGHT EVERLASTING * Rosalind Lauer
Newlyweds Rachel and Luke Coblentz can’t wait to celebrate their first Christmas together after years of courtship. But when Luke’s factory job threatens to keep them apart—from each other and their dream of a family—it will take faith to believe in the gift of a truly joyful ending .
I love books with several authors together writing in their unique style to give readers a wonderful collection for all to enjoy. I love that a star is the focal point in each story as they celebrate Christmas.
BUGGIES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES by SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY
I was so excited to be on the journey with John and Ellie. They meet under circumstances beyond their control. Each are trying to get home to someone who needs help. John is going to see his father who doesn’t have long to live. They haven’t spoken in years, which will be difficult for John. Ellie is going to take care of her grandmother. They look out for each other as they are removed from a van where a very unpleasant driver was.
I loved their adventure on the train. I never thought about motion sickness on a train, but I can see how that would be a problem for some. As the train reaches the end for them, they still need to find other transportation to get to their final destination.
The story is filled with meeting kind people as they travel and find that they both seem to get along with each other. The ending is sweet and I loved how the author illustrated forgiveness. I loved how two strangers trust God and learn that He had a plan for them to meet and change their lives.
STAR OF WONDER BY CHARLOTTE HUBBARD
This story gave me a better insight into the Mennonites. Raymond wants to sell his signs and finds the perfect place at a store. But his parents aren’t sure it is a good idea since the Mennonites don’t follow their beliefs. I have always thought about how difficult it would be to be shunned by family and the community. Mennonites allow their members to confess their sins and be forgiven. Raymond is ready to move out on his own and hopes he gets the chance to do so while selling his signs and working at the store.
Lizzie sure was interested in Raymond right away. She almost seemed pushy at times but her heart is pure and I liked how she encouraged Raymond. I love that she gets a chance to bake cookies again after leaving the bakery she used to work at. She has a gift for being fast and making the cookies so tasty. The significance of the star in this story is very emotional. Lizzie is reminded that “like a star we shine in our own special way.” What a great reminder that we may be different but we all have something that makes us special in God’s eyes.
As feelings growing stronger between the two, Raymond starts to feel pressure from his dad. He is not in agreement that Raymond should be seeing Lizzie and thinks Raymond could be shunned if he continues his relationship with her. The story is a beautiful illustration of following God and giving grace to those who are in need. I loved the transformation of one character and it filled me with hope. “You never can tell which little things we do and say will lead someone to follow God’s star.”
STARLIGHT EVERLASTING BY ROSALIND LAUER
Rachel and Luke are newlyweds and are finding it hard to be together. Luke’s job keeps him away from home during the week. Each time they are together you can feel the love between them. As Christmas draws near, Luke finds out that he has to work during the holidays. He is having a hard time working at the factory and pray that soon he will find a job closer to home.
This story is a look at faith and how we need to trust God. He knows the desires of our heart and wants His children to turn to Him with our needs. Luke and Rachel are waiting for the right job to come along so Luke won’t have to be away from home. What a blessing they receive and are surprised by the outpouring of support from family and friends. The ending is a wonderful blessing that finds Luke and Rachel feeling happy and excited for the future.
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