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A Creed Country Christmas by Linda Lael Miller – A Review

A Creed Country Christmas is one of two novellas in Linda Lael Miller’s THE CHRISTMAS BRIDES. If you missed the review of A McKettrick Christmas from last Sunday, check it out, too.

I picked up The Christmas Brides on a whim while walking through Walmart. I wasn’t really shopping for a book to buy (because heaven knows I have a To-Be-Read pile at least a mile high) but this book called to me. I’ve read Ms. Miller’s Creed and McKettrick books and have enjoyed them all. I felt confident this wouldn’t let me down and I was correct.

In the Montana wilderness of 1910, Lincoln Creed is up against more than rustlers, wolves and winter storms. His young daughter, Gracie, has needs beyond the beans and bacon he can barely cook. The windowed rancher must fin Gracie a suitable governess who won’t set her sights on him. Disowned for her refusal to marry, the young schoolteacher Juliana Mitchell seems a perfect fit in the Creed home. As she gets to know Lincoln and Gracie, Juliana suddenly doesn’t feel so strongly against marriage after all. In the season of miracles, Providence just might find a way to bring these souls together in a wonderful Christmas blessing.

Juliana is a woman of substance, disowned by her brother (who controls the purse strings) when she refuses to marry her brother’s business partner. In far too many books, the business partner being fostered off is a drunk or letch, or has some other horrible personality defect. But Ms. Miller doesn’t need such tripe to give Juliana a reason to decline the marriage proposal. Instead, she gives us a strong heroine who realizes this is a great guy (albeit much older than she). When her grandmother dies, Juliana knows she wants to do something with the education she’s gained at the Normal School and takes a job teaching on an Indian Reservation, much to the dismay of her brother. But the school has been closed and all the Indian children scattered (and some not to the best situations) and Juliana is out of a job, out of money, and is has four children to care for. Her last hope is a money from her inheritance. Her brother denies her request and she’s stranded in the mercantile with no idea of what to do.

Lincoln Creed is a widower with a precocious daughter. There were many ways Ms. Miller could have gone with Gracie’s personality. She could have been clingy and resentful that her father would bring another female into the house, especially a woman dragging four other children along. She could have been resentful that her father had advertised for a housekeeper, or governess, or (as a last resort) a wife. But instead, Gracie is intelligent, bubbly, and generally happy child. I confess that I do get tired of the whiny, shrill, clingy child storylines I read too much, so I am thankful that Ms. Miller took a different path.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story except to say that like the McKettrick novella I reviewed last week, there are many characters with intersecting lives and Ms. Miller does an excellent weaving the concerns and situations with each person into this story without the reader feeling overwhelmed with names and details.

Make no mistake. These are romances and are written to make the reader feel good at the end and they do. I’ve promised this book to a friend but I haven’t passed it on yet because I wanted to reread the stories.

THE CHRISTMAS BRIDES is a fairly quick read, but so worth the time investment. If you need a little western romance boost for Christmas, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Excellent job, Ms. Miller. I needed a read like this!

 

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