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His Frontier Christmas Family (Frontier Bachelors) Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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I’m a sucker for stories involving the fatherless.
Opening Line (from Chapter 1):
Near Seattle, Washington Territory
Someone was watching her.
The first chapter of this novel was uniquely compelling with its combination of one family’s life upheaval and an underlying sense of mysterious danger. I was never quite sure if Callie’s family was truly safe or what they might do next and I kept reading to find out.
California “Callie” Murphy – Every male in her family has been struck by gold fever and Callie’s been left to pay the price for it, despite the best of intentions.
Levi Wallin – Made a mistake in his youth that continues to haunt him despite his faith and recent calling to become a pastor.
Frisco and Sutter Murphy – Callie’s 9 year old twin brothers, named after San Francisco and Sutter’s Mill. They are about as rambunctious and mischievous as you could want or expect two boys of their age to be.
Mica Murphy – Callie’s toddler niece; the son of her brother, Adam. Mica has a delightful disposition.
There is a whole Wallin family involved, with many brothers, a sister, and several sister-in-laws, not to mention Levi’s parents. However, they all spend about an equal amount of time “on screen” and we don’t get to know any of them in depth. Nevertheless, they still ring true as well-developed characters and you do get the sense there is more to their stories, which hints at the other books in the series without leaving you feeling you are missing any vital information regarding the story at hand – the story of Levi and Callie.
As is almost always the case, there are two or three more main characters whom I cannot identify without giving away their significance and possibly spoiling some of the intended surprise.
Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:
This story was a slow, steady burn. It didn’t hurry me through, but it didn’t put me to sleep either. The characters were unique, sweet, and unpredictable enough to maintain my interest in what happened next in their lives.
Elements I especially liked/disliked:
While I have no family members struck by gold fever, I felt I could relate to Callie’s situation of having been repeatedly burned in relationships and feeling reluctant to put herself back out there. I also liked seeing the true-to-life struggle of two people learning how to parent together when their individual natural inclinations don’t always entirely match.
The theme of this novel is turning one’s eyes from the past and learning to appreciate the present while looking toward the future with optimism. Another way to put it would be: Focusing on the past wastes the present and poisons the future.
While there was a certain amount of predictability, I can’t dislike the predictability. I think it’s what we look for in this particular type of book. Also, the ending did hold a bit of a surprise for me as there was such a gap between particular events I’d nearly forgotten about the thread which created the twist.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an HONEST review. All opinions are entirely my own. My commitment is to helping readers make informed decisions with their book budget dollars and time.
First – I have to talk about the kids. Frisco and Sutter and sweet little Mica. These kids are adorable! Even the boys in their own precocious, rambunctious way. Their fierce protectiveness of their family, their boyish energy, and their ultimately tender hearts (masked by manly gruffness of course) made me smile every time they stole a scene.
Callie – oh how I wanted to just give her a huge hug. She’s been through so much and carried so many burdens that, when someone else shows up to carry them for a while, she doesn’t know how to relax and just ‘be’, nor even how to rest in a friendship. And the delightful Wallin family is full of potential friendships! Callie’s insecurities are in juxtaposition to her inner strength, and this makes her a very layered and inspiring character. And the subplot about reading! Ah! Be still my heart.
Levi is a reformed rogue turned preacher (that seems to be a theme today) with a big heart. He’s also currently fighting a losing battle when it comes to his feelings for Callie. I loved watching him fall in love! And learn to be an uncle-dad! So swoony. It’s also here, in Levi’s preacher capacity, that the author is able to weave some very sweet spiritual truth into the story. Namely – that we are more precious than God to the One who loves us best, that we are more than the sum of our past, and that He has come that we might be forgiven.
Bottom Line: His Frontier Christmas Family is delightful in every way. It will hit you in all the feels and leave your heart cozy warm and Christmasy. Swoony romance, adorable kids, and a large lovable family make this the ideal wintry weekend reaad!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I purchased for my own collection)
I started this story in the evening, thinking I was going to just read just a bit and ended up inhaling the story and reading until the wee hours of the morning to finish it. This is an unputdownable book, just get comfortable and enjoy it.
Levi and Callie were characters that I fell in love with. It is so easy to relate to them. Their imperfections highlighting their positive sides, their humbleness and loyalty shining through. The patience Levi had - to show and teach the Murphys the new and exciting life, talents, and tasks - was admirable. The love that was evident in each scene just gave me all the warm feels.
Callie had so many disappointments and setbacks in her young life yet that had just made her tough, capable, and able to take care of the family to the best of her abilities. The new life with the Wallins was as exciting as it was scary, her dreams were coming true and Callie wasn't sure if she deserved them or could trust them to be true and lasting.
Levi was sure his past actions, before becoming the man of God, didn't allow him to have the feelings that were growing inside his heart towards Callie. While teaching her about faith in God, he learns a lesson of forgiveness himself.
The connection between Levi and Callie is palpable, natural, and tight. They learn to work as partners to raise the Murphy kids and are building a life together, making a family, even before they realize it themselves.
A beautiful story about family, love, forgiveness, and faith in God with a touch of Christmas traditions and lots of cheer in a frontier town back in time
~ Five Spoons
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