I am excited to share with you all today the newest novella collection from Bethany House featuring a wonderful group of authors–Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes and Nicole Deese. Novellas tend to release this time of year and it’s no wonder why. Time seems to speed up just before Halloween and doesn’t stop until after the New Year.
It can be difficult to fit in your regular reading while your passing our candy on Halloween, wrapping Christmas presents and buying sparklers to celebrate the beginning of 2021. But that’s the magic of novellas! They are much shorter than a full length novel but still packed with all the humor, romance, inspiration and action of your favorite books.
And I am not one to pick favorites, but The Kissing Tree is my new favorite novella collection. The idea of following the legendary tree through generations was such a charming idea, and having all these lovely ladies supply the stories of the tree’s past and present is just perfection.
Keep reading to find my review of all four novellas and find a purchase link to get your copy. (Hint-this would be a great Christmas present!)
More About The Kissing Tree:
In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.
Regina Jennings – “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts”
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?
Karen Witemeyer – “Inn for a Surprise”
Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise.
Amanda Dykes – “From Roots to Sky”
WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?
Nicole Deese – “Heartwood”Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?
Here’s where you can get your copy.
I have always enjoyed novellas. I love their faster-moving timelines and the swift satisfaction that comes with a shorter story. But it’s not often I love all the stories within a novella collection equally. But with the four lovely novellas in The Kissing Tree, it would be impossible for me to choose a favorite!
“Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts” by Regina Jennings was a sweet and playful start to the tradition of The Kissing Tree. I enjoyed the agricultural setting of the story and the close-up look at the innovation of the threshing machine. And the complicated history between Bella and Adam brought them together in a unique and often laugh-out-loud way. And I always love a hero who brings out the best in his girl. This is a perfect introduction to Oak Springs!
“Inn for a Surprise” by Karen Witemeyer was a charming story all about romance–in the way of cherub wallpaper, bright pink paint, and an inn designed for couples in love. The Kissing Tree Inn is the whimsical dream of Phoebe Woodward, to create a romantic getaway centered around the tradition of the Kissing Tree. But all of her pink, frilly, and cupid covered decor comes into question by Barnabas Ackerly and his knack for business. I loved this couple. They are opposites, yet they suited each other well. Even when they were sparing verbally, they were kind and respectful to each other, and the development of their relationship from strictly business to possibly more kept a smile on my face the entire time. You will enjoy your visit to Inn of Smooching Shrubbery, as Barnabas would call it!
“From Roots to Sky” by Amanda Dykes took a more serious turn in the novella collection, but I loved the story just the same. It follows Luke Hampstead on his journey back to civilian life after serving as an airman in WWII. He had exchanged letters with his buddy’s sister, Hannah, after his friend was killed in action and wanted to meet her in person. Hannah and Luke’s story is rich in pain and grief as much as it is in hope and love. I loved the cottage they worked on together that incorporated sketches Hannah had received from her brother and Luke during the war. It was just as quirky and unique as Hannah herself. This is a beautiful story of healing and finding a sense of normalcy after a tragedy.
“Heartwood” by Nicole Deese is the contemporary novella in the collection, and despite being a (mostly) historical fiction fan–I LOVED this story. Abby and Griff have a second chance at romance, but grief, fear, and regrets from their last conversation continue to keep them apart. But when they are forced to work together to save The Kissing Tree from being destroyed, the reasons they loved each other resurface. Abby and Griff’s story also deals with deep-rooted grief, but Abby’s journey is touching and will make you reach for a tissue a time or two. Heartwood was the perfect conclusion to the novella collection, which was a wonderful representation of many forms of love.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Happy reading and God bless!