cover image The Amish Christmas Kitchen

The Amish Christmas Kitchen

Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand, and Lisa Jones Baker. Kensington, $9.95 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0591-4

Kensington offers a tasting menu of Christmas baking–themed Amish romance novellas, complete with companion recipes, from two of their established series authors, plus their newest debut. Long’s “Baking Love on Ice Mountain” blooms with cautious sweetness as a reclusive young widow slowly embraces the idea that God wants her to have joy again, even if her suitor is her late husband’s best friend. Beckstrand’s joyful, nearly slapstick “The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” features wily grandparents and an overenthusiastic goat helping a clumsy but good-hearted poet win the heart of a young woman who thinks her only escape route out of spinsterhood is via an unpleasant, intimidating fellow who hates her cooking. But Baker’s “The Special Christmas Cookie” falls deeply into saccharine territory with the story of a little boy who needs heart surgery, his doting tutor, and his older brother, whose pride in caring for his family makes it hard for him to accept the generosity of a charity cookie auction. Readers will be eager to pick up Long and Beckstrand’s backlists; the other tale is less compelling. (Oct.)