cover image The Amish Christmas Candle

The Amish Christmas Candle

Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand, and Lisa Jones Baker. Kensington, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1015-4

Three of Kensington’s most popular Amish romance authors reconvene around the warmth of hand-poured candles and indulge in less traditional pairings in this year’s Amish Christmas novella trio. In Long’s saccharine “Snow Shine on Ice Mountain,” Naomi’s father hires a young man to help her in the candle shop, but it turns out he’s using it as a cover for his job as a moonshine runner. The two colleagues experience a mysterious Christmas love miracle with supernatural underpinnings, a plot twist both unsatisfyingly abrupt and out of line with the conventions of Amish romances. Beckstrand’s “A Honeybee Christmas” uplifts the idea of being one’s true self and serves as a sprightly, satisfying, and occasionally hilarious coda to her Honeybee Sisters trilogy, as grumpy traditionalist Yost Weaver is both distressed and fascinated by his growing affection for Bitsy Kiem, the girlfriend of his youth turned outrageous empty nester with a very non-Amish fashion sense. Continuing the theme of embracing a modest amount of change and difference, an Amish girl battles the loneliness of her sister’s departure by diving into the charity baking drive of an attractive Mennonite neighbor’s family in Baker’s gently good-natured “The Christmas Candle,” which ends with a recipe. (Oct.)