cover image The Christmas Gathering

The Christmas Gathering

Shelley Shepard Gray, Lenora Worth, and Rachel J. Good. Kensington, $17.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-49675-029-7

Cultures clash, forbidden romances ignite, and old wounds heal in time for Christmas in this upbeat trio of novellas from Shepard Gray (A Is for Amish), Worth (The Widow’s Unexpected Suitor), and Good (Dating an Amish Flirt). Shepard Gray’s “A Christmas Reunion” finds Brandt Holden reuniting with Tricia, a friend’s Amish cousin with whom he’s been exchanging letters since meeting her a year ago. Their chemistry is undeniable, but Tricia must decide whether she’s willing to leave her culture behind for a chance at love. Worth’s “We Gather Together” takes place at a tiny inn on Christmas eve, where Lucas Myer and Kyla Hollinger form a bond despite a long-running family feud stemming from their grandparents’ romantic rivalry. Themes of rebellion are explored in Good’s “Hitting All the Right Notes,” which finds Andrew Hollinger starting a rock band with his friends during Rumspringa. When he meets and falls in love with a fan who’s not yet baptized, he’s forced to choose between love and his faith. Despite a few weak moments (the family feud in “We Gather Together” feels more like a plot device than a real obstacle to the protagonists’ love), readers will appreciate the combination of happily-ever-after story lines with meaningful considerations of the challenges of navigating between Amish and Englisch cultures. It’s a welcome burst of holiday cheer. (Oct.)