An Ozark Family Christmas

Four cousins want to visit their family in the Ozark mountains, willing to even drive through blizzards to get to Granny Forrester’s home. And on the way they find love just in time for the holidays.

This book is made up of four inspirational stories from four different authors. Some I liked and some I didn’t.

1) Making Memories

Tired of her family’s lectures and matchmaking schemes, Amanda Forrester decides to take her neighbor and friend Josh Randall home for the holidays. They are afraid to admit their mutual attraction in case they ruin their friendship. But driving through a blizzard might make both of them a little more daring.

I enjoyed this story. Amanda was a strong character, and Josh was funny and probably the ideal next door neighbor. Definitely a cute story, and I could even appreciate the inspirational messages, which were there, but the author didn’t go overboard with them. This story is definitely worth reading.

2) A Christmas Wish

It’s bad enough for Abby when she realizes she seatmates with her ex-fiance, Nick Creighton. But when the blizzard grounds the plane, she depends on him to get her to Granny Forrester’s in time for Christmas. Long hours on the road leaves plenty of time to talk and even revive old feelings.

This wasn’t a good story, at least for me. Even though I enjoy inspirational fiction, it can’t be too preachy, and this story was pretty preachy. Aside from the huge anti-abortion message with Sandy, there’s also the fact that her father doesn’t believe in God and will stop loving her when he realizes that she’s pregnant. However, her grandmother is a Christian and she’ll take care of her. I’ve never liked stories that show anyone who doesn’t believe in God as either evil or misguided. It just breeds intolerance to different beliefs. Also, the preaching in this story can make it unrealistic at times, like Abby’s speech to Sandy when they had just met: “I know someone who loves you unconditionally. His name is Jesus and He loves you so much that He died on an old rugged cross to save you. He is the Son of God.” I don’t think anyone would say this to a stranger unless they were starting a fight. Not only does it sound patronizing, but it’s very unhelpful in this situation because where was Jesus when her boyfriend knocked her up and then dumped her, hmm? At least, that’s probably what I would be thinking if I was Sandy. And then I might punch Abby. So it really speaks more for Sandy’s patience and kindness than Abby’s. (Or it speaks for my lack thereof).  I’d probably save myself some eyerolling and skip this story, if I ever reread the book.

3) Home for the Holidays

Lauren Forrester moves from the Ozark mountains to St. Louis when she realizes she’s in love with her lifelong friend Jeffrey Warren who is interested in every woman but her. But when Jeffrey follows her to St. Louis to convince her to come for the holidays will they finally give in to the temptation to tell each other their true feelings?

This story was a little preachy, but not nearly as much as the last one. I enjoyed the characters quite a bit and the plot with them helping the family was very nice. I enjoyed this story a lot and I think it’s definitely worth reading again.

4) Dreaming of a White Christmas

When EMT Ben Callahan is called back to the Department store Callahan and Callahan, a painful reminder of his pat, he’s surprised when he realizes the body in the display window reported in the 911 call was the window designer, who fell asleep in the display that was a mirror of her grandmother’s living room. He quickly finds himself falling for the window designer, Casey Forrester, who wants to return home for the holidays, but might end up losing her job if she does. This story is probably my favorite out of the four. How they met was hilarious and quite original, and I usually enjoy love stories that start from the ground up more than other stories. It’s well-written and fun to read. I liked how it was centered on family and being a good Christian without preaching, and Casey’s character was likeable and not bitchy like a lot of work-oriented heroines can be. Definitely worth reading.

All together I think An Ozark Family Christmas is definitely worth reading. It’s a very cozy book for the holidays and is best read in a comfy chair with hot tea or cocoa.

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