The Christmas Cradle, Seasons of the Heart series, book 6

Author: Charlotte Hubbard

Publisher: Zebra/ Kensington

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: PRINT

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Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer have traveled from Bloomfield, Iowa, to work for Hiram Knepp at his supper club in Higher Ground. Hiram was the bishop of the Plain people in Willow Ridge until he was excommunicated, so the Hooleys are not sure about the job he has promised. Lena is pregnant and has been cast out by her family when she decided to leave with Josiah to start a new life. When their horse throws a shoe during a snowstorm they are lucky enough to find Ben Hooley just leaving his smithy. Ben and Mirriam Hooley offer the young couple a place to stay the night and get their horse shod in the morning.

Mirriam is half-owner of the Sweet Seasons Bakery Café and is pregnant as well. Mirriam and Ben have only been married a year. Mirriam was a widow and has triplet daughters who are grown. Mirriam started her place of business after her husband died so she could support her kids. Now that she is married again and pregnant, the bishop wants her to stay at home and raise her child, as is the Plain way. Mirriam is very kind-hearted and wants to help Lena and Josiah the best they can.

Josiah is feeling overwhelmed with Lena and the baby being dependent on him, so when he can't find the supper club or Hiram Knepp, he packs his clothes and heads back to Iowa without Lena. His sister Sauvilla is still living on their family farm. Mirriam is going to make sure Lena and her baby have a home with her and Ben, for as long as she needs it.

Lena becomes friends with Mirriam's daughters and likes living with the Hooleys. She has decided this is where she wants to raise her child, no matter what Josiah does. Lena finds out Nora and Luke Hooley are getting married but want a different kind of buffet for their reception, so she calls Josiah to tell him they are interested in his catering the event with his smoked meats and side dishes. This is a way to get him to come back and maybe decide he wants to be with her and the baby girl she has born in his absence.

I loved this story with all the twists and turns of a young couple trying to find their way in a new town and a loving family of Plain people. Bringing all the characters back into this final book in the SEASONS OF THE HEART series adds so much more history of the town and how all the residents have come to reside here. This story is like all the rest, centered on the Sweet Seasons Café, full of love, neighborly help when needed and a group of people who stand together when tragedy strikes. Charlotte Hubbard's engaging storytelling keeps you turning the page to find out what will happen next until the heart-stopping ending. I give this book 5 Blue Ribbons on Romance Junkies because I have learned so much about the Amish people and their faith through the lovely works of outstanding author Charlotte Hubbard.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Diana S

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