My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.
When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.
As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos, too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.
It was fascinating to learn about heirloom roses and their history- for once I was more interested in that than the romance! I loved that the mystery of the lost rose was revealed slowly throughout the book. Even though Bess's grandmother was passed away, she was very much a strong presence in the story through memories and flashbacks. I loved her quirky sayings and the way she mixed up words :) The author did a good job of making the reader feel Bess's desperation as her wedding loomed closer and her emotions didn't align with the choices she made. A close friend of Bess, Billy and Amos adds another dimension to the plot as she helps each of them sort out their true feelings.
(Thank you to Revell Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)