My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
A season for love and family
Mistletoe Reunion by Cheryl St.John
When Marlys Boyd moves West hoping to find acceptance for her doctoring skills, she's surprised to find her former fiancé, Sam Mason, running the local newspaper. And with the ladies in town determined to make a match of the doctor and the single father, she's not sure she can resist building the family they once dreamed of.
Mistletoe Bride by Sherri Shackelford
Pregnant by a man who betrayed her trust, a mail-order marriage is Beatrix Haas's only hope. But when she arrives in Cowboy Creek and learns her intended groom has died, she needs a new daddy for the baby that's coming right away. Blacksmith Colton Werner offers the mother and child the protection of his name, but can their marriage of convenience ever lead to true love?
A sweet story of second chance love between Marlys, a female homeopathic doctor and Samuel, a journalist and author. They never expected to be reunited after so many years, and old feelings are brought to the surface again to be explored. I liked that Marlys is intellectual and driven in her career because she wants to help people. She is very compassionate which shows her softer side. Samuel is a perfect match for her because he admires her independence and the sacrifices she makes to benefit the lives of others. He's a bit hesitant to see if she has room in her life for him, but his son helps them bond and see the happiness that the love of being a family would bring.
This story has a fabulous beginning with a great hook- Colton marries Beatrix on her deathbed to provide a name for her soon to be born son... but she doesn't die! He instantly feels protective and concerned for her, and it doesn't wane after she recovers, but blossoms into care and affection. Their romance grows sweetly, I loved how he defends her and shows his regard for her in such sweet ways since he doesn't have any experience with relationships. He also has deeper issues about his past which brings another dimension to the story as Beatrix helps him turn to God for forgiveness. There is a bit of a language barrier in the beginning and a cultural dynamic such as the persecution against Austrians by those of German descent because of the war in Europe. Well-developed characters and a great plot made this a story I'll want to read again.
(I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher; all opinions in this review are my own)