Far as the Curse is Found
by Amanda Barrat
This month I am reviewing each novella from the Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection. First up was Carolyn Miller’s “Heaven and Nature Sing.”
Today’s novella, “Far as the Curse if Found” by Amanda Barratt does not disappoint. While the tone and material is darker and less light-hearted than the other two, the characters in this story are probably my favorite. This story tends to feel more gothic in the reading because of the brokenness of the main characters, but the hope and love found within these chapters stick with you for a long time. Both the hero and hero carry scars–some visible, some not. It is a story that pulled at my heart-strings. In some ways, it reminded me of a Beauty and the Beast story–the disfigured recluse is changed by a woman who comes to live in his house and under his protection. The way the characters affect each other and come to life under each other’s influence makes me smile even now, more than a week after reading it. This story probably isn’t for everyone–it isn’t your typical light-hearted, sweet Christmas romance–but I definitely loved it. The characters are real. They struggle and need redemption. These characters are the type of people my heart breaks for and long to show the love of Christ to. Read it, you won’t regret it.
Genre: Historical Romance, England, 1816
One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?
What I loved: I loved the characters and their struggles. Maybe it’s because I’m working through my own story with broken characters in need of redemption, but the characters really touched my soul and evoked strong emotions.
Favorite Character and Why: Dwight, hands down. My heart was wrapped up in this man who hurt and struggled to move beyond the past. He had such an amazing heart, and I hurt for him. He struggled, grew, and changed the most throughout the story, and I love him for it.
Rating and Why: Five Stars. It was exactly the type of story I love to read. It contained a depth of emotion and truth that I haven’t often found in Christmas novellas. May authors err on the side of happy and upbeat, but Amanda Barratt tackled a tough story that shows the true beauty of Christmas.
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Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers Romance Collection
Stories by: Erica Vetsch, Amanda Barratt, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Gabrielle Meyer, Lorna Seilstad, and Kathleen Y’Barbo
I will admit, I have been waiting on pins and needles to read this collection of novellas. I absolutely LOVED the first collection, Seven Brides for Seven Texans, which I have just realized I did not review and will have to go back and do!
Collections always take me longer to read than just a normal book, just because it is broken up in to separate stories, but this one took me way less time than normal. Why? Because I thoroughly enjoyed how connected the stories were. I won’t dive into the details until below, but you really, really need to check out this collection.
Genre: Historical Romance, Texas Rangers, 1886
Plot Overview: A whole company of Texas Rangers is stationed in Hartville to round up and put an end to the notorious Markham Gang. Ruthless and far-reaching, this gang is no easy task to round up. Danger and trouble are guaranteed, but who would have guessed love?
What I loved: My favorite part of this type of collections is the deep connection between each story. Instead of seven completely different stories, it feels like one overarching story when you get a peek at each swoon-worthy hero. And who doesn’t swoon over men whose duty in life is to protect and serve? Each hero is depicted with his own quirks and individual personality, but they all have the common thread of a commitment that goes beyond the standard citizen.
I also LOVED how this book was set in the same place as Seven Brides for Seven Texans. Characters from past books reappeared and you got to see bits and pieces of the Hart brothers all over again. Books that connect and series that connect in this way are my absolute favorite.
Favorite Story: While all seven stories are good, my absolute favorite was The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo. (And actually I have changed this at least twice, so you know the stories are good.) I loved how the heroine was a determined spitfire and not one to just standby… which also leads to heaps of trouble. Ezra is a great hero with a soft heart.
Who would like this: Anyone who loves historical stories with strong heroes, heroes whose profession is a lawman, heroines who range from stubborn to docile, and dangerous situations that bring couples together. Those who especially like connected storylines will love this.
Rating and Why: I give this story 5 stars. If you haven’t figured it out, the connectedness of all the stories really bumps the rating up. However, the action, dialogue, and characters are all excellent. Some stories are better than others, but I can’t think of one that I did not enjoy, and usually, in a collection, there is one that I am meh on.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story on #netgalley through the publisher for review purposes. The opinions above are completely my own and not influenced in any way.
Join the Discussion: If you have read this collection, which Texas Ranger was your favorite? If you have not read it, what makes about a Texas Ranger makes you swoon?
Funny add in… Every time I write Texas Ranger the theme song of Walker, Texas Ranger plays through my head. Who doesn’t love Chuck Norris?