Friday, November 6, 2020

The Kissing Tree By Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese

The Kissing Tree
by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764236129

Ok, I'm going to be honest here. I sometimes get twitchy when it comes to novellas. They are such a hit or miss for me. BUT when you have these four authors combined in one book, how could I resist joining Nicole Deese's launch team?! She sent me the book as part of the team. Whew, I wasn't disappointed!

Summary:

In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak's bark.  

Regina Jennings - "Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts"
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer - "Inn for a Surprise"
Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise. 

Amanda Dykes - "From Roots to Sky"
WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they've shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese - "Heartwood"
Abby Brookshire's world is turned upside down when the historic tree she's strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she's been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?

My Review:

I'm going to say from the gate that this collection of novellas in The Kissing Tree exceeded my expectations! I was honestly surprised at how invested I became in the characters. By the time I reached novella three I was wondering about the characters from novellas one and two. And truth be told, I got a bit emotional as I began in the third one! By novella four, I wanted to carve initials into the tree!

We're introduced to the kissing tree in book one with Bella and Adam. I have to admit, one of my favorite tropes is when the characters have known each other in younger years. This story really sets us up for becoming fond of the story surrounding the tree, and let me tell you, Regina certainly does that! I became invested in the lives of those who are in the town and the tree.

The entire length of the book, you're given the chance to reflect on life in general. How it goes on around you, how it changes over the years, and really what your own legacy will be. I found myself very introspective while reading each novella.

Book two had me giggling so much! I've been a long time Karen Witemeyer fan and this might be one of my favorites! And a novella no less. Go figure. While I'm not typically a fan of people falling for each other "too soon", if it's well written, it works like a charm and it certainly did this time. Pheobe has met her match with Barnabas. Oh my goodness, the ways he refers to the Inn are hysterical! Probably my favorite part of this whole story!

Now, if you're into nostalgia, Amanda Dykes' story is for you! This one is on the deeper side and will pluck at your heartstrings! I loved how she weaves the letter and drawings from Luke and Danny into Hannah's world. I love it when I can see myself in a character, and I can definitely see a bit of me in Hannah. This story is sure to give you all the warm fuzzy feelings.

And lastly we have Nicole Deese's story. This one was a difficult one for me because I wasn't ready to leave the legacy of the kissing tree behind. I'd grown so fond of it I grew a bit teary eyed as I started her story. I'm pitiful. I know! This last book has two people coming back together to work together (hopefully) to save the kissing tree. Griffin and Abby are opposite sides of the same coin. I love how Nicole describes that what they do for careers may seem to work against each other, but actually work in tandem. As a gardener (would-be landscaper) I can actually appreciate what they both do. There's definitely humor in the story as well as pain and loss. Actually a lot of loss, and for more than just the main characters. It was a good, heartfelt ending to a wonderful collection of stories. I could honestly handle a lot more just like this one!

About the Authors:

Voted #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer(www.karenwitemeyer.com) offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

Regina Jennings (www.reginajennings.com) is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She's the winner of the National Readers' Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang Newsand at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

Amanda Dykes (www.amandadykes.com) is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She's a former English teacher and the author of Set the Stars Alight and Whose Waves These Are, an INSPY award winner and a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.

Nicole Deese's (www.nicoledeese.com) eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenoxseries. When she's not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.