A Spring/Easter Collection Anthology: Sweet

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Sweet Romance at its best in four complete stories of love, family, and/or inspiration: Love's Sweet Journey by Cindy Carrier; A Polish Heart by Stephanie Burkhart; Lilies of Hope by Markee Anderson; and Easter Promise by Kate Kindle. Each tale is based on a Spring/Easter setting, but these stories are good reading anytime of the year. More

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Review by: Stephanie Burkhart on June 16, 2011 : star star star star star
Synposis of the stories

Love's Sweet Journey
By: Cindy Carrier

Set in Wyoming, 1872, "Love's Sweet Journey" is a historical western. Juliet Chandler is traveling to Denver with her younger siblings to claim her inheritance. Along the way she meets Stormy Tucker, an outlaw on his way to jail. Sparks fly between Stormy and Juliet. When their transportation is raided, will Stormy take advantage and seek his freedom or follow his heart and stay, knowing it means that eventually he will go to jail?

A Polish Heart
By: Stephanie Burkhart

Darrin Riverton is an architect who travels to Warsaw, Poland to help with the construction of the National Stadium, a 56,000 seat soccer stadium. Sofia Buraczynski is Darrin's interpreter. As Easter grows closer, Darrin finds himself falling for his beautiful translator. Sofia's faith gives Darrin the courage to get in touch with his own. When it's time for Darrin to leave, will he follow his heart or do what his parents have always expected of him?

Author's Note: I enjoyed doing the research on this story. It's just wonderful to see how Eastern Europe is flourishing. My favorite book in the Bible was the book of Proverbs, and I was delighted that I could use it in this story.

Lilies of Hope
By: Markee Anderson

Alexis is a new teacher in Julia, Mississippi. She identified a "troubled" student, Caleb, only to discover that he comes from an abusive home. Dr. Jasper O'Malley has been looking for Caleb and his sister. When Caleb's mother dies, she leaves him a lily of hope. Will it inspire Alexis and Jasper to give the children the home they long for?

Easter Promise
By: Kate Kindle

Set in rural Maine, Roberta cares for her elderly aunt, but money is tight. When Roberta helps a homeless man named Manley, he offers to return the favor by aiding her in setting up a florist shop. Will their affection grow into love?
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Diane Craver on April 03, 2011 : star star star star star
Authors Cindy Carrier, Stephanie Burkhart, Markee Anderson, and Kate Kindle wrote delightful and heartwarming stories in A Spring/Easter Collection – Anthology: Sweet. Sometimes in an anthology, there might be one story that I don’t like as well, but this isn’t the case in this collection of stories. I thoroughly enjoyed each one and appreciated the variety.

I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of western historical romances, but Cindy Carrier won me over immediately in the story, Love’s Sweet Journey, with her characters, Juliet Chandler and Sebastian Tucker. Sebastian’s nickname is Stormy, which definitely fits him. His cousin, U.S. Marshall Everett Gibbs is taking him to jail since he robbed a bank. Everett is also responsible for taking orphans, seventeen-year-old Juliet and her two siblings to Denver. Juliet needs to arrive by her eighteenth birthday in order to collect her inheritance, so she can take care of her baby sister and young brother. Juliet’s heart beats faster around handsome Stormy, which causes her stress. She doesn’t want to fall in love with a criminal, even though he’s a kind and unusual one. Although Stormy is attracted to Juliet, too, he feels unworthy to even be thinking about her.

Carrier’s story continues to cleverly include roadblocks to Juliet’s journey to reach Denver by the required time. This story is short, but it has a bit of everything – compassion, adventure, and sweet romance with a dash of excitement thrown in the mix.

The second story, A Polish Heart, is a wonderful and fascinating read by Stephanie Burkhart. It’s a contemporary romance and the setting is the beautiful city of Warsaw, Poland. American architect Darrin Riverton is hired to look at the next plans of construction at the National Stadium in Warsaw. At the airport, he’s pleased to see his translator, Sofia Buraczynski, is a beautiful woman. He learns quickly that her beauty isn’t just on the outside. She has a depth of character and openness about her Catholic faith that is quite unlike the women his parents want him to date. Even while in Warsaw, his parents insist he return home for Easter. His mother wants Darrin to spend time with one of their superficial women friends for show only. Darrin’s soul opens to a newfound faith because of Sofia’s refreshing honesty and spirituality. Learning about Sofia and her family’s Polish Easter traditions is a nice addition to this story.

Burkhart’s writing caused me to fall in love with Warsaw, even though I’ve never been there. Her descriptions of the setting and culture made me feel like I was experiencing firsthand Poland’s interesting country. Burkhart’s dialogue and romantic scenes make this story a page turner.

Lilies of Hope by Markee Anderson is a contemporary romance with a big conflict right off the bat between third grade teacher, Alexis Jensen and Dr. Jasper O’Malley. School board president, Dr. O’Malley, walks into her classroom with no warning. After observing Miss Jensen teach for a few minutes, he angrily accuses her of unfair treatment of Caleb, one of her students. He explains that Caleb has a troubled and abusive home life. Later, he calls her to apologize but she’s hesitant to believe him. He invites himself to her apartment and helps her bake cookies. The phone dialogue and the cookie scene are fun to read. Jasper becomes enamored of the lovely blonde teacher while she doesn’t want a man in her life…not even the kind and good-looking doctor. After Caleb’s father kills his mother and shoots himself, Caleb and his little sister, Christy, have no relative in Mississippi to take care of them. Jasper ups his romancing of Alexis because he loves her and wants to get married quickly to give the children a stable home.

Anderson’s a pro at writing fun and crisp dialogue that moves the story along at a nice pace. She makes a meaningful connection to Easter by her use of an old clay pot in the story. The children hold on to the pot of dirt because of their mother’s belief. She told them good things happen when lilies bloom from the pot of dirt. It represents faith and hope to the children. With Easter symbolizing new life in Christ, the pot of blooming lilies is a beautiful concrete example of God’s incredible love for us.

Easter Promise by Kate Kindle is the last story in this anthology. Roberta Lannon is a woman with a big heart and moves from sunny Florida to Maine to take care of her dying aunt. Roberta’s past and present life seems to be dull, unrewarding and uncreative. Her former job was working as a lowly hospital cleaning lady. Now she’s devoted to her handicapped aunt, which turns out to be a permanent situation with little social life for the young woman. Aunt Vi doesn’t die as expected and thrives under Roberta’s loving care and attention. Roberta’s and Aunt Vi’s prayers result in some wonderful changes. A dream of Roberta’s causes her to investigate an unused greenhouse on her aunt’s property. The possibilities of raising vegetables in the greenhouse excite Roberta of what she might be able to accomplish. When romantic interest, Manley Rogers, enters the story, Roberta’s life is no longer boring but beams with hope for a bright future. A little girl, Jessica, adds another layer of richness to Roberta’s life.

Kindle writes wonderful descriptions of the Maine coastline during March. I felt the rush of the seawater as I read her prose. An important message in Easter Promise is not to be judgmental of those with less than exciting jobs. God gives each of us important gifts and talents and how we use those blessings is up to us. Roberta lives her simple life more fully than people with so- called greater advantages. Easter Promise will touch readers’ hearts in a special way.

I highly recommend A Spring/Easter Collection Anthology: Sweet for your reading enjoyment.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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