HUCKLEBERRY CHRISTMAS – Jennifer Beckstrand
The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series, Book 3
Present Day Bonduel, Wisconsin and Huckleberry Hill
Anna Helmuth is up to her old tricks. After sixty-three years of a happy marriage, there is nothing she likes more than making sure everyone else has a chance at the same. She recently matched up two of her lonely grandchildren, now it's on to one of the next generation. She sends for her great granddaughter, Beth, a young widow with a going on two year-old son. She knows the perfect boy for her. Too bad Beth has her head dead set against ever marrying again. It didn't take long for Beth to become disillusioned by a demanding and critical husband, and hen another year with her tyrannical in-laws after Amos's death. By the time the welcome letter came from Anna offering her a home, Beth was grateful to escape, even though that brought on feelings of guilt. The unhappy years left Beth without faith in herself or a belief in true love…or even a trust that God is looking out for her. Her Mammi Anna has a hard job ahead of her.
As Tyler Yoder, the man Annie picked out for Beth, drives his buggy to the Helmuth place, a toddler runs out onto the road in front of his horses. Tyler manages to avoid the boy and runs to see to him. Beth looks out too late to see the whole; she only sees what looks like a strange man spanking her son…her protective instincts get all fired up. This is not at all the way Anna would have the two meet.
Tyler is a wonderful character, kind and hardworking on his large dairy with his father, the bishop. He's a little leery of girls after his former fiancée married another (In book two, HUCKLEBERRY SUMMER). He's wonderful with Toby, though, and is intrigued by the feistiness of Beth—a trait she has only recently acquired along with her longing for independence. As I said, Annie Banannie, as her loving Felty calls her, has a hard job ahead. Many of the family and locals from the earlier books appear to add to the whole. Though most are good people, Beth's selfish in-laws provide plenty of conflict.
For a sweet and innocent story with buckets of humor, I highly recommend HUCKLEBERRY CHRISTMAS, and watch for a Huckleberry Hill novella in AN AMISH CHRISTMAS QUILT, an anthology due out in November.