Rich in faith, heart, and Christmas miracles, Christmas at Holly Hill by Martha Rogers is a delightful holiday read.
It’s Kansas, 1898, and Clay Barlow is just finished serving a five-year prison term for taking part in a bank robbery. The town isn’t welcoming him back with opens arms, but Clay is determined to ease his parents’ burdens at their mercantile now that he’s out of prison. The only other person in town who seems happy to see him is Merry Warner, the girl he was sweet on before she moved to Oklahoma several years ago. Now Merry is back in Kansas, teaching school and living with her family at the Holly Hill Orphanage, caring for the town’s orphans. She seems to still harbor feelings for him, but she is such a good person—she’s too good for an ex-con like Clay.
Merry knows Clay has changed since he was caught up with the Laramie gang years ago. But has he changed enough, especially in his relationship with God, to be the person he was meant to be? And when he starts keeping secrets, Merry wonders what goes on in Clay’s heart, or if there’s room in it for her at all.
Then tragedy strikes the town and two young people—a little boy and a shy, mysterious young woman—need both Clay and Merry to make their Christmas wishes come true.
Themes of forgiveness and redemption are intertwined with a plot that takes a few surprising twists into topics like child abuse and adoption. The story is wholesome and sweet. Christmas is foreshadowed throughout the story, but the final quarter of the book is redolent in signs of the season: pageants, jingle bells, and the town’s first-ever electric-lit Christmas tree.
Readers of inspirational historical romance looking for a wholesome Christmas read will enjoy Christmas at Holly Hill.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of review. A positive review was neither promised nor expected.