Monday, December 7, 2015

A Shenandoah Family Christmas by Lisa Belcastro Giveaway

This Christmas treat is part of the Winds of Change series. I've not read any others in the series yet I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. The link to enter the giveaway it at the end of this review.

It seems there is time travel involved. Our main character, Rebecca, has traveled through a time portal back to 1777. Our story picks up when Rebecca has been there two years and is married to Ben, the captain of a tight ship, the Shenandoah. They have a one year old daughter.

It is nearing Christmas but tension is in the air. Rebecca's daughter has a high fever and she fears influenza, deadly in this time period. Her husband suspects smallpox since his first mate has succumbed to the disease. The only answer might be the outlawed cowpox vaccine. Ben sends his brother and two others through a blizzard to the nearby doctor who has the life saving medicine. Ben and Rebecca pray the men will succeed in their journey before it's too late.

This is an enjoyable short read. There is suspense as Rebecca and Ben await the vaccine. The men have to make it through a terrible blizzard so that heightens the suspense. There is also a hint of romance involving one of the men on the journey. That's going to be the next story, I think.

I always like to learn a little something when I read fiction and this time it is about Isaac Watts and the hymns he wrote. In an Author's Note, we learn of Belcastro's research, making sure her characters sang hymns that were available in 1777. I also learned about smallpox and its treatment by using the cowpox vaccine, a sister illness. It was interesting to read about General George Washington's decision to use the vaccine. It was also interesting to learn about how the colonists celebrated Christmas, or rather, didn't celebrate it. It was a solemn holiday in colonial times.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas novella and recommend it for a satisfying evening's read.

My rating: 5/5 stars

Lisa Belcastro sets her stories on Martha's Vineyard, where she lives. Her debut novel, Shenandoah Nights, won the Christian Small Publishers Association Romance Book of the Year in 2014 and the RWA New England Chapter's Reader's Choice Award that same year. Shenandoah Nights and Shenandoah Crossings, the second novel in the Winds of Change series, were finalists in the SELAH Award and The Carolyn Readers Award, Inspirational Romance category, as well as other awards. She is an ambassador for TEAM 413 and writes a cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine. You can find out more at www.lisabelcastro.com.

Washashore Publishing, 124 pages. You can purchase a copy here.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novella through Celebrate Lit for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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