Cover Image: Love's Pure Light

Love's Pure Light

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Member Reviews

- A country-town pastor from the city who has never felt that he lived up to his parents' expectations and feels incompetent to help his flock receives help from an unexpected visitor.
- A train journey allows time to share problems - and leads to their resolution.
- A man who feels that his part in the war was trifling and insignificant reunites with a woman whose nursing work landed her in a prisoner of war camp - but their previous friendship is threatened by their pasts and working together to raise money for returned soldiers introduces a new factor in the form of a Hollywood star...
- A woman lands her dream job and a mutual attraction grows between her and her boss, but the job is temporary - will one end with the other?

A warm and touching collection of novellas, each of which was enjoyable on its own, but which grouped together to form a lovely collection joined by a nativity set. Just the sort of book to snuggle up with on a cold night - or at any other time, really. They're all clean and well written, and felt satisfying rather than either rushed or incomplete like many novellas. A couple of the authors were new to me, but I would happily read more by any of them.

Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
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Love's Pure Light by Susanne Dietze, et al.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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These stories were fairly well written with nice plot lines and characters. The plots were a bit predictable and well used but I still enjoyed the read. Each had a fun connection with the Christmas season and I loved reading about the traditions each group of people shared. I would recommend this book as a good Christmas time read but don't think it will be added to my shelves to re-read anytime soon. 

I received this temporary complimentary E-book from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley in order to provide a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
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Oh my gosh I never wanted the book to finish, I just love Christmas Stories but Christmas stories the follow on are just wonderful. Thees writer seem to have a beautiful way of making the nativity set come to life in each story.
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I loved reading this boxed set and following the story of the hand carved nativity through the different generations and seeing how God's love worked in each story.  These books would be good to read anytime, not just at Christmas.  In the first book, Miss Jessalyn Grant has come to visit her uncle, Francis Chester the owner of the local mill and a man who turned from God when his wife passed away.  She meets Reverend Seth Shepherd who is struggling with his own lack of faith and purpose.  Read the book to see how Jessalyn, her faith and a hand carved nativity help to lead Seth and Francis back to God and his purpose.
In the second story, Jessalyn and Seth's daughter, Stella is travelling on a train with Jessalyn's Aunt Lila and they meet the three Wise brothers who are each named after a gift from the three wise men.  The youngest brother, Nat is a wood carver and Stella eventually tells him about and shows him her family's heirloom nativity that her mom sent with her incase Stella did not make it home for Christmas.  See how things work out to add a new piece to the nativity.
The third story is about Elodie Wise and Benjamin Gabriel.  Elodie was a nurse in Panama during WW 2 and was captured during the fall of Bataan and was held captive for three years.  Her lifelong friend, Benjamin also served, but he was used as a glorified babysitter for an actor who signed up to join.  Now they are both back home and trying to find their way and purpose.  Read and see what happens to  their relationship and how another piece gets added to the hand carved nativity.
The last book is about Elodie and Benjamin's great grand daughter, Benjie Gabriel who is a newly certified chef in need of a job.  She applies for the temporary position of head chef at Keye's Inn where she and her Mimi went to two tea parties.  She meets and is hired by Trevor Keye the new owner.  Read about their relationship and the surprise visit  of the handcarved  nativity and a surprise new piece of two.

Thanks to Netgalley, the authors and Barbour Books for allowing me to read an ARC of this book,  This is my freely given review of these stories and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.
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Loves Pure Light is a collection of four Christmas novellas that follow a nativity set through several generations. This is a wonderful collection of stories that show the importance of family and family traditions that are handed down through many generations. I enjoyed reading this story and seeing how the nativity set started out with just a few beautifully made pieces and grew through time. This is a great book to get lost in to help prepare our heart for the upcoming Christmas season, as well as to help remind the reader of the real reason for Christmas. Each of the stories are short enough to read in just an evening and contain friendships that grow. Each of the stories also contain good messages. I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher through NetGalley, this is my honest review.
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Love’s Pure Light is a compilation of four Christmas stories by well-known Christian authors.
While Shepherds are Keeping by Susanne Dietz: Set in 1899 this short story emphasizes the importance of the shepherds in our lives from pastors to neighbors. A new face is in church this Christmas season, visiting her uncle for holidays. Jessalyn Grant soon discover her uncle intends to close the mill that is the town’s livelihood. Is there a way to save it before Christmas?
The Wise Guy and the Star by Shannon McNear: Set in 1919 in South Carolina. The next generation Jessalyn’s daughter, Stella is going on an adventure with her aunt. On the train they meet the three Wise guys. Will one of them turn Stella’s heart?
On Angel Wings by Janine Rosche: Hope Hill MO 1945. We meet the children of Stella. One of them has been a nurse during the war and her best friend an airplane mechanic overseas. Both are safely home but will they be able to overcome the horrors of war to help others heal?
Making Room at the Inn by Deborah Raney: The next generation is Benjie Gabriel, female chef. She longs for a full-time job and interviews for a temporary position at Keye’s Inn hoping it might become full time. She makes discoveries at the inn that she didn’t think possible.
Each story is unique and builds on the previous one as we follow the family through the generations. I enjoyed everyone of them. There is a nativity that originates in the first story and follows the family members in subsequent generations. All does not always flow smoothly but by the end of each story issues are ironed out through various twists and turns. I give this book 5 of 5 stars. Very nicely wr9itten by four talented authors.
I received an advance copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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A wonderful collection of heartwarming Christmas stories that cross four generations!  Each story tells the love story for that generation and involves a hand-carved nativity set that gets passed down through the generations. The stories are cleverly intertwined, very well written with endearing characters, and full of family history and traditions.  This book would be a great addition to any Christmas story collection!
Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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This is a wonderful collection of Christmas stories which are faith based. Each story is very heart warming and sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. The stories all fit together. 
Many thanks to Barbour Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Each of the stories in this Christmas Anthology is delightful! I have been familiar with the works of all the authors except Susanne Dietze and was glad for the opportunity to get to know and enjoy her writing as well.

Some time had passed between the time I read the synopsis and when I started reading it. So I was caught off guard partway into the second story when I realized Stella was Seth and Jessy's daughter. (They are in the first story.) It wasn't until midway through the third story that I realized what you probably just read in the synopsis, that these stories are linked through family and a nativity set which was passed down from generation to generation.

One of the things I especially enjoyed in all the stories was the way one of the characters in each related to a different piece of the nativity than the others did. And it often tied in to their name or something about the person (or both!) in a clever way. For example, Seth Shepherd, the pastor, related to the shepherd. Many of the main character names appeared to be selected very carefully, first and last names in some cases. I love when authors do this!!

I enjoyed every one of the stories in this collection and can not pick a favorite. Each was special in its own way. There were some especially poignant spiritual messages in two that stood out to me.

In While Shepherds Watch are Keeping by Susanne Dietze, I was very moved by Seth's realization that he had been seeking the Lord for what He could provide in his time of need more than simply seeking the Lord. I find that I can trust the Lord most days but have times when I do just what Seth did. It was a powerful reminder.

The Wise Guy and the Star by Shannon McNear had a powerful message about how we often mistake pride for humility. And that it is pride to think our sin is too big for God to forgive. Wow!

It is a treat to have Christmas stories point to the real reason we celebrate the season, Jesus. If you enjoy romance that focuses on Jesus first, you are bound to love the stories in Love's Pure Light!
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I am looking forward to reading all the stories in this book. I will continue reading them between books. I’ve read the first novella so far and so love the fact that the storyline will continue. I really enjoyed the first novella in the collection, written by Susanne Dietz. Definitely recommend this collection for anytime of the year, but especially during Christmas!
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I love this collection of four uplifting, heart-warming Christmas novellas gifted by four very talented authors.  These stories chronicle the journey of a treasured nativity set through four generations of the Shepherd family spanning the years from 1899 to present time with an intriguing ending.  Although each novella is written in each author’s unique style, they all blend together seamlessly like chapters in a single book.  These faith-filled, easy to read stories resonate with messages of peace, reconciliation, acceptance, trust, and family.  The characters are engaging and memorable.  A touch of humor and romance add to the enjoyment of the read.  I especially like the inclusion of scripture from the Christmas story that is pertinent to each stage of the journey as pieces are added to the set—shepherd, wise men, angel, innkeeper and innkeeper’s wife.  I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it as a delightful Christmas read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley but am under no obligation to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.
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Four stories of Christmas spanning multiple generations. 

The first story, "While Shepherds Watch Are Keeping" was a passable story--a quick romance, with several convenient situations allowing everything to fall into place. Several editing flaws that took away from the story for me. This story did not captivate me.

The second story, "The Wise Guy" had a lot of potential, but seemed more of a train robbery story than a romance. Again, the story needs more editing. I had a hard time finishing this one.

The third, "On Angel Wings" was definitely enjoyable. The war-time trauma of the main character potentially added depth to the character, but at times her ability to press on with little repercussions was hard to believe. BUT the romance was definitely sweet and an enjoyable read. 

The finally installment, "Making Room at the Inn" was everything a charming Christmas story should be. Fun, endearing romance that wrapped up all too quickly.

What I Liked: 
I enjoyed discovering how the nativity passed from generation to generation with special additions each time. I thought name for each family (or character) cleverly carried the theme. 

What I didn’t like: Pacing and lack of editing on the first two stories. 


Readers should be aware:I don't recall any significant issues. The stories all maintained a Biblical worldview and embodied good Christian Christmas romances. 


Issues included (touched on): 
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Love's Pure Light is four novellas that focus on the Christmas season and the Christmas story.  A heirloom nativity set makes it way from 1899 through present day.  Each brings joy, hope, a sprinkling of faith, and the real reason for the Christmas.  They take place during times of crisis.  I love how Deborah Raney was able to pull the whole collection together.  I loved these stories and their meaning for the season.  I received a copy through Netgalley.  A review was not required.
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An absolute must read for all lovers of Christmas joy! Snuggle up, relax, and savor the sweetness of these novellas. The premise is captivating, follow a treasured family nativity through the ages, and the execution is inspiring. I loved how the stories offer a continuation from the previous one. All of the authors are very talented and bring their own gifts and talents to stories that blend together seamlessly. I highly recommend this collection of Christmas novellas to all who enjoy clean, Inspirational, sweet, romantic Christmas stories. 
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own, freely given.
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While I have read interconnected anthologies before, even a similar one with a Christmas theme and following an heirloom across generations, this group of authors truly made the concept their own, resulting in one of the best Barbour anthologies I’ve read so far. 

“While Shepherds Watch Are Keeping” by Susanne Dietze

4 stars

A delightful starter, and I liked the message of feeling lost and working to find one’s identity through Jesus Christ, which even I can appreciate as a bit of a skeptic who still appreciates Jesus’ teachings, but can’t stand the oppressive dogma attached to them over the centuries. I could appreciate that Seth tried to do his best for his congregation, and even helped to influence the lives of some of them, while also being enlightened by Jessalyn himself. 

“The Wise Guy and the Star” by Shannon McNear

4 stars

Another enjoyable story as the nativity set shows up again and works its “magic.” I liked the continued thread of finding faith, with Stella helping war veteran Nate, and he her in return. 

“On Angel Wings” by Janine Rosche

5 stars 

This one was pure sweetness! Friends-to-lovers is my absolute favorite trope, and this one hit it out of the park in that regard. I love how the friendship between Elodie and Benjamin served as the perfect foundation for their romance, but it took Elodie time to see it that way, especially when blinded by admiration for the flashy film star. 

“Making Room at the Inn” by Deborah Raney 

4 stars

I loved seeing it all come together in the modern day with this one. Benjie and Trevor’s relationship was another with a strong basis in friendship, and I liked that progression. I also really liked the sense of Benjie reminiscing on her family history, connecting to the previous stories in a subtle way, but more so than the others. 

***

This anthology is wonderful, full of faith and hope, tracking a family from the turn of the twentieth century through two world wars up to the present. If you love holiday stories with family at the center, definitely pick this one up.
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What a delightful collection of Christmas novellas. I enjoyed each one of them, and what made it even more fun for me is that each story follows the descendants of the people in the first story.

While Shepherds Watch Are Keeping by Suzanne Dietze
Jessalyn Grant is a visitor to town to spend Christmas with her uncle. She jumps right in to help this church community. I really enjoyed the Christmastime story of Seth (pastor) and Jessalyn searching for home, belonging, and their value in Christ. We learn about a special family nativity set that included a shepherd, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph carved in wood by Jessalyn's grandfather.
Favorite Quote: "I'm comforted to know I'm not the only person who sometimes wishes God would draw me a signpost."

The Wise Guy and the Star by Shannon McNear
Right off the bat, I enjoyed the dedication. "Dedication to the staff at the Osceola and Central Valley railway fall colors express and Peter Jackson for his excellent documentary work in "They shall not grow old"!! I have ridden on that railway and saw that documentary last year.

Stella Shepherd (Seth and Jessalyn's daughter) with her aunt Lila Montgomery, meet Mervin "Nat" Wise & his brothers Goldwin and Frank, (the "three wise guys"!) on a long train voyage. The brothers had just returned home from war. Despite their injuries, the brothers' humor was infectious and made the trip more enjoyable. All three had served in France. Nat was healing from a leg wound and some of his decisions overseas. He has a fondness for wood carving and happens to be carving wise men for a nativity scene. Stella is a pastor's daughter that Nat thinks is out of his league. I loved this charming story!

One of my favorite quotes: "Thank You that You are with us and everything. In the heartache and the loss. In the mud of the trenches and all the blood. You are with us now.... You are with us, and that truly is enough."

I really enjoyed The Wise Guy and The Star! And I always enjoy the part of the story where I come upon the title which happens in this story.

On Angels Wings by Janine Rosche
I loved Janine's story with Elodie Lila Wise and Benjamin Gabriel- best friends each serving in WWII, one in Europe, and one in the Philippines. One is injured and one is a prisoner of war. I love historical fiction and I googled the Army Nurse Corps "Angels of Bataan" after I finished this wonderful story! Such well-developed characters, I was rooting for Elodie and Benjamin.
Fun to see the next generation that came from the marriage of Stella and Nat. The tie-in to the nativity set is a bronze angel that Ben brought home from war.

Making Room At The Inn by Deborah Raney
I really enjoyed this contemporary story set at Keye's Inn Bed & Breakfast.
Elodie's great-granddaughter Benjie (who was named after Elodie and Benjamin) has graduated from culinary school and is applying for a temporary job as a chef at the Inn. Trevor Keye is the owner of the Inn needs all the help he can get. He loves woodworking and creating beautiful and useful items for the Inn as well as for selling in local festivals. It's interesting to see what happened to the nativity scene over the decades. I love the tie-in statues in this story!

I highly recommend this wonderful Christmas novella collection!
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Overall, I really enjoyed Love's Pure Light.  The concept of passing down a sentimental nativity from generation to generation was a great book idea.  I especially liked the fact that each story added a piece to the collection, and the figurines that were added connected directly to one of the characters.  Getting to know different generations of a family makes for a great novella collection.  I also liked the fact that the women in these stories were credited for having various abilities.

The first novella, "While Shepherds Watch Are Keeping" by Susanne Dietze is set in Massachusetts, 1899. I had never read any books by this author, and I would definitely read another one of her books. The family situations were complicated in this one. Trying to meet with family approval is never easy. This almost had a twist of a Christmas Carol in the story. This one also had a real community feel.

The second novella, "The Wise Guy and the Star" by Shannon McNear is set primarily on a train ride (what a great setting!) from Charleston, South Carolina, to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1919. The after affects of the war played into this story. I thought it was interesting getting the perspective of what life was like for World War 1 veterans. I had not read any books by Shannon McNear either, but I would also be willing to read more of her titles.  The railroads would have still been an important part of transportation in 1919, and I enjoyed reading about how travel would have changed from earlier train travel.

The third novella, "On Angel Wings" by Janine Rosche is set in Kansas City, Missouri, 1945.  I have read Janine's first full-length contemporary novel and enjoyed that. Sometimes authors cannot tackle both modern and historical perspectives, but I think Janine handles both very well. I really enjoyed this one. She touched on a part of history that I have not read enough about - the forced march in the Philippines that included women and children in World War 2. The female main character had been held hostage, and she gradually told her story. The male main character had also been a part of the war effort, but he did not feel like his contributions were noteworthy.  Part of the book was about both of them finding ways to come to grips about their part in World War 2. But this book also talked about 1940's Hollywood, so while there was drama in the story, the book did not feel heavy.  This story might have been the most believable since it was about longtime friends admitting that they did in fact love each.  

The fourth novella, "Making Room at the Inn: by Deborah Raney is set in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Present Day. I would have really liked this book if it would have been a separate story. The idea of a female chef working in a bed and breakfast was a great idea. I liked the fact that male B & B owner was a wood carver - that is a rare modern hobby. The concept of learning how to forgive was a strong theme. But, there were some connection mistakes made between this book and the other novellas. The female talks about coming to the inn with her paternal great grandma and seeing the nativity on their hearth when really it was the maternal side of the family that had the set.  Also the paternal grandmother had died while the son had fought in the war and the older generation had never been mentioned, so there was an odd detail that did not connect. To go from World War 2 to modern day involved a skipped generation, but those details were murky and confusing.  Because I am a writer/researcher, this fact confusion distracted me from the story.  I have read and enjoyed many of Deborah Raney's books, and I wish that someone would have caught the connection error.  
For me, that distraction made the book be a 4.5 star review. I will round it up to 5 star because I enjoyed all of the others.  The final novella would have been a great stand alone, but the connection details did not work.

Thank you to Barbour Books and to NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I must say that I have not read very many Christmas books in August. But I am glad that I requested this one. I reviewed it now and will be recommending it highly in December.
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Love’s Pure Light 
by Susanne Dietze; Shannon McNear; Deborah Raney; Janine Rosche
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
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Description from NetGalley...
“Be transported to unique time periods as you follow a treasured family nativity set through four generations of the Shepherd family.
 
Massachusetts, 1899 - This Christmas, Pastor Seth Shepherd has little to offer his flock of congregants in their time of need until Jessalyn Grant, a mysterious newcomer, comes to his aid.
 
Charleston, South Carolina, to Kansas City, Missouri, 1919 - While journeying by train, Stella Shepherd befriends war veteran Nat Wise. She helps him find renewed faith in God, but could he also be the answer to the wanderings of her own heart?
 
Kansas City, Missouri, 1945 - Elodie Wise plans a fundraising ball with the help of her friend Benjamin Gabriel. But can she look past the swanky Hollywood headliner to see the man who truly loves her?
 
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Present Day - Benjie Gabriel thinks the chef’s position she’s just taken at an award-winning bed and breakfast is temporary—just a stepping stone. The B&B’s owner, Trevor Keye, thinks the same. Will five months be long enough for them to figure out that what they’ve each been longing for, praying for, is right beneath their noses?”
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Thank you to @NetGalley #barbourpublishing #barbourbooks for the digital ARC in return for my honest review.
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My thoughts...
A Nativity set. Stories of this family heirloom that passed down generations were heart-warming. In this book, you kind of get four Christian Christmas romance stories in one. There are also some historical fiction aspects, as a couple of the stories touched on the impact/aftermath of wars. All the four authors are new to me, but I really enjoyed their storytelling. The stories have the cozy, small town feel. It also told stories of strong women. Overall, the book was a quick and charming read.
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I really liked the idea of an heirloom nativity set being passed through the generations. Each story was unique. My favorite was The Wise Guy and The Star. I enjoyed reading a bit from each of these authors. Their stories and writing worked well together. This is a great set of stories to get you in the mood for Christmas!



I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Tales of love and redemption that take you on a journey through several generations are the perfect way to relax and unwind. Each novella was wonderfully written and captured my attention quite easily. I love all things Christmas (except the stress) and this was a wonderul collection to discover. 
i did receive a digital copy on Netgalley but I freely give my honest review.
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