About the Book
Book: Keeping Christmas: Volume One
Authors: Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Olivia Talbott, Kathleen J. Robison, Denise L. Barela, Marguerite Martin Gray, and Naomi Craig.
Genre: Christian Christmas Romance
Release date: October 4, 2022
In castles far and near, long ago and yesterday, find happily-ever-afters wrapped in love and tied with Christmas joy.
The Lights of Castlebourne (by Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig): He bowled her over at first sight–his dog, that is. Sydney just wanted a chance to do the landscape design at Castlebourne. She never dreamed the owner’s electrician would light up her heart at Christmas.
The Girl From Dalarna (by Olivia Talbott): She’s the most beautiful woman in Sweden, but she doesn’t want to be. A simple life among milk cows is all she desires. Will a scandal upend her plans and ruin her chances for love?
The Cross at Morioka Castle (by Kathleen J. Robison): In the ancient land of shoji screens and tatami mats, Ariko finds the stone ruins of Morioka Castle, and the mysterious cross that holds the secret of a Christian faith extending far deeper than Ariko ever imagined.
The Ghost of Christmas… (by Denise L. Barela): Abbigayl needs to get away for Christmas this year. No family, no questions about why she’s still single, no suggestion about being set up with someone’s friend. What will happen when Neuschwanstein Castle’s past converges with Abbigayl’s future?
Crystal Clear (by Marguerite Martin Gray): Rosalind’s muddied past and foggy future crystalize in Château Chenonceau, a refuge from gossip and more. Watch as the château and Christmas work their magic and break the bonds of propriety, and rejoice as Rosalind experiences the crystal-clear hints of peace, joy, and hope all around her.
The Weary World Rejoices (by Naomi Craig): Behind the elaborate furnishings of Herod the Great’s palace, conspiracy and distrust run rampant. Mysterious visitors from the east challenge everything Amal thinks he knows as palace scribe. Will his quest to uncover the Truth free him from the ornate shackles of palace life, or will he be the next victim of King Herod’s maniacal jealousy?
Grab a mug of something hot and delicious and curl up somewhere comfy. Your literary chariots await to take you on a journey from an early twentieth-century castle overlooking the Mississippi all the way back to the Holy Land at the time of Jesus’ birth. These six novellas, all set in castles real and fictional, celebrate the heart and joy of Christmas.
Click here to get your copy!
Guest Review from Donna
What I think you should know:
Keeping Christmas Volume One is a compilation of Christmas themed Novellas. In addition to the Christmas theme they are all centered around a castle in one form or another. The time frames of the book range from the time of Herod to contemporary with a nice mix of times and setting so there should be something for every reader.
What I think about this book:
Each of these stories were unique and compelling. I highly recommend this book and would read other books by each of these authors.
The Light of Castlebourne by Cathe Swanson and Chautona Havig is a contemporary story. I really enjoyed both of the main characters, Sydney and Philip as well as the supporting characters. Sydney was a neat character, I enjoyed how she loved landscaping and plants and didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. Philip was slightly more frustrating at times, but it all came together to make a really fun story. I really look forward to reading the series.
The Girl From Dalarna by Olivia Talbott is a historical fiction set in 1833 Sweden. It was a very emotional story, Linnea had to leave her family and home and go to a larger city to try to provide for her mother and sisters after her father’s death. Despite her exceptional beauty she was shy with a stutter and just wanted to be left alone to do her job. It was very interesting to read the story and see how her life changed. I really appreciated Rane and think that everyone should have a Rane in their life.
The Cross at Morioka Castle by Kathleen J. Robinson is a contemporary story set in Japan. I found this story extremely fascinating . I loved Ariko and the beautiful way that she honored her faith as well as her family. I enjoyed reading about some of the differences between Japanese culture and American culture. I would love to read more books like this!
The Ghost of Christmas by Denise L. Barela is a contemporary story set in Neuschwanstein Castle. I will admit I am a huge fan of Neuschwanstein Castle so I automatically geeked when I found out that it was the setting for this story. Abbi jumps at a chance to spend Christmas at Neuschwanstein and is swept into the magic of the Castle.This is the second book that I have read by Barela and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I would love to see a series based on the characters who live and work in the castle.
Crystal Clear by Marguerite Martin Gray is a historical fiction set mostly in 1879 France. It follows Rosalind who is sent to stay in France after her older sister causes a scandal by breaking her betrayal with a Viscount. This was a very sweet story with realistic characters.
The Weary World Rejoices by Naomi Craig is a historical fiction set in the time of King Herod in Jerusalem. I really enjoyed this story. It was unique and fascinating. That is a beautiful, heartbreaking and meaningful story. I can’t imagine being in Amal’s shoes, it was very eye opening. I definitely recommend this story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.
About the Authors
USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
Cathe Swanson writes books with creative plots and engaging characters of all ages, to glorify God and entertain and bless readers. Her heartwarming stories will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.
Olivia Talbott grew up in Montana, but currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two daughters, a few sheep and a border collie. She loves words, traveling, pickles and having deep conversations about how Jesus changes everything. Visit her at oliviatalbott.com.
Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American, born in Okinawa, and raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels and her family are the sources of her inspiration for her books. Kathleen and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with eighteen grandchildren and counting. Her ethnically diverse background extends to her family of currently thirty-five personalities which provide many opportunities to share God’s amazing love amidst the challenges of real life.
Denise L. Barela is a twenty-something-year-old writer with a passion for fiction, her faith, and just being creative in general. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…
Marguerite Gray enjoys the study of history, especially when combined with fiction. An avid traveler and reader, she teaches French and Spanish and has degrees in French, Spanish, and Journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a MA in English from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in north Louisiana. She writes historical fiction.
Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church, trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes or convincing her rescue dog, Freeway, to be cute on command for Instagram reels, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory with Naomi and Lisa, an author interview show on YouTube and your podcast platform of choice.
More from Denise
I’m excited to share this set of stories with you! All the authors have worked hard to bring you some Christmas joy and magic. We’ve each picked a castle to center our stories around. I mean, Christmas and castles go well together, don’t you think? You’ll get to explore different castles in different time periods while also getting to know all the characters in each story. That’s a lot of new friends to make!
For my story, I jumped on the chance to write about a castle that inspired the castle that always brought me joy growing up (if I’m being honest, it still brings me joy). I’ve always been a huge Disney nerd, and Princess Aurora has always been my favorite Disney princess. Growing up, I was blessed to be able to visit Disneyland for most of my life, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle was my favorite thing (I was so sad when they closed the walk-through part for several years). Even without the attraction part of it, I loved walking into the park and seeing it stand at the end of Main Street. I actually teared up seeing it for the first time after Covid.
What does all this have to do with my castle story? Well, in 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria began construction on Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Let me tell you, if you thought Disneyland’s castle was beautiful, it’s got nothing on Neuschwanstein. If I were to pick a castle to live in, it’d be this one.
Setting aside the Disney connection, I was even more intrigued when I learned more about the king who commissioned it. The king was not very popular towards the end of his reign, and the day after he was sent to Berg Castle, he and a doctor were found dead in Lake Starnberg. The weird part? They ruled it a drowning, but there was no water in their lungs and clear signs of foul play.
Oh, but that’s not the only interesting fact this castle houses. This castle became a hiding place for some of the art the Nazi’s stole during World War II. Part of me wonders if any pieces are still hidden there. The Monuments Men group actually cataloged art found there, and it’s been preserved. Here’s a fun article from The Met all about it!
I hope you enjoyed learning about the castle that inspired my story!
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 20
Through the Lens of Scripture, October 20
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 21
Texas Book-aholic, October 22
For Him and My Family, October 22
deb’s Book Review, October 23
Inklings and notions, October 24
Holly’s Book Corner, October 24
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 25
Lots of Helpers, October 26
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 27
By the Book, October 28
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 28
She Lives To Read, October 29
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 30
Mary Hake, October 30
Blogging With Carol, October 31
Simple Harvest Reads, November 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Literature Approved, November 1
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 2
To celebrate their tour, the Celebrate Lit Authors are giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.