Under the Texas Mistletoe – Review

by Karen Witemeyer

Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (August 31, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 0764239317
ISBN-13 : 978-0764239311

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase Special Edition from Christianbook

Three Charming and Festive Holiday Novellas Spiced with Humor, Frontier Action, and Sweet Romance

In this 3-in-1 novella collection, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer presents the new story “A Texas Christmas Carol,” in which a town’s wealthy, Scrooge-like bachelor finds his world invaded by a woman set on earning his donation for helping the local poor, and by the penetrating questions of three mysterious visitors.

It also includes, for the first time in print, “An Archer Family Christmas.” When the Archer clan gathers for the Christmas holiday, an unexpected request for help leaves Cassandra Archer directly in the path of a dangerous outlaw. Desperate to protect the woman he loves, Jim Archer races to the rescue, only to find that Cassie’s life is not the only one in peril. It will take a Christmas miracle–and the entire Archer clan–to keep a second Archer Christmas from ending in disaster.

In previously published “Gift of the Heart,” a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start. But with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?

Sprinkled throughout the collection, you’ll find a hope-filled Christmas devotion, Witemeyer holiday recipes, and fun facts about nineteenth-century Christmas celebrations!


Under the Texas Mistletoe is a wonderful Christmas collection that contains 3 historical romance stories set in Texas. This book also includes a few recipes, a Christmas devotional, and some origins of Christmas traditions. This book will get you into the Christmas spirit no matter what time of year you read it.

A Texas Christmas Carol

This story gives a nod to the original Christmas Carol with little similarities I had fun picking up on, however, this is a unique story.

Felicity is always looking for the bright side of things, and this Christmas season she has decided that she wants the local miser to help her with the charity baskets.

Evan has had to work his way up from the bottom, and after being taken advantage of, he determines that it will never happen again. In the process, he has closed himself off from the world.

I don’t think that Evan was ever as miserly as people thought. He just needed someone to care about him. He never smiled just to be polite, he only smiled when he meant it. I can personally understand that.

I really liked this story.

An Archer Family Christmas

Before you pick up this book, make sure you have plenty of time because you will not want to put it down. Also, be prepared for “all the feels”. This book will make you very emotional.

Those who have read others in the series will enjoy the return of their beloved Archer family and new readers will fall in love with Jim and Cassie.

There is such love and loyalty in the Archer family.

Gift of the Heart

Karen Witemeyer creates characters who are not perfect. She has the ability to make her characters strong while also being incredibly vulnerable.

I loved the Biblical connection to the Ruth and Boaz story. Besides the names, there were so many little connections as well.

Beauregard “Bo” Azlin was one of those characters you feel an instant connection to. The back story of Bo’s childhood where his mother considered him damaged goods is heart breaking. Bo tried to be fair to everyone and not give special treatment but he also helped protect those in need. I liked the scene where Bo is holding the heirloom and vowing to keep it safe for Ruth. It was also sweet how he liked to keep the heirloom near his heart.

Witemeyer’s books always contain some funny moments. When Bo calls the stray cat a miscreant, little Naomi mistakenly believes that the cat’s name is Miss Creant. Bo and Naomi have a number of sweet and funny conversations.

While this felt like a very complete story, I want it to continue. I’m not ready to leave these characters.

My True Love Gave To Me

My True Love Gave To Me is a fun little bonus short story you get if you order the special edition of this book from Christianbook. It is about a young man who sets out to prove his love using the 12 days of Christmas; but in a rather unusual way.

The Heart’s Charge – Review

by Karen Witemeyer

Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 0764232088
ISBN-13 : 978-0764232084

Purchase from Amazon

Members of Hanger’s Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they’d deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he’d nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. From mixed ancestry, illegitimate, and female, Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society’s mold. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her with his courage and kindness, but there are secrets behind his eyes–ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

However, when a handful of urchin children from the area go missing, a pair of Horsemen are exactly what the women need. Working together to find the children, will these two couples find love as well?


Karen Witemeyer is the reason I stepped outside my Historical Regency comfort zone and started reading Westerns. Books like this are exactly why I now love Westerns!

The theme of this story was very important to me. God has called us to help the orphans no matter who they are or where they are from. Stories like the one Abner shared are so heartbreaking. Eliza’s story was also heartbreaking, and far too common.

It’s often tough to have a book written with four lead characters who are equally important and fully developed. Witemeyer has accomplished this so well. There was also a mystery and some action in this book along with the romance of the two couples.

This book can be read as a standalone, but if you read the first book in the series (At Love’s Command) you can learn more about the history of the horsemen.

I loved the plot and the characters. I read through the book at a fast pace but then read the end slowly because I wanted to savor it. I can’t wait for Preach’s story!

Top 20 Books of 2020

Losing yourself in a good book was even more important this year than in previous years. I am so thankful for these amazing writers that share their work with us. Here are the Top 20 Books in 2020.

Read more

The Kissing Tree – Review

by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese

Paperback : 400 pages
ISBN-10 : 0764236121
ISBN-13 : 978-0764236129
Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (October 13, 2020)

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Regina Jennings – “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts”
When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer – “Inn for a Surprise”
Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise. 

Amanda Dykes – “From Roots to Sky”
WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese – “Heartwood”Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?


All of the stories in this collection take place in the same town which is centered around the kissing tree. I love how they can be read on their own, but they are all interconnected. The stories take place during different time periods, so we get to see future generations and how the town changes.

Broken Limbs, Mended Fences by Regina Jennings
Adam always pined for Bella, but she just saw him as the man who destroyed everything.

The intro to this story is perfection! I love the opening scene with the two main characters Adam and Bella, and the last scene in the story is so sweet. I love how everything came full circle. This was a cute story. I liked the storyline and the characters. The title is also cute.

Inn for a Surprise by Karen Witemeyer

Phoebe is a strong independent woman who dreams of running her own inn helping couples find and rekindle love using the town’s legendary kissing tree. Barnabas is tasked with helping his boss’s daughter Phoebe make the inn a success.

I love how this story is interconnected, and there is even an appearance of a character from the first story.

This was such a sweet story, and I loved it. Barnabas and Phoebe may be opposites, but they truly complete each other.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes
I know many years have gone by since the last story, but hearing about what happened to the future of the inn at the beginning of the story was sad.

I loved the idea of a home built from all the drawings and things Luke had seen that war tore apart. Hannah and Luke made an interesting couple, and I like how a lot of time went by in this story so they had a chance to really get to know each other. The epilogue was sweet.

Heartwood by Nicole Deese
Even though it is a shorter story, I liked that Abby and Griffin were able to grow. I love the little memorial gardens that Abby creates.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I will try to be vague. The scene with the teenagers at the tree drove me nuts, especially comments about “rights” being taken away when it isn’t their right. People like to complain about things, but they don’t do anything to realistically help the cause and find a solution for a problem.

I also didn’t like the ending. If this had been a standalone book, that would be one thing. However, we just read all these sweet stories about things that happened, and then something in this story happens to ruin it all.

At Love’s Command – Review

48357284 by Karen Witemeyer

Series: Hanger’s Horsemen (Book 1)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 5/1 edition (June 2, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076423207X
ISBN-13: 978-0764232077

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she’s not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger’s dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine’s respect, and when she hears of her brother’s abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.


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At Love’s Command is a combination of action, adventure, and romance. There was never a dull moment! I love that Karen Witemeyer’s stories are never predictable.

The first chapter is intense but it sets the stage for each of the Horsemen and shows you what made them who they are today.

Josie is a spitfire who makes sure her voice is heard. Matthew is closed off with everyone except his band of brothers after the massacre. Only after meeting Josie, Matthew is finally able to start healing.

The group of Horsemen are like brothers standing up for justice, and they have such a strong connection to each other. I look forward to reading each of their stories.

Serving Up Love: A Harvey House Brides Collection – Review

serving

by Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (November 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076423269X
ISBN-13: 978-0764232695

Purchase from Amazon

Bestselling novelist Tracie Peterson joins Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano in this collection of four novellas, each featuring a Harvey Girl heroine. From Kansas to Texas, the Grand Canyon to New Mexico, the stories cross the country with tales of sweet romance and entertaining history.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “More Than a Pretty Face,” a young woman works her hardest to escape poor choices from her youth. Tracie Peterson offers “A Flood of Love,” where reuniting with an old flame after more than a decade offers unexpected results. Regina Jennings’s “Intrigue a la Mode” delights with a tale of a young woman determined to help support her family, despite warnings of danger nearby. And Jen Turano’s “Grand Encounters” heads to the Grand Canyon with a tale of a society belle intent on finding a new life for herself.


Serving Up Love is a collection of tales of adventure and love as the Harvey Girls are able to explore the country as well as discover more about themselves.

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson

A Flood of Love was packed with historical details. I love that this was based on true stories and events.

Timing seems to be everything for Gretchen and Dirk. They have only ever loved each other but have been pulled apart. If only communication in those days had been easier.

Katiann is adorable. She seemed to know everything about everyone and is so curious about the world around her. I’m surprised her nannies had such a hard time handling her. I loved that when someone compliments her she says, “I know” instead of “thank you”.

Tracie Peterson is the only author I haven’t read, though I have a number of her books on my TBR list. Now I know why she was so often recommended to me.

More Than A Pretty Face by Karen Witemeyer

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I’m glad that Rosalind from More Than Words Can Say gets her own story. The title of this novella was perfect for her.

She made a bad choice in her past, and she is trying to hide from it. Unfortunately she is transferred back to her home state of Texas and is right back where she started. No matter where she goes now, she cannot hide from her past mistakes. Even after someone repents, our sins can still follow us from the past and have consequences.

After none of his charms had been working, Caleb tried to spark Rosalind’s interest by using a Pigpen cipher. As someone who solves cipher puzzles for fun, I can’t say how much I loved that Caleb and Rosalind wrote to each other in secret code.

“How on earth was she supposed to resist a man who left her a note penned in secret code.”

While Caleb knew of Rosalind for awhile, I think he fell in love with her before he knew her personally. I wish there had been a little more personal conversations before the declarations of love.

“You snuck up on me. Luring my heart little by little with your ciphers and outings, your kindness to old ladies and adolescent dishwashers, until it became fully yours.” “My heart belongs to you for as long as you desire it.”

This story seems a little more serious than a lot of Witemeyer’s other books, but with some of the topics it has to be.

Intrigue a la Mode by Regina Jennings

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I immediately liked Graham and Willow and found their story very engaging. I also liked the historical details and descriptions about the Harvey Girls.

The pace was perfect and the story seemed well developed for a novella. Though it felt complete, I would love to know more about Calista’s adventures and their legendary family tree.

Graham’s secret way in to the depot was funny. He also had some other funny lines.

Grand Encounters by Jen Turano

It seemed like Jack was so smitten with Myrtle before he had even had one conversation with her. Then after months of being awkward with her and only offering one random word, it’s like the floodgates were opened. I did find many of the characters shallow and physically assaulting someone is not a form of humor.

When they did finally have conversations with each other, I liked them as a couple. I also liked Jack and Myrtle’s hobbies of hiking and reading.

Turano has written a number of books about New York Heiresses during this time, and it was interesting to see what would happen if one of them left their high class society to become a Harvey Girl.

An Old-Fashioned Texas Christmas – Review

oftexas

by Karen Witemeyer

File Size: 5485 KB
Print Length: 165 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2019)
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07YCVH1G4

Purchase from Amazon

Celebrate the joy and warmth of the holidays with two historical romance novellas from Karen Witemeyer, including a brand-new story that provides a glimpse into what the Archer clan has been up to.

“An Archer Family Christmas”
It’s Christmas Eve, 1893, and the entire family has gathered to celebrate the holiday. This day is always bittersweet for Jim and Cassie, who lost a child on Christmas Eve three years earlier. Cassie has devoted herself to being the favorite aunt of the Archer children, whisking her nieces away to a nearby schoolhouse to create decorations for the Christmas tree that the men and oldest boys are venturing out to chop down.

When an unexpected knock at the schoolhouse door reveals a desperate pregnant woman on the run from a dangerous outlaw, it’ll take a Christmas miracle–and the entire Archer clan–to make sure no danger befalls the child born on this beloved holiday.

“The Gift of the Heart”
A widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start, but with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love as the holidays draw near?


An Archer Family Christmas

Before you pick up this book, make sure you have plenty of time because you will not want to put it down. Also, be prepared for “all the feels”. This book will make you very emotional.

Those who have read others in the series will enjoy the return of their beloved Archer family and new readers will fall in love with Jim and Cassie.

There is such a love and loyalty in the Archer family.

“They didn’t need words. Their hearts could read each other perfectly.”

 

Gift of the Heart

Karen Witemeyer creates characters who are not perfect. She has the ability to make her characters strong while also being incredibly vulnerable.

I loved the Biblical connection to the Ruth and Boaz story. Besides the names, there were so many little connections as well.

Beauregard “Bo” Azlin was one of those characters you feel an instant connection to. The back story of Bo’s childhood where his mother considered him damaged goods is heart breaking. Bo tried to be fair to everyone and not give special treatment but he also helped protect those in need. I liked the scene where Bo is holding the heirloom and vowing to keep it safe for Ruth. It was also sweet how he liked to keep the heirloom near his heart.

Witemeyer’s books always contain some funny moments. When Bo calls the stray cat a miscreant, little Naomi mistakenly believes that the cat’s name is Miss Creant. Bo and Naomi have a number of sweet and funny conversations.

While this felt like a very complete story, I want it to continue. I’m not ready to leave these characters.