The Kissing Tree: Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love. Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese. 2020. Bethany House. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Kissing Tree contains FOUR novellas all set in the Texas town of Oak Springs.
Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts by Regina Jennings opens the collection in 1868. Our heroine, Bella Eden, is DESPERATE for her first kiss. But things don't go according to her plan--God's plan, perhaps, but not her own. The guy she thought was the 'perfect one' to kiss--well, he turned out to be seeing so much of her because he wanted A PUPPY from her farm. But the absolute worst part was that her desperate plea for a kiss was witnessed by another--leading to much pain physical, mental, and emotional. (Long story, but the name of the story is BROKEN LIMBS....) Could the one who "broke" her dreams mend her heart years later????? (No, I'm not talking about PUPPY GUY). Adam Fisher, our hero, has a chance to redeem all...will the Kissing Tree work its magic?
Inn for a Surprise by Karen Witemeyer opens in 1891. Barnabas Ackerby is sent to help his boss's daughter, Phoebe Woodward, open The Kissing Tree Inn. The longer these two work side by side to make her dream happen, the more he realizes that her dream is quickly becoming his as well. Will the tree be getting a NEW set of initials?
From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes opens in 1944/45. Luke Hampstead has been corresponding with his friend's sister, Hannah. Well, corresponding may be a little too strong a word. He--like Danny before him--has been sending his sketches to Hannah. It was his friend's (dying) wish that he keep up the 'friendship' with Hannah. Now that the war is over, Luke has gone to her hometown of Oak Springs to meet her and to share his memories of Danny. The two quickly become friends--but could there be more than friendship that develops? Like Inn for A Surprise, this one features some construction work and designing!
Heartwood by Nicole Deese opens, I suppose, in contemporary times. No year is given--but let's assume pre-Covid 2018 or 2019. If I'm being honest, which I always strive to be, I wish this one didn't exist. Not because I hate the characters--I don't--but because the DIRECTION or TURN this one took. I feel like throwing a temper tantrum like D.W. and going SANTA, HOW COULD YOU???? It was a solid romance between the hero and heroine--two hearts reuniting after a bad break up.
I really enjoyed three of the four stories. The fourth story wasn't poorly written, just TRAGIC. My absolute favorite story was INN FOR A SURPRISE by Karen Witemeyer. It was probably this story that hooked me to the character of the KISSING TREE. The two middle stories were definitely the heart and soul of this one.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible