Day 13: Review of the Flames of Gold anthology

Review by Jenni

Christmas… A time for happiness… a time for joy. A time to wish… a time to dream. A time to remember… a time to love. A time to hope for the love of your life… your soul mate. The holidays makes love shine its brightest – like Flames of Gold.

Flames of Gold is an inspirational anthology of Christmas short stories. Now, normally I don’t do this, but for the sake of this book, I am… My review for the first story in this anthology, A New Tradition, is actually listed last after the other four stories, as are my reasons. 🙂 All stories are individually rated as follows: LOVED IT, ENJOYED IT, JUST OK, or DIDN’T LIKE IT.

The Snowflake Ball by Amy Blizzard – Dr. Chloe Miller might as well be called the Scrooge of the Indianapolis Medical Center. Dealing with mishaps and mayhem of the emergency room, she can’t wait for Christmas to be over. So how did she get roped into playing Mrs. Claus for the Christmas party in the pediatric ward? Meanwhile a patient she treated the day before reappears, spreading holiday cheer. But he’s also on a mission, and it looks like Mrs. Claus may be in for a few Christmas surprises.

LOVED IT. This was a fine, tender story about a man who opens a woman’s eyes to the Christmas spirit while teaching her that faith is what Christmas is all about.

Entertaining Angels by Patty Howell – While Gwen was waiting for the man she’s been dating to pick her up at work one snowy night she’s surprised when his handsome FBI agent brother, Branson, shows up instead. Branson explains that her beau was actually in the Witness Protection Program and has been relocated. It is likely Gwen will never see him again but this doesn’t seem to sadden her when she realizes she’s growing very attracted to his handsome brother. But a young child is wandering the streets late at night and Gwen wants to help the child as much as Branson. With a little faith and prayer, Branson and Gwen find themselves with a few extra special Christmas presents.

LOVED IT. Weaved around a Bible verse, this story was a bit more spiritual. It was a warm and compassionate story about faith in love and life and the power of prayer.

Chance for a Merry Christmas by Judith Leigh – In a little town called Mistletoe, Sue is mourning the recent loss of her mother. Chance is a wounded soldier who is home to recover and by chance (ahem) they meet. Instantly they feel an attraction toward each other but Sue’s sorrow over losing someone she cares about fuels her fear of losing another. But with Chance getting ready to re-deploy and Christmas quickly approaching, can Sue have faith and take a chance on Chance?

LOVED IT. The author paints a semi-glossed picture of the fear and toll the military places on the loved ones of those serving. The military is indeed a joint effort of soldier and family, and the decision Sue must make is one every military spouse is familiar with, myself included. A very heartwarming and uplifting holiday read.

A Christmas Flame by Amber Dawn Bell – A tragedy that struck her family three years ago on Christmas Eve still haunts Angel. But Jacob, the fireman on duty that fateful night, still lives with the guilt that he couldn’t change the outcome. After meeting Angel again, there is an attraction, but Angel can’t bear the thought of forgetting the family she once had. Jacob tries to help Angel move past her loss and, in doing so, pours out his own heart and grief. Realizing they have more in common that she realized, can Angel let go of the past and give herself a chance at a new life and maybe a new love?

ENJOYED IT. Pass the Kleenex, please…you might need a few. This tearjerker was good and I liked Jacob’s attempts at poking and prodding, trying to pry Angel out of her sorrows and bring color back into her life. Angel contemplates a relationship with Jacob but still wrestles with her feelings for her lost husband, so she asks and waits for a divine sign of approval from him. The story takes a hokey paranormal turn for a paragraph, but all in all, it was a nice uplifting story about hope, faith and love.

A New Tradition by Leanne Burroughs – Abigail Sommers is a headstrong girl and an avid supporter of the women’s suffrage in Saratoga Springs, 1853. While disguised as a man working as a waiter in a restaurant to help out an ill friend, patron Morgan Leighton is on to her game but plays it cool until he can meet her again.

JUST OK. This was a historical story, taking place in Saratoga Springs, 1853. The story was more wintry than Christmassy but included the use of a lesser known historic holiday tradition.

After reading all the stories in this anthology it became abundantly clear that A New Tradition was very much out of place in this book. Because of this rather glaring issue, it also made it the weakest story of the bunch, making me ask ‘what the heck?’ Each of the other stories had obvious inspirational tones, where A New Tradition had none. And while I found the others stories to be equally heartwarming and uplifting, A New Tradition was not written with the same goal. I’m still kind of scratching my head at it.

Overall, my recommendation would be to skip A New Tradition and enjoy the other four stories first. They are light inspirational, contemporary romantic Christmas reads, which I believe was the goal for this book all along.

My overall rating for this anthology: 7 – I really enjoyed it.

As a special treat, we’re going to give away a .pdf copy of Flames of Gold to a lucky commenter. To enter the contest, let me know if you enjoy inspirational romances and why. And don’t forget to leave your email address in your comment to complete your entry. The lucky winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 15.