The Christmas Brides
Linda Lael Miller
Harlequin HQN, Oct 26 2010, $7.99
“A McKettrick Christmas”. In 1896 after spending two years at Miss Ridgley’s Institute of Deportment and Refinement for Young Women, Lizzie McKettrick is excited to return to her family on the Triple M Ranch in time for Christmas. She looks forward to being the new Indian Rock schoolteacher as well and to introduce her beau Whitley Carson to her family. An avalanche causes the train wreck stranding the passengers. Dr. Morgan Shane helps the injured while Lizzie assists him. While working with the caring doctor, she reconsiders her feelings towards Whitley, who increasingly compared with Morgan looks like a gold-digger. However, time is running out on the stranded travelers.
“A Creed Country Christmas.” In December 1910 her Denver based family disowned Juliana Mitchell for refusing to marry because they demanded she do so. Instead she obtains work as a teacher at an Indian school in Stillwater Springs, Montana. When the school is shut, she worries about the welfare of her four students, but has no funds and her pompous brother refuses to send what is legally hers. Widowed cowboy Lincoln Creed has failed to find anyone to care for his seven year old daughter Gracie. He knows of Juliana's plight so he offers her a deal that he assumes she cannot refuse. Juliana accepts his offer to stay at his ranch with her students and his daughter for Christmas. As the two adults are caught in a compromising situation that forces them to marry, each wonders whether it will prove a Yuletide gift wrapped in love or otherwise.
Although both tales are simplistic and the kids overly precocious, fans of the McKettrick-Creed saga will enjoy the reprints of these charming holiday historical romances. Readers will toast Linda Lael Miller for her Montana Christmas.