Saturday, September 25, 2021

First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

 First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill
Book Summary

The endearingly mischievous matchmaking grandparents Anna and Felty Helmuth have helped generations of their Wisconsin community - including many of their own grandchildren - find love over the course of USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Beckstrand's beloved Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. Now, in this heartwarming prequel set in 1952, Anna and Felty's own love story takes center stage as the young couple spends their first uncertain Christmas together.

Before irrepressible eighty-somethings Anna and Felty Helmuth became Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin's most-beloved matchmakers, they were mismatched young lovers facing seemingly impossible obstacles...

She can't cook, sew, sing, or clean. And no matter how hard young Anna Yoder tries, she'd much rather help people in trouble than be a well-behaved pretty face and properly perfect Amish maidel. So she instantly reaches out to her old schoolmate, Felty Helmuth, when their Amish town ostracizes him for his Korean War army service. He's still the only one who's ever understood Anna--and liked everything from her green Jello carrot salads to her love of books. And this holiday season, she can't help hoping that somehow she and Felty can find a way to be the perfect match...

Felty sensed he was called by Gotte to serve his country, though it went against his community's peaceful ways. Troubled by his wartime experiences, he is resigned to being an outsider avoided by most eligible Amish girls. But lively, intelligent Anna has grown into a warm-hearted generous woman who accepts Felty for who he is. And in the face of family and community opposition, he and Anna will take a leap of faith to prove they are made for each other--and a lifetime of happiness.

My Thoughts

First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand is Anna and Felty’s love story.  It is Christmas Eve and Martha Sue Helmuth is visiting her grandparents.  She is in a mood because Martha Sue just realized that she was sent to Bonduel in the hopes of her matchmaking grandparents finding her a husband.  The last thing she wants is a husband and Martha Sue tells Anna quite loudly startling the rest of the relatives.  The family realizes they have never heard Anna and Felty’s love story.  There is plenty of time before dinner (which is not being cooked by Anna), so Felty begins the tale.  First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill is a delightful story.  It has wonderful characters that we have all come to love from The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series.  Anna and Felty are two people that are meant for each other. They are warm, caring, and genuine.  You can tell how much they love each other and their family.  Anna shows her love with her cooking (believe it or not) and with her knitting.  I thought First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill was well-written with developed characters and a charming setting.  The story is full of humor.  I laughed often while reading this sweet story.  I am so glad that Jennifer Beckstrand gave us Anna and Felty’s tale.  I just loved the ending.  First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill is an engaging story that you will not want to end.  This is my favorite book in the series.  It can be read as a standalone if you have not read the other nine novel sin The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill (you will be missing out if you do not read the whole series).  There are some good life lessons in this story.  My favorite lesson is that someone may be different from other people (dress differently, cook differently, have unusual interests), but we are all the same in God’s eyes.  It is no reason to treat someone differently (make them feel that they are unworthy).  This line stuck with me, “You need to treat everyone kindly whether you agree with their politics or not.”  I hope the author gives us more Anna and Felty tales.  I am glad, though, that I do not have to eat Anna’s cooking.  First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill is a special story that will linger with you long after you finish it.  First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill is an enchanting Amish Christmas tale with Knitted creations, jiggling Jell-O, cinnamon candy cookies, an adamant mother, bothersome brothers, troublesome traps, and a lasting love. 

First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill publishes Tuesday, September 28 and it can be pre-ordered on Amazon*.  You can find the other novels in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill here. I have loved every book in this delightful series.  Anna and Felty never disappoint. The author has a novella in the upcoming More Amish Christmas Miracles:  10 Heartwarming Stories to Brighten Your Winter Nights which publishes November 9 (on Kindle Unlimited). Check out Jennifer Beckstrand's other novels plus follow her to receive updates on her latest releases. I included a photo of the "Welcome to Bonduel, Wisconsin" sign (the town where Anna and Felty live) and of a huckleberry pie (for Huckleberry Hill). I appreciate you reading my review today.  I will be back on Monday with Murder Outside the Lines by Krista Davis.  It is the long anticipated third A Pen & Ink Mystery Novel.  I am going to go put up new solar lights outside.  I am working on my fall decorations for the yard.  My mother and I spent an hour the other day deciding which Halloween inflatables we are going to use in our yard this year.  I seemed to have acquired ten more than we can use.  I wonder if I can convince my neighbors to put up inflatables?  I hope that you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

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