A Match Made at Christmas
USA Today bestselling author Patricia Davids continues her Amish romance series set in Harts, Haven, Kansas, with this emotional story about a cancer survivor and a grieving widower who are brought together at Christmas by the matchmakers of Harts Haven who have a little help from the hero's daughters.
With Christmas just around the corner, an Amish cancer survivor moves to Harts Haven for a fresh start as the new schoolteacher. She wants to escape the pity that she felt from the people back hom eand throw herself into her new job. She's worried her illness might return at any moment and isn't looking for love. Neither is a local widower with two daughters. The loss of his wife devestated him, and he never wants to feel that kind of pain again. The matchmakers of Harts Haven set their sights on the pair, by having them work together on a living Nativity for the school Christmas program. With three elderly matchmakers, a school full of rambunctious children, a handsome widower, rowdy sheep and one cantankerous donkey, Harts Haven is about to witness an unforgettable Christmas Eve where two unlikely people discover healing love is the true Christmas gift.
Author Website: https://patriciadavids.com/index.html
Are any of the holiday scenes in this book inspired by your own holiday traditions?
Funny you should ask. My brother puts on a living nativity for his church with sometimes hilarious results. I’ve added a few of them to my story.
What are the key elements of a holiday romance?
I think the holiday must have some special significance to the character. For teacher Sophie, she is forced to come up with a school Christmas program on short notice at a new school. The event is the highlight of the Amish community and much anticipated. Is she up to the task? As things go wrong, can Karl help save the day?
Is it difficult to come up with a specific Holiday themed novel every year?
Oh my goodness yes. Amish Christmas themed stories are hugely popular, but the Amish don’t celebrate the way we do. No trees or lights, only small gift exchanges. Portraying the Christmas spirit really comes from inside the characters.
Do you decorate your writing room when you are writing a holiday book?
No, the Christmas story I’m working on is usually due 6 to 8 months before the holiday. My office is where I work but I do bling out the rest of home for the holidays.
What is the best gift you've ever given? Recipient's reaction?
I hid clues around my home and let my daughter and my grandchildren search for them in a scavenger hunt. When all the clues were gathered, they assembled them into a picture of a fishing lodge in Montana. Then I sent them on an all-expense paid road trip the following summer. They were thrilled and talked about making the trip for weeks.
What is the best gift you've ever received?
The year I moved back to the farm to take care of my elderly dad after my mom passed away, I got to spend many hours with my youngest brother who managed the farm for our dad. Being eight years older, I had moved away before he left grade school. It was wonderful getting to know him. That Christmas he gave me a gold and silver heart-shaped necklace to thank me for taking care of our father. I was overwhelmed. He’s not a hugger but he got hugged that night.
What’s next for you?
Amazingly, another Amish Christmas story. Christmas on His Doorstep releases on November 29th from Harlequin’s Love Inspired line.
A Match Made at Christmas by Patricia Davids is a heartwarming Amish tale. It is the second novel in The Matchmakers of Harts Haven series. It can be read as a standalone. However, I recommend reading the entertaining The Inn at Harts Haven. I thought A Match Made at Christmas was well-written with steady pacing. Rose Yoder has that gleam in her eye again. Sophie Eicher and her sister, Joanna are new to Harts Haven. Sophie has been hired as the new schoolteacher. She wanted to get away from her hometown because she could not stand the looks of pity. Sophie is a breast cancer survivor. She beat the odds, but Sophie does not believe it. She wants to make sure her sister, Joanna is happily settled before she dies. Rose comes up with a clever scheme to match Sophie with widower Karl Graber. Karl has two young daughters as well as his farm and the hardware store. He needs help, but Karl is not ready to open his heart again. This was a cute story. There is some repetition of details.
“Oh, Karl. Yoo-hoo!”
Karl Graber cringed at the sound of Rose Yoder calling his name. He was in no mood to deal with her this morning.
After burning the oatmeal at breakfast, he discovered his renter had moved out in the night without giving notice or paying his back rent. Now Karl was going to be late getting to the store because his buggy horse was limping.
He pretended he hadn’t heard Rose. Maybe the elderly Amish woman who claimed to be the most successful matchmaker in Harts Haven would go pester some other poor fellow.
Bent over Checker’s front foot, Karl noticed that a stone lodged between the horse’s steel shoe and his hoof was the gelding’s problem.
“Hallo, Karl! I must speak with you.”
The tenacity of the eighty-four-year-old romance peddler was another difficulty Karl had to face this morning.
“I’m not interested in meeting your latest hopeful,” he muttered under his breath.
If the stubborn stone would come out, he could be on his way before the elderly woman reached the end of the block and crossed the wide street.
“Daed, Granny Rose is calling you.” His six-year-old daughter, Rachel, stood up and waved. Rose wasn’t related to Karl, but due to her advanced age most of the children in Harts Haven called her Granny.
“She’s coming this way,” Clara informed him from the front seat of the open buggy. His ten-year-old daughter wasn’t any more excited to see Rose than Karl was. She suspected the same thing he did. Rose was on a matchmaking mission.
“Hallo, Granny Rose,” Rachel shouted happily. “We’re taking our puppies to the store so someone can buy them. Would you like to see them?”
The offending stone popped loose. Karl dropped Checker’s hoof. “Got to get the store open, Rose. Can’t take time to visit.”
When he spun around, it was already too late. She had reached the buggy ahead of him. How did someone her age move so fast? She didn’t even look winded.
“Guder mariye, Karl. I’m so glad I caught you. There is a chill in the air this morning, isn’t there?”
It was the second week of November. Of course the air was cool. Rose hadn’t intercepted him for idle chitchat. He moved to step around her since she was blocking the buggy door. “Customers will be waiting for me.”
Rose didn’t budge. Other than picking her up and setting her aside, he had no hope of leaving until she finished having her say. He resigned himself to hearing who she thought would be perfect for him this time. As if any woman could take the place of his Nora.
“Did you find us a new mother?” Rachel’s hopeful tone stabbed his heart. Rachel was too young to remember much about the mother who died when she was three. She only knew other children had both mothers and fathers, and she wanted the same thing.
Clara scowled at her sister. “We don’t need a new mother. Ours is in Heaven. No one can replace her.”
Clara understood. She was old enough to remember what Nora had been like. A sweet, gentle, bright and loving woman. The world was a darker place without her.
Rose’s cheerful expression softened with sympathy. “I’m still looking for someone special to join your family. Clara is right. She won’t be your mother. Instead, she will be your stepmother, but she will love you and take care of you as if you were her own.”
Rachel sighed. “I hope you find her soon.”
“That’s enough, Rachel,” Karl said. “What do you want, Rose?”
“I’m here to tell you about the new teacher. She arrived yesterday. She and her sister are staying at the inn for the time being. They are Grace Sutter’s nieces from the Amish side of her family.”
Grace was another elderly widow, Old Order Mennonite, and co-owner of the Harts Haven Inn along with Rose and Rose’s widowed daughter, Susanna King. The trio were all fond of meddling. A single man stood little chance of remaining unattached in this Amish community unless he avoided the widows. Rose’s knowing smile put Karl on his guard.
Rachel clapped her hands. “Yay, the new teacher is here. Now I can go back to school and be in the Christmas program. I hope I get to be an angel like Thea and Miriam Bachman last year. Their mother made the most beautiful wings for them.”
Rose grinned. “Your teacher’s name is Sophie Eicher. Her sister is Joanna. They are lovely young women.”
“Also single and hoping to find husbands in Harts Haven. I know what you’re doing, Rose. Not interested!” If his cutting tone didn’t drive his point home, maybe his scowl would.
Rose puffed up like an angry little hen. “Don’t take that tone with me, Karl Graber. For shame.”
He was thirty-two years old, but she made him feel like an errant toddler. “I’m sorry.”
She inclined her head. “You are forgiven. I stopped to tell you we are hosting a welcome party at the inn on Saturday so folks can meet Sophie and her sister. Would you kindly spread the word?”
He eyed her suspiciously. Where was the catch? “Sure. What time?”
“We’ll start at noon, but folks can come and go as they please.” She turned to his daughters. “I know you girls must be excited to go back to school.”
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