The Kissing Tree – LoneStar Lit

bnr-the-kissing-treeAbout The Book

Cover hi res The Kissing TreeTitle: The Kissing Tree
Authors: Karen Witmeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Christian, Romance, Anthology
Synopsis:  In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark. 

Regina Jennings: “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts

When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer: “Inn for a Surprise

Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise.

Amanda Dykes: “From Roots to Sky

WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese: “Heartwood

Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?

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My Thoughts

From 1880 to present day, Regina Jennings, Karen Witemeyer, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese create a world so inviting and relatable you will wish you were right there with characters. This four-story anthology is weaved together seamlessly and has hints of the previous story in each successive one. It has definitely been one of my favorite 2020 reads.

Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts by Regina Jennings was a beautiful story of love, second chances, and the innocence of first your first kiss. I loved the way Bella Eden and Adam interacted with each other, it was a does he like me/does she like me type of feeling to their relationship that I found very realistic as I think everyone goes through those emotions when falling in love. They were a beautiful couple that just needed a nudge in the right direction. Regina Jennings ends the story with how the Kissing Tree came to be in 1871, in a cute way we see reflected in the stories to come

Inn For A Surprise by Karen Witemeyer is the second book and continues 20 years later in 1891. In this book we see Karen Witemeyer’s signature sense of humor interwoven beautifully with Phoebe and Barnabas’s story of opposites attract. Karen Witemeyer shows the beauty of working together for a common goal and the give and take needed to make any relationship work by using each other’s strengths and weaknesses to work together. I think I loved it more because of it. Beautifully written. I also enjoyed the cameo that tied in from the first book as well, plus Phoebe and Barnabas’s journey to finding the perfect romantic spots was rather cute too!

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes sees the Kissing Tree again 54 years later (roughly) in 1945 right after WWII. Much has changed around the Kissing Tree Inn and the town of Oak Springs, TX. In this story, we learn about Hannah and Luke’s story and their story is probably the hardest to describe. It is thought provoking, deep, and full of a sense of wonder. I loved this sweet, sweet love story with real life conversations, emotions, and yearnings mixed in. I thought Hannah was a close reflection of who I am as a person, and I loved that Luke kept up and loved her even more for it.

Heartwood by Nicole Deese in the fourth and final book in the series, and while no date is given, I am given to believe that it is a present-day setting. Again, change has come to Oak Springs, TX, and threatened the Kissing Tree. Abby feels responsible while Griffin her ‘former’ love comes back into the picture to add to her confusion. I loved the second chance at love theme in this book and I thought Nicole Deese did a great job with the ebb and flow of the storyline building it up from the beginning. I loved how Nicole Deese wrapped up the story and really brought home the moral for the whole story. “Without the heartwood, there would be no tree in any town that could outlive a single generation, much less multiple.”

Overall, this book was touching, compelling and the best anthology I have read to date. I LOVED how the authors interwove all their stories together to create the beautiful legacy of The Kissing Tree and I hope that everyone who reads it takes away the lessons that each of the authors presented in their stories. 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you, Regina Jennings, Karen Witemeyer, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese, and Bethany House, for thinking up and seeing this idea though I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to read it.

*I volunteered to read this book in return for my honest feedback. The thoughts and opinions expressed within are my own.

About the Authors

Voted #1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling author  Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.

 
 
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist, and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.

 
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She’s a former English teacher and the author of Whose Waves These Are, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.
 
 
 
Nicole Deese’s eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she’s not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.
 

 
 
GIVEAWAY:
Six Winners!
Grand Prize: Print copy of The Kissing Tree plus a custom 18″ x 3.5″ wooden sign
Five Winners: Print Copy of The Kissing Tree
October 20-30, 2020
(U.S. Only)
 

Click Here to Enter The Giveaway! 


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. WOW! I’m not big on romance, but I am seeing over and over that like you, many are saying this is the best anthology they’ve read. I’m gonna give it a shot! Thanks for a fabulous review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Travelers Wife 4 Life says:

      Your welcome 🙂 🙂 And you should, I am not usually one who loves strictly romances but this one was great.

      Like

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