A couple of us MWLadies were gifted this series by the wonderful Linda Mahkovec to read, review, and enjoy! The newest Christmastime 1944 has just been released so we haven’t had a chance to read that one yet, but if it’s as good as any of the others, you’ll want to read that one too! Can we first mention how stunning these covers are!?!? I absolutely love how each cover sets the tone for what you’ll be diving into- just from looking at them, I want to be there! I LOVE books set in this time period, so I was super excited to read these. Plus, I don’t think you can possibly go wrong with any Christmas tale, so this perfect mixture of women’s fiction, historical fiction, and romance, along with the holiday theme was exactly what I was looking for this season!
Let’s take a look at each synopsis before we discuss our thoughts and then give you some details on how to get your own e-book copy of this series for FREE!!!!
Set in New York City against the backdrop of impending war, Christmastime 1940: A Love Story tells the story of an unlikely romance between a struggling young mother trying to make a fresh start and a man who has lost his connection to humanity.
The curmudgeonly Charles Drooms is perfectly content with his life as the owner of a successful accounting firm. However, when the beautiful widow, Lillian Hapsey, and her two young sons move down the hall from him, his narrow world is shaken. Three forces—Lillian, the Christmas season, and a mysterious little boy—converge to stir up powerful memories, pushing Drooms to make some life-altering decisions.
Christmastime 1941: A Love Story, Book Two, opens two days after Pearl Harbor has been attacked. War has just been declared, and New York City is in a state of chaos and panic as it tries to prepare for possible attacks. Following the same characters established in Book One, and introducing a few new ones, it tells of the power of old loves, new loves, and friendship.
It continues the love story of Lillian and Charles, the adventures of Tommy and Gabriel, and depicts two bittersweet romances: that of Izzy and her fiancé Red, and that of the office manager at Drooms Accounting, sixty-year old Mrs. Murphy, and her Brendan.
In Christmastime 1942: A Love Story, Book Three, the Axis forces are winning, and America struggles to find its footing in the war. Men leave to fight and women join the workforce. New York City vibrates with energy, romance, tension, and urgency. Yet love burns brighter than ever, bringing people together and giving them hope for the future. The famous Stage Door Canteen in Times Square provides the background for one of these romances – between the proud, but wounded, Edith Mason and the Shakespearean actor, Desmond Burke.
In Christmastime 1943: A Love Story, Book Four, the war intensifies, the Christmas season arrives, and love is kept alive on the home front. In New York City, Lillian Drooms struggles on her own while her husband, Charles, is away at sea. She volunteers with “Artists for Victory” at a hospital for wounded soldiers, but soon begins to doubt her ability.
Meanwhile, on a farm in Illinois, the beautiful seventeen-year-old Ursula is torn between her sense of duty and the power of love. The source of her deepest yearning and her deepest hatred lies in Friedrich, one of the German POWs recently hired to work on the family farm. The Christmas season brings its charm and warmth – but can love survive in these turbulent, fragmented times?
Years of relentless fighting have strained the country, and the December news of the Battle of the Bulge crushes the hope that war in Europe will soon be over. Lillian Drooms pushes ahead with her career as an artist while she anxiously awaits the arrival of her husband, Charles, for Christmas, and her friend Izzy finally gives Mr. Rockwell the old heave-ho—or does she?
And on the farm in Illinois, Ursula’s troubling situation reaches a climax and is intensified by the arrival of her brother Jimmy, home on furlough from the Pacific. Among pervasive loss and disappointment, is there room for Christmas hope and happiness?
Christmastime 1940 is the first book in the series and set the tone beautifully for the next books. The descriptions were vibrant and spot on, the story was heart warming, and the characters drew so many emotions from the reader. Many have compared it to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and with its overall message of forgiveness and compassion along with the grumpy neighbor Mr. Drooms in all of his “Scrooge-like” glory, I can see the resemblance. Christmastime 1941 brought us back to Lillian and Charles, who are now engaged, but due to the circumstances of the time period are fearful and stressed. I love how Mahkovec communicated their emotional state of mind so perfectly in this book. The characters thoughts and actions were all driven by the Pearl Harbor bombing and wartime disaster. She eloquently discussed many serious issues throughout this book and how it effected people that lived during that time. Christmastime 1942 tells of a married Charles and Lillian, who despite Charles being off fighting in the war, still are filled with hope and keep their faith. I couldn’t help but read these books in such quick succession because I wanted to know what happened next. I loved how Charles and Lillian’s story kept being added to throughout the series, but more characters were added in that were a great support system for their family, especially during the war.
Again, in this story, the vivid pictures that Mahkovec paints for her readers are done so amazingly well. The gingerbread cooking, the lights glistening off the snow, the Christmas ornaments hanging gently off the tree. I could see and smell every bit of the world she wanted me to be in. Not all authors have the ability to do this, but Mahkovec does it flawlessly. I was afraid that by the second or third book I would be tired of the way she writes… or the descriptions would get dull and boring… If anything, she has just further mastered describing this setting that Charles and Lillian are living in. She makes this story so alive, it becomes magical.
Being from the Midwest, I was super excited to see Book 4 (Christmastime 1943) set in rural Illinois- similar to the farms I grew up down the road from. Getting out of the city to visit family is just what they needed right now, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be living around heartache, struggle, and tragedy once there. I felt like this ending left me hanging… but am excited to begin Book 5 and see what happens next. I’m sure, just like the others, I’ll be taken on an emotional roller coaster that will leave me breathless once again at the end.
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