Unwrapping Hope, by Sandra Ardoin (Corner Room Books, 2019)
In the fall of 1986, Phoebe Crain supports her mother and her 5-year-old daughter on her scant earnings as a small-town piano tutor. It’s a long way from the concert stage, but it lets her hide from a past that’s left her bitter.
Spence Newland the Third, owner of the local department store, represents everything she’s come to despise and distrust—or does he? Her daughter, Maura, discovers his kindness.
In this historical romance, Phoebe and Spence each have past hurts that threaten to keep them from discovering a future that would bring young Maura the father she’s been wishing for.
Unwrapping Hope is a prequel novella that leads into Sandra Ardoin’s Widow’s Might series. The Widow’s Might circle is a group of widows in the town who, whether rich or poor, meet for support and to knit scarves etc for the nearby orphanage.
The author does an excellent job of setting the scene and the atmosphere, and I found the historical details interesting. I don’t think of this specifically as a Christmas story, but it does run through fall and finish on Christmas Eve. So while it can be enjoyed any time of year there might be an extra resonance in the season leading up to Christmas.
At the same time, she would eat the crow she already smelled cooking. [Kindle location 257]
Years ago Phoebe had seen a similar look in the mirror. If she could go back in time, she would shatter the glass. [Kindle location 378]
Verbenia was the durable thread that kept the emotions of each member of the [Widow’s Might] circle from unraveling. [Kindle location 412]
Enduring Dreams, the next book in the Widow’s Might series, releases in 2020. For more about historical romance author Sandra Ardoin and her books, visit sandraardoin.com.
[Review copy provided by the author. Opinions are my own.]