Yuletide Treasure is a collection of two novellas by Lauraine Snelling and Jillian Hart.
In The Finest Gift by Lauraine Snelling, Arley Hoople had been orphaned and then raised by her rich, imperious grandmother. Her grandmother had been rather cheerless since her own widowhood.
One of Arley’s ministries is reading to the children at an orphanage. After reading a book to the children about a dollhouse and seeing the longing in their eyes, Arley comes up with a plan to ask the local woodcarver to help her build a dollhouse, which she she will present to the orphanage at Christmas in her grandmother’s name as a present to her.
The woodcarver has a gruff grandson living with him. Nathan had been expected to take over the family business until an explosion scarred him inside and out. He was sent to recuperate with his grandfather. As he learns his grandfather’s trade, he begins to think he’d rather be a woodcarver than go into business. But he doesn’t think he can get out of his father’s expectations. He admires the young woman who comes to his grandfather for help with a dollhouse, but he comes across as so silent and unfriendly, he doesn’t think he’ll ever have a chance with her.
As the three work on the dollhouse and its furnishings together, something happens in each of their hearts. And surprises are in store when the house is presented.
In A Blessed Season by Jillian Hart, Rafe Jones is an intimidating bounty hunter. But an orphan girl who has been hired out to work melts his carefully guarded heart when she asks him to help her find her mother. All she has is a sewing box of her mother’s with the name Cora Sims engraved on it.
Rafe tracks down Cora and observes her for a while to assess the situation and see if the child would be safe with her. Cora owns a dress shop and considers herself a “plain bird,” an “old maid” at thirty. But Rafe thinks she is beautiful and admires her kindness. People usually steer clear of Rafe due to his size, demeanor, and the guns he carried. But Cora shows him the same grace she does everyone else. She doesn’t seem the type to abandon a child. Perhaps she had no choice, or was attacked?
As Rafe and Cora get to know one another, the two wounded hearts are drawn to one another and the mystery of the child’s parentage and the sewing box is revealed.
I enjoyed both of these sweet, heartwarming stories.