In The Yuletide Angel by Sandra Ardoin, someone mysteriously leaves gifts at the homes of the needy during Christmas season nights in the 1890s. The town dubs the mysterious visitor the Yuletide Angel.
No one knows that the Yuletide Angel is shy, timid Violet Madison.
No one except her neighbor, Hugh Barnes. Hugh had seen Violet on her mission one night, and ever since he has followed her at a discreet distance to protect her.
When Violet learns her brother is planning to marry soon, she begins to worry. Her brother inherited the family home and plans to bring his bride there. They plan for Violet to live with them, but she would feel like she’s intruding on their lives. Her father did not leave her much because he assumed she would marry. But she is plain and not well-spoken, and no one has shown an interest. What could she do to make her own way that would be socially acceptable? She has some ideas of things she could sell in the Hugh the grocer’s shop.
Hugh has been fond of Violet for a long time. He speaks cheerfully to her and tries to gently draw her out. He enthusiastically endorses her plan for selling her baked goods in his store.
Just when it seems their relationship is unfolding well, Hugh’s ne’er-do-well brother, Kit, shows up. When Hugh sees Violet and Kit together, he feels betrayed.
And on top of everything else, an unseen stalker is following Violet on her nightly rounds and stealing her gifts.
This was an enjoyable story. I appreciate that as a Christian author, Sandra is not afraid to deal with Christian issues outright rather than just hinting at them. Yet her style is not heavy or preachy.
As a novella, this was a quick read. But the characters and story arc were well-developed. All in all, a good quick read.