10 Year Anniverary & New Releases Winners: Carrie Fancett Pagels' Butterfly Cottage - Melanie B, Dogwood Plantation - Patty H R, Janet Grunst's winner is Connie S., Denise Weimer's Winner is Kay M., Naomi Musch's winner is Chappy Debbie, Angela Couch - Kathleen Maher, Pegg Thomas Beverly D. M. & Gracie Y., Christy Distler - Kailey B., Shannon McNear - Marilyn R.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Guest Review: Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection

A Pioneer Christmas Collection
(My thanks to Pioneer Christmas co-author Michelle Ule for this post!)

Debut novelist Shannon McNear has fashioned a terrific story of divided loyalties and unexpected romance in Defending Truth.
            In what is now eastern Tennessee, immediately following the Battle of King's Mountain of 1780, loyalist militiaman Micah Elliot finds himself torn by the horror of what happened and a desire to flee. Hungry, shaken and miserable, he's discovered by a patriot's daughter out hunting.
            Something about the battered man captures her attention, and Truth Bledsoe feeds him, only to learn he fought on the opposite side from her father during the battle. Still, her Christian humanity sends her back to feed him and help him recover his strength.
           After a week, Micah recognizes he's got a pretty woman helping him and while still torn about his loyalties, feels the need to repay her. He spends the fall at her secluded farm helping Truth and her younger siblings prepare for the winter.
            Hostilities linger when the overmountain men return home from the battle, but can attitudes change when Micah sets aside his own safety to defend Truth and her loved ones?
            McNear's deft characterizations ring true throughout this tale, and my emotions were caught up in the question of how this one would work out. She provides insightful information on life on the frontier late during the Revolutionary War, when no one really felt safe and death lurked.
            Truth Bledsoe is a well-rounded young woman trying her plucky best to care for her family. Her own loyalties war within as the handsome Tory unexpectedly captures her heart. Micah is torn by uncertainty--what really is right and whose side does he want to be on? How can he return home to a family who would brand him a coward? But worse, how can he leave behind a lovely young woman who has captured his heart, even while he fought against her father.
            This fine novella begins A Pioneer Christmas Collection and sets a high bar for the stories to come. It's not a simplistic romance and it handles the Christianity of those on the frontier with grace and clarity. I loved it and thought it one of the finest historical novellas I've ever read.
           Well done, Shannon McNear.

New York Times best-selling writer Michelle Ule is the author of three historical novellas and a contemporary novel. Her story, "The Gold Rush Christmas," is the final novella in A Pioneer Christmas Collection. You can follow her blog at

Giveaway: One commenter on this review will receive a copy of the book. To enter answer the question: What is your favorite Christmas story? Why? (Also--come back next week. For the Tea Party giveaway we have a copy of the book with a bookplate signed by all authors!)


  1. Love novellas, stories of pioneers, the Revolutionary War, & romance. Defending the Truth sounds like a great story & I would love to read the book!

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Bonnie! And what would be your favorite Christmas story? :-)


    1. Sorry - forgot to answer the question!

      Inspirational: The Nativity
      Secular: The Christmas Shoes

  3. My favorite Christmas story, boy that's tough! I guess I'll reach into my hat and pull ONE of my favorites out and it is. . . .
    The Christmas Shoes. I like this one because it is so touching to the and makes me cry, if a story makes me cry it's one of my favorites.


  4. A Simple Amish Christmas by Vanetta Chapman. I like it because of the interesting family dynamics, and the quaintness of the Christmas holiday.

  5. Thanks so much for posting, Wendy and Martha! The Christmas Shoes is definitely a tear-jerker. My kids manage to sneak it in once a season and make me bawl ... :-) And I haven't read that one by Vanetta, but I'll have to check it out!

  6. I love Christmas books! My favorite Christmas story is Little Women's. But I also like The Homecoming (The Waltons.) I hope I win this book! It looks so good! Thanks for the post and giveaway. kkakins at gmail dot com

  7. Enjoyed the post. Book sounds fantastic. Would love to win. My favorite story is the Christmas Story from the Bible when Jesus was born . How thankful I am for this special birth for all of us. Please enter my name in the giveaway. Thank you!!
    Barbara Thompson

  8. Not sure what my favourite Christmas story is but love the movie Christmas Shoes.
    I love reading novella's each years and christmas stories.

  9. Sounds like a great story!
    My favorite Christmas story (besides Jesus being born) is It's a Wonderful Life. I love what it teaches us about our lives!
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

  10. Favorite Christmas story: The Nativity from the Bible because it is timeless and the beginning of our redemption. But there are so very many sweet and exciting Christmas stories - The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Shoes, and on and on. Well, I have purposely sought Christmas novellas by various authors in libraries for years! Of course, it is hard to get them to check out in the "Christmas season" so I usually look for them during the summer. I look forward to this new Christmas novella. Good teaser review.
    godleyv [at] yahoo {dot}com

  11. There are so many to choose from but I have always enjoyed A Christmas Carol and Christmas Shoes.

    Katie J.

    1. KATIE J, Congrats! You won a copy! I love those two stories too!!! Will email you!!! Blessings!

  12. Wow, so many great Christmas stories--some I'd nearly forgotten, like Little Women and the Waltons! I love the others as well. Our family's Christmas must-see is A Muppet Christmas Carol--we love the quirky humor ("light the lamp, not the rat!") and Michael Caine's change of heart always brings tears to my eyes. :-) But of course the most wonderful one is the story of Jesus' birth!

    Blessings to all of you for taking the time to post!

  13. What a fantastic review! I'm so excited to read this novella, Shannon. What an honor to start of the anthology with your colonial tale. Congratulations!

  14. I love all Christmas stories...birth of Christ is number 1

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dt]o com

  15. It is indeed, Apple Blossom ... and Carla, isn't it?? I'm just amazed at what God has done already through this story ...

  16. I am a teacher and enjoy reading The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomney to my class. The illustrations as he carves a nativity set are incredible. The miracle happens in very subtle ways as he is cared for and the children delight to hear that he is not so grumpy.

  17. Oooh, we have that book, Jo. My children love it! :-)


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