Friday, December 13, 2013

Rebecca's Christmas Gift - Emma Miller (LI #812 - Nov 2013)

Series: Hannah's Daughters (Book 7)

Housekeeper For The Holidays

During the Christmas season, Rebecca Yoder agrees to help new preacher Caleb Wittner with his mischievous daughter. Amelia's turned the community of Seven Poplars upside down. Only Rebecca can see the pain hidden beneath the little girl's antics -- and her father's brusque manner. After losing his wife in a fire, Caleb's physical scars may be healing, but his emotions have not. Yet Rebecca's sweet manner soon has him smiling and laughing with his daughter -- and his pretty housekeeper. Soon Caleb must decide whether to invite Rebecca into his life -- or lose her forever. 

Very good book.  Caleb is new to the Seven Poplars community.  He moved there with his daughter for a fresh start after lsoing his wife in a fire that also scarred him.  As a single father of a little girl, things are pretty rough for him.  Amelia is very mischievous and more than a little stubborn.  Several young women have attempted to work as housekeepers and childcare but haven't lasted long.  Rebecca's family volunteers her to make the attempt.  It isn't long before she has Amelia straightened out and has lightened Caleb's load also.  Rebecca would like to be more than the housekeeper, but she doesn't know if Caleb will ever see her that way.

Rebecca is the second youngest of all her sisters and one of the most cheerful.  She has noticed Caleb ever since he and his daughter moved there.  She finds him very attractive, in spite of the scars left by the fire.  When two of her friends complain about how impossible he had been to work for she refuses to pass judgment on him.  Her mother volunteers her to work for Caleb as his housekeeper and to care for his daughter.  I liked the way that she steps right in on that first morning when she walks in on his disastrous morning.  She has an amazing amount of patience with little Amelia and soon has her behaving very well.  Rebecca also enjoys bringing order to Caleb's house and his life.  I loved seeing the way that her feelings for him started to grow past that of housekeeper, but she was hesitant to put herself forward.  I really liked seeing the way that she helped him see things about their community that he wouldn't have know being so new to the area.  Just as she thought things might be progressing for them another woman gets in the way and she fears it might be too late.  I liked seeing some of the ways that Rebecca brought light and laughter to Caleb's life, and also how she was able to assist him in his work.  It was great seeing some of the things she did for him and with him.  It was so hard seeing her face the thought of giving him up.

Caleb felt a bit out of his depth in his new community.  He didn't expect to be called to be a preacher so soon, but is doing his best.  He knows that his daughter is making his life even more of a challenge, but he hasn't been able to find help that would stay.  His first impression of Rebecca is that she's very young and lighthearted.  He isn't sure she can handle the job at his house but gives her a chance.  He is amazed by how quickly she brings order to his home.  I did like the way he was such a good father even though he often felt overwhelmed.  As a single man and preacher he had to be very careful not to put Rebecca in an awkward position.  I liked the way that he found himself thinking about what a future with her would be like, but didn't think she would be interested in someone older and scarred.  Then he ended up getting almost bullied into considering someone else as a wife, making him wonder just what he should be doing.  I liked Caleb's outlook on his job as a church leader and how much thought he put into his decisions.  I thought the way that he listened to what Rebecca had to tell him about the teenage boys was especially smart of him.  He also came up with a unique form of punishment that was very well thought out.  I got a bit frustrated with his wishy washy attitude when it came to his feelings for Rebecca and what was happening with Dorcas.  He very nearly lost it all before he got very lucky.

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