Charity Fairchild was orphaned at the age of nine when her parents where killed by Indians. She was taken in by a Quaker family who provided for her, but treated her as little more than a servant. One day when she is running errands for the family in Williamsburg, she chances to meet Jedidiah Wells. Jed is a bitter recluse who returned from the Revolutionary War with injuries that had left him with a pronounced limp and severely scarred. He also brought back a newborn Indian baby who he claimed as his daughter, leading to the townspeople's scorn.
As Charity was walking home from town, a violent snowstorm blew in, leaving her disoriented. When Jed came by a while later, he found Charity nearly frozen in a snowbank. Not willing to leave the girl to die and uncertain of where she lived, Jed took her home and nursed her back to health, but in the process managed to ruin her reputation. Even though Charity was initially afraid of Jed's daughter, because she was Indian, Star had taken to Charity almost immediately. Knowing that his little girl needed a mother and that no other woman in town would have him because of his disfigurement, and with Charity having been put out by the family who raised her, Jed proposes a marriage in name only for their mutual benefit. What he didn't count on was that living with Charity would be such sweet torment. Jed begins to feel things for his lovely wife that he has never felt for any woman before, and wishes he could make her his in every way, but would Charity be repulsed if she knew how badly scarred his body really is.
In my opinion, Christmas Star embodied an oversimplified plot and characterizations, that just didn't lend itself to my imagination being fully engaged while reading it. I sympathized with Jed being a scarred war hero who had been jilted by his fiancée because of his disfigurement, and I admired that he was raising an Indian daughter in spite of the scorn of the townspeople. Although Jed certainly had plenty of reasons to be bitter, he was so angry for the better part of the story, it was like a blustery winter wind followed him into every scene. When he softens up and makes his turn around it was just a little too quickly to suit me.
Having been raised by an ultra-religious Quaker family after her parents' deaths, Charity was a heroine who was innocent in the extreme, to the point that she had absolutely no idea what happened in the marriage bed and even mistook her tingles of desire for Jed as fear. I did like that she was never bothered by Jed's limp and scars though. Charity also had a phobia of Indians which was understandable since she had witnessed the massacre of her parents at the hands of Indians, but even still I was a little uncomfortable with the way she treated Jed's daughter, Star, in the beginning. Although I admired Charity for facing her fears when it counted the most, she also changed a little too quickly, in my opinion.
In general, all the conflicts in the story just magically melted away a bit too easily to be believable. I also didn't fully feel the love connection between Jed and Charity. It was clear that they were attracted to and desired one another, but I was never entirely sure when they fell in love or why, except that the author told me they did. There was also a lot of repetition, mainly in the form of Jed's self-loathing and constant assumptions that Charity is repulsed by his physical imperfections, although there were plenty of other words, phrases, and thoughts that were reiterated as well. This is another non-explicit read which should make it appropriate for romance readers of all ages.
Overall, Christmas Star was a worthwhile read, albeit a super-easy one that doesn't take much thought, but that may be just what the doctor ordered during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This is my second read by Connie Mason that was just OK, so it looks like she'll be another author that will be going on the back burner for now. Christmas Star can be found in the anthology, A Wilderness Christmas.
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