I have never read a Four-in-One Collection by four different authors, where each story ties in with one another. I have noticed with all the Romancing America series each book contains four different stories, one after another. Only did I notice with “Central Park Rendezvous” the first story is split four different parts with the other three stories going back in history in relating to a letter from the first story. I like more of a historical novel and seeing how with all of them tying together from present day to 1865, I have truly enjoyed this novel. Each story takes in dealing around certain wartimes like the Afghanistan War of this present time (by Ronie Kendig), Vietnam War of 1973 (by Dineen Miller), World War II of 1941 (by Kim Vogel Sawyer), and Civil War of 1865 (by MaryLu Tyndall). Read this four-in-one collection novel to see how a family heirloom gold coin with a description on is passed through the generations of a many years working through each of the different couples based around Central Park in New York!
Central Park Rendezvous is skillfully crafted by four different women into one beautiful romance. I was really excited because it was written by some of my favorite authors, but I did doubt a little when I saw the cover. I judge a book by the cover and the cover didn’t reflect the story very well in my opinion. So, enough about the cover... The book starts with the story of Jamie Russo and Sean Wolfe. This portion of the book is modern day and is actually split into four different portions in between the other stories. I thought it was odd at first but it was actually really skilled how I wanted to skip the other stories and just see what happened to Sean and Jamie. Kendig did a really good job of bringing the characters to life and advancing the plot in such a short amount of pages. Then we go to the story of Gail Gibson and Alan James, which brings us from the Vietnam War to present day. I really liked this portion of the book (by Dineen Miller). If I didn’t already know a portion of the story, I never would have expected the ending. I actually shed a few tears. The reader is then brought back to the world of Jamie Russo and Sean Wolfe. Then suddenly the reader is taken to World War II America where families are struggling and men are fighting overseas. This was the most homey portion of the book, the only thing that could have made reading Sawyer’s portion more homey was if I could cuddle up with a blanket by a warm fire. Helen Wolfe is struggling to support her siblings and Bernie is God’s instruments to meet her needs. I did cry at during this portion a little, too. After heading back to current day again, suddenly the reader is thrust into the Civil War. The last portion of the book, MaryLu Tyndall’s, is a hit for all those who love history (like me). Sisters Annie and Permelia could not be more opposite; one sister is kind and godly, the other has a bad attitude with a heavy dose of self-centeredness to top it off. William Wolfe comes back scarred after the war to claim Annie as his bride, but she is repulsed by him. Will he marry Annie or fall in love with Permelia? Tyndall’s portion of the book had a Sense and Sensibility feel to it. Although, Marianne came to her senses whereas Annie really never learned from what God placed before her. I really liked Permelia and caught myself praying that God would send me a friend like her. The Romancing America books I’ve read are always kind of cheap and lame, but not Central Park Rendezvous. Five/five stars no question. A must read!
4.5 STARS**** In this novella we are introduced to various members of the Wolfe family through four generations, each family tied together by three common threads, one of war, one of a coin passed down from the Civil War Era., and a romantic bridge in Central Park.
Dream a Little Dream By Ronie Kendig Afghanistan War, Present Day
Jamie Russo was raised by her uncle, Alan James, since a young girl when her parents were killed. Alan never married and when Jamie tries to talk to him about the reason why, Alan doesn’t want to talk about. Now that he has gotten older he has come to the conclusion that part of his life is better left alone and forgotten. So he packs up some boxes of old letters from his past and is going to throw them away. Without his knowing Jamie retrieves them and sets out to find out the mystery behind her uncle’s sorrow.
The more Jamie reads, the more she decides she must find this Sean Wolfe that is mentioned in the letters. When Jamie finally gets in touch with him and sets a date to met, they are both surprised by the other one. Jamie surprised that she is so drawn to this handsome man, physically scarred by an IED explosion in Afghanistan and mentally scarred by things in his past he endured from an abusive mother. And Sean is surprised because he was expecting a guy and not a beautiful sweet spirited girl that seems to see beyond his flaws to the person he wants to become. As they begin to read the letters and unravel the mystery of Sean’s family will they find out more about the long lost love Jamie’s uncle has been mourning all these years and will they find that same type of love for themselves?
A Love Meant to Be By Dineen Miller Vietnam War 1973
Alan James was going to a party at the Wolfe home to visit one more time with his best friend, Patrick Wolfe before Patrick has to go back to Vietnam. Patrick’s father, Henry Wolfe, has been like a second father to Alan through the years. While at the party he meets Patrick’s sister-in-law, Gail Gibson who is in town for the summer. He offers to show Gail around New York, even though he knows she is engaged. But the more time they spend together, the more Alan is convinced they belong together. After finding her fiancé in a compromising position with his secretary, Gail calls off their engagement. She again meets with Alan before he leaves for Vietnam; she promises him she will meet him at Bow Bridge when he returns from the war. Before he leaves Alan gives Gail the gold coin that Henry Wolfe gave him when Patrick turned it down.
To Sing Another Day By Kim Vogel Sawyer WWII 1941
Helen Wolfe’s mother and father were killed in a trolley accident and she was left to care for her 3 much younger siblings. Because of this new responsibility she had to sacrifice her dream to be a singer. With no money left, in desperation Helen asks her brother Henry if she can have the gold coin he was given by their father. Helen takes it to the local pawnshop to see how much she can get for it, there she meets Bernie O’Day. Even though Bernie knows the coin is worthless he hears God tell him to give Helen money anyway, so he gives her forty dollars for something he will never be able to sell. After a series of events, including Henry showing up by chance to his door looking for a job, Bernie and the Wolfe family draw close. Bernie gives the coin back to Helen but when he has to leave to join the war, they give the coin back to Bernie with the promise they all will be waiting for him at Bow Bridge when he returns.
Beauty From Ashes By MaryLu Tyndall The Civil War 1865
Permelia and Annie Shaw are sisters that have endured much sorrow because of the war, they have lost both parents and now their brother is presumed dead. Before the war Annie was engaged to William Wolfe, a colonel in the Union Army, and to show his love before he leaves he gives her a twenty dollar gold piece with the words “Love Never Fails W. W.”, which Annie throws out her window in anger because William has been gone too long. Thankfully Permelia sees it and keeps it safe, and that’s not the only thing Permelia has done. When Annie refused to write William anymore letters, Permelia kept sending letters to him signing Annie’s name. Those letters were filled with the love Permelia has for William, but he doesn’t know they are written by Permelia. William is in love with the Annie that wrote him the beautiful letters.
What will happen when William returns? Will Annie still have the same love for William or will she be so appalled by his disfigured face that she will refuse his proposal and stay with the man she met while William was away fighting? Who will be the one to meet him at Bow Bridge?
This was a great story written by marvelous writers, although it was a bit unconventional in the way the first story was divided up between the other three stories. I was thrown off at first when Sean and Jamie’s story stopped abruptly and A Love Meant to Be picked up. By the time I got to the end of A Love Meant to Be, and Sean and Jamie‘s story once again picked up, I had it figured out… there’s a pattern here! J Well done ladies for giving me something that warmed my heart and challenged my mind!
I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Central Park Rendezvous is written by 4 authors, each telling the story of 1 generation and how the coin played a part in their lives. It amazes me how the 4 stories are brought together as one to complete the story of the ancient coin, where it came from and how it was passed along from one generation to the other. It tells of love, trials, and overcoming obstacles. An amazing story of how God continues to work in their lives, even after many years have passed. A wonderful read that leaves you wanting to "get to know" all of the characters more.
This book had a very interesting storyline. We start out in modern day New York City where we meet Jamie and Sean. The other stories intertwine together through letters written by Sean’s family from the past. We travel to 1973 during Vietnam war then back to Jamie and Sean. We then head to 1941 and the beginning of WWII. After another stop back in the present we head all the way back to the civil war. The book concludes with present day.
What I liked: I really like how this story was told. It felt like one novel not 4 shorter ones. Having one of the stories be the focal point was also fun as it felt more like a regular novel. The authors did such a good job of writing together I kept forgetting that 4 people wrote the book. The use of the letters to hold the story together made it unique.
What I did not like: I wish Helen and Bernie’s story(1941) had been a little longer. It also felt like that story was left hanging a little bit and it would have been nice to know how it all turned out for them.
Over all I really enjoyed this book I even cried at the end. I just really liked how all the stories tied together and make the whole book uniform. A must read!
The stories in this book takes place in different time periods but the authors bring the stories together very well. I have read many of these four-in-one books. This particular book is unique in how the story lines are tied together.
Some of these four-in-one books have stories that could really stand-alone. They may relate to each other but you could read one and enjoy it without reading the others. Central Park Rendezvous is different in that you have to read all of them to get the full story. I liked that about this book. Written this way by these great authors gives the book a novel feel instead of four separate stories.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. I liked the characters in each story. I enjoyed the settings and thought they made each story unique. Each author writes her part of the story very well. They all flow well together. The book itself has a conclusion you will enjoy. I liked the historical aspects in this book as well. If you like Christian historical fiction with a touch of romance, you will enjoy this book!
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
Most Barbour novella collections are four separate but related romances, usually four friends or siblings, four people in the same location, or four members of the same family in different generations. While Central Park Rendevous follows this general pattern, it is different and I really liked that originality.
Each story features a romance that is some way related to Central Park (the title of the collection is a big clue), gold coin from the Civil War, a soldier who has been changed by his wartime experiences, whether physically or mentally.
The first story is Dream a Little Dream, by Ronie Kendig. It is set in the present day, and is unusual in that it is actually told in several parts, so that it forms both the beginning and the end of the collection, introducing and rounding out the four stories. Jamie Russo meets Sean Wolfe, who has recently returned from Afghanistan.
A Love Meant to Be by Dineen Miller is set in 1973, in the Vietnam War. Alan James is off to war and plans to reunite with Gal Gibson when he gets home. But Gail’s sister foils their reunion, until Jamie, his niece, finds out and trys to make things right thirty-eight years later.
To Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer was my favourite individual story. Set in World War II, it was the story of Helen Wolfe, who has to relinquish her dreams of being a professional singer when her fiancé abandons her and she has to care for her family. She pawns a family heirloom, a Civil War gold coin, to feed her family, an act which changes everything.
Beauty From Ashes by MaryLu Tyndall provided the Civil War perspective, through the story of William Wolfe, who gave his fiancé, Annie, a gold coin engraved with his initials before going to fight in the Civil War. When he returns home, he finds Annie changed from her letters… and her sister has the coin.
This is the best Barbour novella collection I have read, both because of the quality of writing of the individual authors, and because of the originality of having four stories so interwoven that story one is actually told in four parts, yet manages to fit into the whole, and all centred around a reunion in Central Park. An excellent beach read.
Thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Four authors. One story. My review of 'Central Park Rendezvous' by Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller, Kim Vogel Sawyer and MaryLu Tyndall: These four authors did an amazing job bringing each of their sections together to create a wonderful tale. This book follows the lives of four generations, each with their own heartbreaking and heartwarming story; yet all sharing the same goal. I found myself going back and forth from present day New York to New York past. It was a whirlwind of time and emotions! Reading this book helped me to realize the impact a war can have on the lives of people and how putting our faith in God is job number one. I encourage anyone who has a loved one in the military, anyone who is seeking God's purpose for their lives or simply anyone who enjoys getting totally swept away, to pick up 'Central Park Rendezvous' and let yourself get lost in the lives of these wonderful characters.
Ever been to Central Park in New York City? I haven’t. . .and haven’t had a huge desire to before now, either. I’m a farm girl from the West, and I like it that way!
However, Central Park Rendezvous is a collection of four stories which feature Bow Bridge as a lovers’ meeting place in Central Park, and some of the pictures I’ve seen as I work on scheduling the posts on Romancing America definitely tempt me. I hope you’ll click over and subscribe there to read posts and excerpts of each of the releases, as well as interviews with the authors.
Central Park Rendezvous is a combination of contemporary and historic stories in the Wolfe family. Not only that, but each of the four novellas deals with war heroes and the aftermath of various wars.
I read an advanced reader copy on my Kindle via NetGalley with the goal of reviewing it. I thought there was an error in the download when, at about 15% of the way in, I found myself starting the second novella when the first had not yet come to a conclusion. In a unique twist, the first novella is split into four sections woven around the other three stories as the contemporary characters discover letters from the past and delve into the Wolfe family heritage.
The novella that begins the collection and ties it all together is “Dream a Little Dream” by Ronie Kendig. Sean Wolfe has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The main thing he learned in war–and his fiancée’s ‘Dear John’ letter–is that his mother was right: he is no good, and no one could love him. If no one could love him before, why now, when he’s disfigured from the war? Enter Jamie Russo, a woman who’s put off her own dreams in hopes of helping her beloved uncle find his. Neither Sean nor Jamie dares to dream. . .until they find an engraved coin and a packet of letters from the past that shed a whole new light on the Wolfe family, and the need to follow one’s dreams.
“A Love Meant to Be,” by Dineen Miller, is the second tale in the collection. Jamie’s uncle, Alan James, has spent nearly forty years hoping to find his true love, Gail Gibson, once again. They’d met the summer before he went off to Vietnam and fallen deeply in love, though Gail had been engaged to someone else at the time. She’d broken her engagement and promised to meet Alan on Bow Bridge on New Years Day, but she never showed up. Jamie takes matters into her own hands to find the elusive Gail, but can true love be re-ignited after all they’ve been through? ‘Love never fails’ is written on the coin, but is it true?
“To Sing Another Day” is the third novella, written by Kim Vogel Sawyer. The years preceding World War II have been rough for Helen Wolfe. Her parents both died in a trolley accident, leaving Helen to raise her younger siblings herself, though her fiancé thought she should put them in an orphanage and pursue her dreams of singing on stage with him. This caused the break in their relationship. Still, Helen can barely make ends meet and has to pawn the gold coin that’s been in the family since the Civil War. Pawn Shop owner Bernie O’Day wishes he could do more for lovely Helen than give her double the coin’s worth, but Helen is strong and stubborn. . .and resisting God’s work in her life. Bernie hires Helen’s younger brother, which gives him other ideas for how to help this family. But will Helen allow him to be her champion, giving her reason to sing again?
MaryLu Tyndall wrote the fourth novella, “Beauty from Ashes.” Permelia Shaw has spent the Civil War trying to hold the family’s tobacco plantation in Virginia together and coddling her sister Annie, who’s wedding to William Wolfe had been delayed due to the war. But now William is back, wounded, only to discover that Annie has been seeing other men in his absence–and that one of them claims to be her fiancé. He begins to see Annie as she truly is and wonders how he’d missed the dignity and beauty of her quiet sister Permelia. Annie refuses to choose between the two men who claim her hand, and Permelia won’t force William to choose. Which sister will meet William on Bow Bridge on New Years Day? Is it true that ‘Love never fails?’
What did I enjoy about these stories? I loved the strong ties that weave between them: the difficulties and wounds from the wars, the gold coin engraved with ‘Love never fails,’ and the pursuit of dreams, as well as the setting of Bow Bridge in Central Park. The most fun thing about the collection is the interweaving of Sean Wolfe and Jamie Russo’s story between the others, and seeing the impact learning his family history had on Sean. Besides, I tend to love contemporary stories best!
Dream a Little Dream by Ronie Kendig Afghanistan War, present day
Jamie Rosso's uncle Alan is a collector of war memorabilia. He reseaches medals and other pieces and tries to find out who they belonged to. He's a Vietnam veteran and when he returned the woman he was supposed to marry was gone. He always kept hoping he would find her. Now after almost 40 years he's ready to move on with life and he's closing his shop. Jamie can't believe uncle Alan is giving up and she decides not to give up. When Alan is not looking she's snatching away a box with letters from the Wolfe Estate. The Wolfe family is very dear to Uncle Alan and Jamie can't believe he wants to get rid of this box with letters. Jamie decides to dig through the box and tries to find the living Wolfe relatives.
Sean Wolfe got injured by an IED in the Afghanistan War. He's suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury and has scars on his neck and jaw. His fiancée broke up with him. He is hurt and swears he is done with women. Sean comes from a family of warriors. His father served in Vietnam and came back a different man. He killed himself when Sean was just 4 years old.
Jamie found Sean and gave him the letters from his grandfather. First he didn't want to read them, because of the bad memories they would give. But Jamie told him: "We all need the bad memories to recognize the good ones." (I love that quote!) Sean starts reading the letters and finds out that his dad was a better man than what his mom let him to believe. When he is reading the letters he finds out about a coin that has passed through the Wolfe family for centuries. He asked Jamie if she also found that coin in the box with letters.
Jamie wonders if Sean knows a woman called Gail. She is the woman her Uncle Alan was supposed to marry. Jamie is convinced there must be a connection to the Wolfe family.
Together Jamie and Sean are reading the Wolfe letters and learn the history of the Wolfe family.
A Love Meant to Be by Dineen Miller Vietnam War, 1973 Alan is at his friend's (Sean's father) house and there he meets Gail. He's struck by her beauty and disappointed to find out she's engaged to another man. Gail is in New York City for the Summer. Alan offers to show her around and finds himself falling in love with her. Gail is attracted to him, too, but she's engaged. Can their love ever happen? When Alan is called for duty to Vietnam. Gail promised him to wait for him and they agreed to meet each other on the Bow Bridge. Alan gave the Civil War coin to Gail as a promise of his love for her. But when he came back there was no sign of Gail. What ever happened that she wasn't there and couldn't be found?
To Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer WWII, 1941 Helen Wolfe is the oldest of her siblings. Their parents died and Helen tries to run the family. But when her sister gets sick for a long time, she must stop working to care for her and they ran out of money. Her brother Henry has the Civil War coin and it's the only thing of worth they possess. Helen went to the pawn shop in hopes to get good money for the coin. There she met shop owner Bernie O'Day. He felt sorry for Helen and gave her more money for the coin than its worth. Some time later Henry Wolfe came to Bernie's shop asking for a job. Bernie decided to hire him although he didn't need an extra hand. He just wanted to help the Wolfe family. He starts to care for the family and hopes it might grow to something more with Helen. When Japan attacks the US, Bernie signs up for duty. Will the coin return to the Wolfe family?
Beauty from Ashes by MaryLu Tyndall Civil War, 1865 Permelia and Annie Shaw are sisters who live on the Shaw Plantation. Their parents died during the Civil War and their brother is serving in the Army. Annie is engaged to Wiliam Wolfe, colonel in the Army. When he left he gave Annie the coin with the inscription 'Love Never Fails W W'. He's been gone for years and Annie gave up on William and found a new boyfriend. She stopped writing to William and tossed the coin out of the window. Her sister Permelia found the coin and started writing letters to William. William thought Annie was writing the letters and he discovered that she has more depth than he thought. He started to fall in love with this new Annie. When the war is over he rushes over to the Shaw Plantation and wonders what Annie will think of his injury--burn marks on the right side of his face. When Annie sees them she is shocked and she cannot make herself look at him. Permelia is shocked too, but she is not afraid to look at him or his scars. What he sees in her eyes is confusing him. Annie is hiding in her room for two days and Permelia is trying to encourage Annie to come out and meet William. When she finally meets him she can't look him in the eyes or to his injured face. William finds out that she sounds so much different than she did in her letters. He also finds out that he is no longer attracted to her, but Permelia makes his heart race. A Wolfe is man of his word and he promised to marry Annie, so he still intends to do so. When Annie's other lover comes calling, she must make a decision, but she doesn't. Who will she finally choose? What will William do when he finds out who wrote the letters? Who will meet William on New Year's day on the Bow Bridge?
This was a tremendous read! I loved to see all the novellas get connected to each other. Ronie Kendig's Dream a Little Dream is split up in four parts and is told between the other three novellas. Jamie and Sean's story each time develops further after they have learned more about the Wolfe family (after another novella). Will they also find love?
All novellas center around the Bow Bridge in Central Park - William Wolfe's coin with inscription 'Love Never Fails' - in each story someone is struggling to trust God and in each story a man goes or went to war.
*Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my review copy.*