Sincerely Yours: A Novella Collection
This collection of inspirational romance novellas is worth reading. Each works with a theme based on a Bible verse epigraph, and they are arranged chronologically, set in 1825, 1858, 1892, and 1911 America, respectively. All of them end with an author’s note describing her interest in the historical aspect that led to the story, offering insight into the writing and research process.
The standout among these tales is Amanda Cabot’s “One Little Word.” In this story, Cabot explores what happens when a rich socialite meets a carousel carver, who challenges her to make her life useful. The relative simplicity of Cabot’s plot makes this novella appealing, because the main historical focus is on the carousel carving, rather than a more complicated historical issue. Cabot focuses on character development, whereas in the other stories the historical issue overtakes the characters. The other stories should have been longer works in order to more comprehensively pursue the issues they want to cover.
The other three novellas are certainly enjoyable, covering topics like female writers attempting to be published in magazines (Shorey), the changes wrought by steamboat travel and trade (Eakes), and a clinic that prescribed a “wasting diet” which was in fact starving its patients (Kirkpatrick).