If Only In My Dreams, Wendy Markham
Several years ago I was reading romance books rather regularly, usually the adventure type where the male or female lead was some type of professional adventurer (Navy SEAL, police officer, etc.). Then I got tired of the repetitive plots and bundled them all off to the library except for Laura Hayden's books, Alan Brennert's Kindred Spirits, and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
However, Dreams is a keeper: it's the story of actress Clara McCollum, who's about to start filming the plum role of the sweetheart of Jed Landry, a real-life World War II soldier who died in Normandy. But Clara has just received a medical blow: she has breast cancer. She is in mental turmoil when she steps onto the vintage train they are using in the moviethen the train jerks and she is thrown to the floor. When she rises and gets off the train, she is in 1941, and there waiting to help her is the real Jed Landry.
This is a well-written time-travel romance that I found enjoyable not just because of the time period. Markham works all aspects of the past and present plot into a coherent whole.
I have one tiny quibble with the story: part of the plot hinges on the "I'll Be Home for Christmas" line "...and presents on the tree." Jed Landry in 1941 wonders why the line is not "...under the tree" and says it makes no sense. Jed should still remember when some gifts were part of the Christmas tree decorations; I have books written in the 1930s and 1940s where gifts are placed on the tree as they had been during Victorian times.
Re-read: Sleigh Bells for Windy Foot, Frances Frost
This is a book I read for the first time over 42 years ago, in the Stadium School library. It was one of the first books I went hunting for when the internet made finding old books so simple. It is the story of the Clark family, a farm family in 1948 Vermont, particularly the oldest boy Toby, age twelve, who owns a dapple-grey pony named Windy Foot. They are expecting their friends the Burnhams, widowed Jerry and his twelve-year-old daughter Tish, and the story follows their simple Christmas preparations and celebrations: decorating with woodsy decorations, awaiting the birth of a calf, buying gifts and taking part in a carol sing, skiing, etc. Warm, wonderful stuff. You want to grab your winter things and go live with the Clarks.
Re-read: A Treasury of Christmas Stories, Webb Garrison
These are Yuletide stories with a twist: they all involve some historical event that took place or that was initiated at Christmas: the beginnings of Miami as a vacation location, President Theodore Roosevelt's acceptance of the cutting of Christmas trees, the safe escape of slaves William and Ellen Craft to Philadelphia, Thomas Nast's rework of Santa Claus from Dutch burgher to elfeven the Magna Carta. Something different from the rank and file Christmas literature.