Copyright: 2007 (344 pages)
Series: Harlequin Special Release
An anthology of three stories, each based on a popular Christmas-themed story: A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Of the original stories, I’m least familiar with Miracle on 34th Street. However, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of Colleen’s story. Besides the theme of retelling a Christmas classic, the stories had something else in common: three of the main protagonists are employed in the same profession as their fathers, all who had died rather suddenly. Two of the stories are set in modern-day New Jersey and feature protagonists getting a second chance with the person they love. Kathleen Long is the only author that I’ve read before.
“An American Carol” by Jasmine Cresswell
Summary: A New Jersey businessman, Charles D. Brentwood — a descendant of Dickens — finds himself living his famous ancestor’s novel.
Comments: I thought the author did an excellent job, given the format, depicting the transformation of Charles from the miserly businessman back into the man he was before his father died. Charles’s mother, and his relationship with her, could have been fleshed out more, since it was so important to how and why Charles became such a cold and unfeeling person. The author gave Gloria, the under appreciated assistant, more modern worries: illegal alien parents afraid of deportation. Since her parents are illegals, they have no health insurance. And because Charles is such a miser, there is no company health plan.
“Miracle on Bannock Street” by Colleen Collins
Summary: Private investigator Stella Gray, star witness in “Santa Claus”‘s mental competence hearing, is given temporary custody of a troubled boy who is facing being sent to a juvenile facility. Though it seems that Stella enjoys her work, she misses the connection of family, especially once Bobby comes into her life.
Comments: Because of the flexible story line of the original, Miracle can be adapted to any time and place. The author set her story in 1955 Denver, and I think it works well for the story. The ending is a bit corny, but it’s a Christmas story — it’s expected.
“It’s a Wonderful Night” by Kathleen Long
Summary: Dr. Merri Downey wishes she left Dodge behind her for good, when she had the chance. Matt Riley wishes that too, and is doing what he can to make her go away. Both are shown what would have happened to their lives, and the people of Dodge, had things gone differently.
Comments: This was my favorite. Because of the format, major adjustments had to be made for this adaptation to work. I liked that both Merri and Matt had to see the difference Merri made in everyone’s life. Merri wanted out of Dodge because she didn’t think she could do great things there. Matt, who resented Merri choosing medical school and leaving Dodge over him, still held a grudge against her and never fully appreciated what Merri did for the town. They both make the wish that she had left for good after her father’s funeral. In the end, Merri realizes she is doing great things, and Matt finally lets go of his resentment to see that he still loves Merri. Great read.
Started: 30 November 2007
Finished: 14 December 2007