This mostly contemporary collection of fictional Christmas stories set in the American Midwest comes wrapped in the themes of miracles, redemption, and happy endings. The author successfully evokes the spirit of the season using powerful atmospherics like candlelit churches, big old houses, an old-fashioned department store, an orphanage, and of course, snow. Mannequins come alive, and a white owl flies into a home to deliver a message of hope.
One of the author’s strengths is his ability to create believable characters that drive these fantastic stories of positive outcomes, though the outcomes themselves, ever upbeat, often stretch credulity to its breaking point.
The text includes typos, punctuation and spelling errors, but not enough to be distracting. The writing is a reflection of a gentler, though less honest time, such as the ‘50s, perhaps. The author refrains from using slang and profanity. These stories of nuclear families offer no concession to the changing social landscape and its attendant issues. The only story involving a minority is about a black man, a serial adulterer, who comes to see the error of his ways.
It is clear, however, from the author’s overall tone, that there is no intention to offend. It seems likely that these stories have risen organically from the author’s life and experience in the conservative Midwest. The reader must, therefore, agree to his terms before opening this book. Cynics need not apply.
This book is for older souls longing for nostalgia and the hope that somehow the clock can be turned back to a more familiar time.
Also available in hardcover.