Finley’s Department Store in Manhattan is a bustling spot several weeks prior to December 25th. Jake Finley, the owner’s son and only heir, has overridden the chief buyer’s authority, slipping into deep water with his father. He has stocked 500 units of Intellytron the SuperRobot, a $250 toy that he is certain will be the sales hit of the season for the store. But only three units have been sold with two weeks left until Christmas, and he’s beginning to doubt his decision following a humbling confrontation with his dad, J.R.
A dejected Jake returns to the toy department to find a new employee named Emily Merkle, an elderly grandmother type whose badge mistakenly reads “Mrs. Miracle.” He is put off by her take-charge attitude and considers firing her. He figures she will not be up to the sales tasks required of a bustling toy department. Besides, she seems to be a meddling busybody who talks about the Finleys in a too-familiar manner, referring to his father as “J.R.” But her skill as a saleslady takes center stage when she moves the Telly off the shelves and into customers’ shopping bags.
Holly Larson, a young woman who works as an assistant to a demanding New York fashion designer, needs a miracle in her life as well. She is acting as guardian for her nephew, Gabe, while his father serves a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Juggling her job with the demands of surrogate motherhood takes its toll on her. She questions her ability to make Gabe happy and keep up with her boss’s outrageous demands, while designer Lindy Lee complicates her fragile financial condition by denying her usual holiday bonus. Holly and Gabe are at Finley’s where Gabe’s wish for Christmas is the Telly, so her problem now is to find the money to buy it for him. There she meets Mrs. Miracle, who, in turn, introduces them to Jake. The elderly woman acts as matchmaker to Holly and Jake, and assures Gabe that a Telly will be reserved for his Christmas. Both Jake and Holly observe her interference as meddling, but they soon find that love is in the air.
Tragedy struck the Finleys years before when Jake’s mother and sister were killed in a Christmas Eve auto accident. Since then, J.R. and his son have flown to the Caribbean on Christmas Eve to forget what happened; celebrating is out of the question. Now, Jake is torn between a desire to stay in New York and the obligation to join his father for Christmas. Mrs. Miracle intervenes in ways beyond normal comprehension to satisfy many holiday expectations.
CALL ME MRS. MIRACLE is an entertaining holiday story that surely will touch the heart. It encompasses the weighty issues of wartime service, duty, separated families, the elderly in a fast-paced society, job-related stress, loss and love. Best of all, readers will rediscover the magic of Christmas. Fans will be delighted to know that the movie version will be airing on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, November 27th at 8pm ET, which is the sequel to last year’s Mrs. Miracle, the cable network’s highest rated film of 2009. The new movie should be equally as successful if it approaches anywhere near the warmth of Macomber’s written words.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 5, 2011