Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel
Debbie Macomber just loves to create a good yarn. Whether it’s her bestselling titles that feature a knitting store or an unlikely protagonist who succeeds against all odds, her storytelling heart shines through each and every tale she weaves. In her newest offering, MR. MIRACLE, Macomber cheerfully presents a holiday story that combines the winsomeness of a visiting angel (similar to Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life) with the more poignant soulfulness of A Christmas Carol to bring to life a memorable reading experience.
Guardian angel Harry Mills surveys the scene of the campus on Southshore Community College, as well as the blustery overcast weather. This is Earth, he quips. Although Harry has been studying human behavior for some time, he wasn’t prepared for how highly charged human emotions could be, especially when he begins experiencing them himself. Under the careful instruction of his mentor, Celeste Chapeaux, Harry is charged with teaching a classic literature class at Southshore. Celeste questions Harry to make certain he has properly prepared and has read A CHRISTMAS CAROL for himself.
"Macomber cheerfully presents a holiday story that combines the winsomeness of a visiting angel (similar to Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life) with the more poignant soulfulness of A Christmas Carol to bring to life a memorable reading experience."
Although Harry is the new professor at the college, his assignment is to help get 24-year-old Addie Folsom back on track with her life and, if possible, discover romantic love in the process. Harry meets Addie in class and surveys her, as well as his other students. Each one, Harry realizes, has had some hard knocks in life and could use some of his heavenly intervention (or re-direction). Addie, though, who has been floundering around for six years, decides to move back home to live with her newly widowed mom and begin attending school. This sudden decision takes her grieving mom by surprise, and it is Addie who is then shocked to hear that her mom had planned on traveling with a good friend during the entire holiday season to help her handle the first major holiday as a widow.
Addie is disappointed but understands her mom’s decision. While opting to make the best of a now too-quiet holiday on her own, Addie is summoned to care for her former neighbor and childhood crush, Erich Simmons, who gets into an automobile accident and injures both wrists, rendering him virtually helpless. While Erich tries to welcome Addie back to the neighborhood, she gives him the cold shoulder, recalling how cruel he was to her as a youngster. Still, Addie steps up and begins making meals for Erich, spending time with him, and just generally reacquainting herself with him on a whole new adult level.
Of course, Erich hates the Christmas season because a former girlfriend dumped him, and Addie works just as hard to help him overcome his disgust with Christmas as he works to charm her. While these two young people are developing more than a neighborly friendship, Harry is behind the scenes coaxing and coaching Addie on to develop confidence in herself and her abilities.
Harry himself finds that he is often ill-equipped to handle the divorced fellow professor who has her eyes on him, the cantankerous principal who criticizes everything he does, and the assortment of everyday challenges that come part and parcel of being human.
Macomber’s latest story is tender and will touch the hearts of all readers who value a gentler told tale during the almost continually fast-paced and stressful holiday season. Fans and newcomers alike with be content to settle down and relax with MR. MIRACLE.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on October 8, 2014