Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Novella: The Christmas Star by Diane Darcy

Publication date:  10th October 2011
Published by: Self-published
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Length: 97 pages

My Synopsis
Twas the night before Christmas ... well not quite, but close. It is December at night and Marilyn Banks is outside of her farmhouse in Wyoming heading towards the barn on her way to feed her sheep.  She sees no sign of the moon in the night sky but she does see a bright star.  It is shining so brilliantly it reminds her of the star in the Christmas story.  She knows it is pointless but she decides to make a wish.  She wishes for the one thing that will make her and her loved ones happy.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Chicago, Elise Banks is also out at night.  Having returned from work she is unloading her stuff from her car.  She enters her apartment and gets ready to spend another night alone with her cats and romance novel.  While heating her evening meal she sorts through her mail and comes across a postcard-sized announcement that Gabriel Christensen is giving a seminar on "How to get organised, get focused and get the life you really want."  She throws it in the bin. She reaches in her handbag to get something and, to her surprise, the very same card is in there.  She throws that one away too.  She resumes the search in her bag and pulls out, yes, yet another identical card, which she bins. The following day she has to give a presentation at the staff meeting at work.  After a successful talk her boss tells her he is sending her to a seminar.  He wants her to listen to the lecture and take notes. It turns out to be Gabriel Christensen's seminar.

Elise attends and while there she notices that Gabriel is making regular eye contact with her as he speaks.  It is almost as if he is directing the lecture at her. He starts to talk about forgiveness and this makes her uneasy. Elise is persuaded to not only write a letter of forgiveness to her father, to whom she hardly speaks, but also to address it and (symbolically) mail the letter in a mock mailbox provided by Gabriel.  When she tries to retrieve her letter at the end of the seminar it is nowhere to be found.

Soon after, Elise receives a phone call from her father.  He tells her he got her letter.  He invites her home for Christmas so that they may patch up their differences.  Elise accepts ...

My Review
I liked this novella because it had many of the elements one would expect of a Christmas story.   It is about a family that has been torn apart by matters that took place a long time ago.  Elise and her father were unable to forgive each other because of old wounds that have not healed well.  Fortunately, with Marilyn's intervention; a wish, an angel and a miracle or two, Elise and her dad are able to forgive each other.  There was reference to the true meaning of Christmas and  I thought all of this was nicely done.

There is also a love story at the centre. I liked the humour and the dialogue between Elise and Jason.  It showed that they were kindred spirits and (despite the turmoil and angst) they seemed to pick up where they had left off all those years ago.  Yes, they act like a couple of kids, but for me that was about them reverting back to how things were when they were together as kids.  Their exchanges are neither soppy nor overly sentimental, which is how I prefer my romance novels to be.

Is the writing exceptional? No (But then neither is my own.).  Are there vocabulary issues?  Yes. Pernickety readers may take issue with it but it did not matter to me.  The storytelling is what shone through ... as brightly as the Christmas Star.

This is a good read from an independent author.  It was a free Kindle download and I would recommend it.

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