When Molly Dugan's best friend gets married and leaves St. Paul, Minnesota, Molly feels alone and plans a visit to her brother, Patrick, in Las Vegas. Molly had been worried about him ever since his wife died in a tragic boating accident. Grieving she could understand, but she sensed something deeper going on. And she was concerned about Patrick's six-year-old daughter, Bethany. So she sets aside her life in St. Paul to spend an indeterminate time in Vegas. When Molly gets there, she finds more than she bargained on. And in the lead-up to Christmas, the situation only gets worse. Little Bethany loses her last anchor. How does Molly convince her that somehow, Christmas will come?
This is a delightful novella about tragedy, love, and restoration. Christmas is difficult after the loss of a loved one and Phifer has done a great job of creating just such a situation. Yet she has taken the loss and, as God promises, worked it for good. All of the wonderful redeeming events that happen could not have without the tragedy happening first.
The characters are well developed. Molly is at a loss when Bethany's world falls apart – again. But with the support of Patrick's wise mother-in-law, we see Molly grow into the person she needs to be. That little Bethany is a kick. Phifer did an excellent job creating her. And the handsome fellow, Patrick's fellow fire fighter, is quite a man, godly, compassionate, sensitive. He brings with him a strong element of Christianity that eventually permeates the family.
Be aware that this novella is about tragic loss just before the Christmas season. While it is an excellent novella, it may be hard for some to read if they have experienced something similar.
I really liked how the story ended. It is a very good example of God's grace and restoration. Readers will get a true sense of what Christmas means.
Peggy Blann Phifer is an author, columnist, book reviewer and author interviewer whose work has appeared on various web sites and periodicals, both in print and online. She enjoys handcrafts of all kinds. A retired executive assistant, she and her husband of 25 years live in southern Nevada.
Elk Lake Publishing, 188 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.