Author: Derrick Knight
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Joe Koehler and his six-year old son, Joey, are down on their luck. Currently, Joe is unemployed due to a bad economy and taking care of a medically complex son. Recently father and son became homeless due to their apartment catching on fire and Joe being without any insurance. They are forced to live in Joe’s old red pick-up truck. Eventually father and son take refuge at Hope House, a local homeless shelter, which is run by a kindly, yet mysterious, elderly woman named Emily.
Sidney Maier recently inherited his grandparents home but the house is in desperate need of repair. Skills Sidney greatly lacks. He befriends a fellow church member Emily who is the Interim Director at Hope House. Sidney tells Emily that he needs help with remodeling his new home. Also, he confides in her, that he is lonely and wishes he could meet someone special.
Emily and her assistants orchestrate for Joe and Sidney to meet where an instant attraction forms between both men. Joe and Sidney embark on a journey of courtship, but soon a negative force learns of their budding romance and wants to stop it at any cost. Emily and her assistants must all use their special talents if Joe and Sidney are meant to live happily ever after.
Sometimes an author or book catches my attention because everyone is talking about it. Sometimes I pick up said book and struggle to understand WHY everyone is talking about said title. Sadly, Miracle on Mistletoe Lane by Derrick Knight is just such a title.
From the first page, I was left shaking my head. The story itself showed some potential. However, I found getting to the story to be quite an effort. The phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind. If I constantly have to translate badly edited and proofed prose in my head, I don’t have time to connect with the characters.
Now you are probably saying “well you can just ignore it and enjoy the story.” There is a level of editing and proofing mistakes I can ignore and still find enjoyment in the world the author has offered us. However, I was unable to do this with Miracle.
I highlighted a number of passages as I was reading to illustrate my points. However, I have so many highlighted, I am unsure which ones to use. We will start with the obvious problem of missing, extra, and mistaken words. Here are only a few such examples:
Joe did not know what say
Sidney and Joe greeted their quests. Everyone gasped when they saw the backyard.
“Daddy, we need to back get home as soon as possible,” Joey exclaimed.
My next issue was the dialogue itself. While much of it was fine, there was a fair portion that left me wondering if the characters in question would really talk in such a manner. If felt too formal, eloquent, and in some cases didactic for these characters.
“That is good to hear,” he said merrily.
“The Uno Cafe is a LGBT welcoming restaurant,” Sidney explained. “Oakhill tends to be a conservative town, but the Uno Cafe is an oasis for the liberal, progressive crowd. Also, Stella’s younger brother is gay.”
“That’s wonderful,” Joe replied, grinning from ear to ear. “Because I’ve loved you for a very long time. I fell in love with you that first time you came into Joey’s hospital room. I could only hope a man like you would be interested in a common Joe like me.”
The more subtle issues, that a competent editor would reign in, is the whole telling versus showing debacle. This entire book is told.
Soon Joe felt himself getting aroused. It had been an extremely long time since he was intimate with another man. His son’s health took priority over his desires of the heart. Joe couldn’t rid his mind of the image of the volunteer schoolteacher. In fact, when Joe looked down he saw he was fully erect. He took the opportunity of solitude to relieve himself of his inner frustration. Soon Joe released his pent-up tension by thinking of an inviting fantasy between him and the volunteer schoolteacher.
And just in case we didn’t understand what we were told, it is reinforced for us:
Emily extended her hand to shake Glen’s hand. When Glen came closer he stumbled from the effects of his drinking.
“Sorry,” he apologized. “I’ve been drinking.”
Which leads me directly into my next issue. Where was the conflict? It is 163 pages in PDF; I would expect some conflict. The author spends the first part of the story setting up a suitable villain in Glen. However, the climax of the story is him being drunk at a party. Which then sets us up for a couple chapters of his spiral into oblivion. We get that the alcoholism is bad; we do. But he is not who the story is about. It felt like a heavy-handed sermon on the evils of alcohol plopped into the middle of an otherwise sweet Christmas tale.
As far as storyline goes, how in the YEAR of timeline did they not realize that Emily and her crew were magical. I appreciate that the author did not try to make this a one season insta-love thing, but just not even putting all the obvious signs together, while noting them, is just a bit much for me. Of course, that could be chalked up to the whole idea that kids are more open the to fantastical than are adults.
In the end, I am giving this title 1.5 stars. The stars are for the beautiful Reese Dante cover that immediately puts me in the Christmas spirit and for the potential in the plot itself. It is about love and redemption and nice for a holiday tale without being overly cheesy. The plot would be right at home on the Hallmark channel (if they ever deign to have a gay couple as their main characters).
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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