by Janet Elaine Smith
(Star Publish / 1-932-99358-4 / 978-1-932-99358-5 / October 2006 / 136 pages / $12.95 / $11.01 Amazon / originally released November 2000)
Reviewed by Celia Hayes for PODBRAM
A Christmas Dream is a short and happily-ending novelette, as perfect for this time of year as Miracle on 42nd Street or A Christmas Story, and perhaps a little more relatable, as it is set in modern – or mostly modern times. It is as simple as the best stories usually are, and a note from the author at the end tells the reader that the story had its genesis in something which she and her late husband actually witnessed; a young boy in a McDonald’s throwing a tantrum and shouting….”All I want for Christmas is you for my Daddy!” The boy’s mother seemed hugely embarrassed, but the young man with her promptly pulled a diamond ring out of his pocket and proposed on the spot. A Christmas Dream is, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story. Susan, a young widow, lives alone with her young son Jeremy, and works as a secretary in a large insurance firm in Duluth. She is still mourning the death of her husband in the Gulf War, but is beginning to let go of that grief. One evening, her car won’t start – and the president of the company offers to jump-start the dead battery. Unknown to Susan, Kevin is rather attracted to her – in the most gentlemanly way, of course. The rest of this novelette follows their courtship; of Kevin establishing a relationship not only with Susan, but with her son, and of Susan coming to realize that she must let go of the past – that it is necessary for Jeremy that she do so.
A Christmas Dream is a wise and gentle book, with a lovely sense of time and place – a northern city in the icy grip of winter, a dreary place but lit with holiday lights and the rituals of the season.
See Also: Another JES website