Ever since I read the synopsis, I have been dying to read this story, so when it came time for Kathleen’s feature, I asked if I could review it. She agreed. Thanks, Kathleen!
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When You Wish Upon a Christmas Star…
I distinctly remember the year my mother gave me O’ Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” to read. The story did deep, beautiful things in my soul. It resonated with me like my father’s weep-worthy ballads.
So when I went to school and told my friends, none of them thought it the beautiful and amazing like I did. They all said some variation of, “That’s horrible! Neither of them got a gift!”
But I saw it. Probably thanks to those years of listening to those ballads. I saw the richness and beauty of two people giving everything they had for another. My throat still aches thinking of the love and sacrifice.
That .99 price tag just about broke the budget, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Take one for the team and all that. Flipping past other stories to get to it—also not easy. But I managed.
And the story opened.
Let’s start with the writing. Kathleen Freeman has a beautiful ability to dance on the edge of almost lyrical writing without weighing down the story with excess description and words. She knows just where to turn a phrase with beautiful precision and where to paint a simple picture.
Characters—she did a fabulous job of giving each person a distinct personality. Misty’s insecurities just fit. Her strengths tugged against her uncertainties.
Jack… I loved knowing him better because of what he did than what he said or others said about him. Things were obvious without being spoken. Freeman did a fabulous job of that.
Another couple… well, things went a bit swift there, but somehow it fit. It shouldn’t have, but it did.
And that horrible thing about novellas—the way they feel so rushed half the time?
Yeah. It didn’t happen.
My only, small but definitely there, objection to this story is how neatly one situation is wrapped up—a bit over-the-top neatly. However, because of part of the storyline—a bit about God being in the business of miracles—really did help make it work. It’s just my only objection, and I suspect many would have been disappointed if Freeman didn’t do that.
Once upon a Christmas Star is a rich story with well-rounded characters in a natural timeline. Only one tiny bit felt rushed and it still worked. It was as if she took the rushed element and made it part of the story. I recommend it to anyone who loves a story about Christmas joys.
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If you missed the previous weeks’ posts from the other authors in the collection, you can find them here:
Next week… Dori Harrell and her debut novella, A Christmas Hallelujah!