Mark and I have become addicted to the Christmas movies shown on the Hallmark Channel. What surprises me is that Mark was the one who got hooked first, last year. Whereas I was supposed to be the sentimental, early Christmas decorator and tree trimmer it was Mark who first discovered these movies and found it hard to pull away from them, almost all of which were filmed in Canada. I love to look at the gorgeous monster homes that everyone seems to live in, all decorated for Christmas. One must suspend disbelief in order to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie without scoffing, as the sets are far too perfect. No one’s breath is ever visible while talking outdoors. The snow that is along trails and piled up next to sidewalks is arranged in perfect un-melting arcs. No one leaves wet footprints on pavement or asphalt. No one takes shortcuts through the snow since everyone keeps to the paths. Those are just some observations that I noticed immediately, and which are built-in to the formulaic set design.
A few weeks ago the network aired Debbie Macomber’s A Mrs. Miracle Christmas, which although we never watched, it nonetheless intrigued me because of the way the movie was entitled. I looked into the name at the start of the title and discovered an author who had written dozens of books, many of which had a Christmas theme. And fortunately, my library had many of them on its shelves, including the novel upon which the movie was based.
A Mrs. Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber was my first Christmas read this year. (I can see by my book review history that I didn’t read any Christmas books in 2020.) I read it without having seen the movie yet, however I have programmed it into my PVR as I am sure Hallmark will rerun it before Christmas (and even after). Therefore I have nothing to compare it to, which I am glad for, as I don’t want a film adaptation to taint my literary impression. Macomber’s books are often small hardcovers, with large spaces between the lines. I remarked to Mark that I could easily read this–at 236 pages–on a flight to Halifax. Yet with Christmas preparations and baking I don’t have the time to sit and read an entire book in one sitting. Limited text on small pages means that events happen swiftly, as there is no time to create a buildup. Thus deus ex machina rules in little novels like this, and in this case, literally, as Mrs. Miracle is an angel sent to help care for a young couple’s grandmother. Her heavenly connections give her access to background knowledge about Helen, the grandmother, and the granddaughter Laurel and her husband Zach. The young couple have been suffering through the pain and disappointment of infertility. Laurel has resigned herself to accept that she will never be able to have a baby, while Zach likes to leave the door of possibility open a tiny crack. Mrs. Miracle works wonders–miracles, naturally–to help them have a baby, through adoption, by Christmas Eve night. (I do not fear that I am spoiling the novel as there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that a Christmas novel about a childless couple would turn into a happy ending by Christmas day. Everyone should see this coming.)
This was a quick read, with realistic dialogue yet too much focus on tea as a source of calm. Helen and Mrs. Miracle, both women of a certain age, must either have bladders of steel or a steady supply of incontinence pads, knowing how much tea they drank in this book.
I liked the novel enough to seek other works from the same author yet I get the idea from the Hallmark Channel’s history of moviemaking that I would probably enjoy the movie version better, especially since it stars Caroline Rhea as Mrs. Miracle.