Miracle Under the Mistletoe
by Tracy Madison
(Harl. Special Ed. #2154, $5.25, G) ISBN 978-0373-65636-3
***
Tracy Madison has written a very sentimental tale of two parents who lost their five year old son in a car accident on a snowy day just before Christmas. Grady Foster, the oldest of the Foster sons, has loved his wife Olivia since first seeing her. But when he wrecked the car that killed his son, he struggled with forgiving himself. Olivia, or Olly, didnít blame Grady. She blamed herself; after all if she had taken Cody to see Santa earlier that week or if she didnít feel the need for some alone time that afternoon, she never would have suggested a father-son outing. Grief is a private thing and despite their love, they grieved in different ways.

Grady wanted to share and deal with the grief; he even started going to a support group for parents who had lost their children. He turned to his parents and brothers to share stories and find a way to get past the loss. Olivia went the other way. She withdrew and closed her heart. She refused to go talk to anyone and even stopped attending family activities. The only person she stayed close to was her friend Samantha. At one point, she asked Grady to leave their home and now, almost a year later; she finally got up the nerve to ask for a divorce. But Grady hadnít given up yet. He tricked her into agreeing to a six week waiting period with four dates. And he had a plan for those four dates. He knew he would either get his wife back or lose her for good.

I really liked Grady and after a little bit of time, I liked Olivia too. Madison has written their characters so that each is flawed and yet, one can see why they loved each other. They say the loss of a child is the worst sort of loss, and she has captured the many facets in this tale. It is sad, filled with emotional upheaval. But it is also filled with hope and as the two figure out how to go on, it is a nice romantic story. There are times when melodrama came to mind and there were times when their sentimental dialogue was a bit much. It is those things that kept me from fully recommending this tale.

The secondary characters add to the tale. Seth is still an unknown brother, as he is in the military and serving overseas. Jace is the middle brother and his story looks to be intriguing. He has a reputation as a playboy and has fallen for a girl who wonít give him the time of day. I look forward to his story.

Miracle Under the Mistletoe is about loss and grief and finding life with the support of family. It is about taking the chance on love even when the knowledge of tragedy makes one want to just give up. It is a nice tale for the holidays and one I think most readers will enjoy.

--Shirley Lyons


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