Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Author: Debbie Macomber

Genre: Fiction/Christmas

About: Mrs. Merkle (aka Mrs. Miracle) brings people together and helps them discover the blessings of Christmas.

Descriptive Words: Heartwarming Christmas novel.

Thoughts: Debbie Macomber introduced readers to Mrs. Miracle in her 2009 novel of the same name.  Mrs. Miracle is a kind woman who has a knack for appearing when someone really needs her.  In Call Me Mrs. Miracle she’s a clerk in the toy department of Finley’s Department Store in New York City.  The owner of the store, J.R. Finley and his son Jake, the toy dept. manager, haven’t celebrated Christmas since a tragic event occurred twenty-one years earlier.   Eight-year-old Gabe Larson lives with his Aunt Holly while his Dad serves with the National Guard in Afghanistan. Gabe’s mother died when he was a baby so Holly gladly took in her brother’s son. Holly works for a fashion designer  (a real Scrooge) who may not give out a bonus this year.  They all could use some Christmas spirit. Mrs. Miracle really has her work cut out for her but she’s up to the challenge.

Debbie Macomber does what she does best – writes stories about regular people dealing with real-life situations.  However, Mrs. Miracle is a magical character.  Some might call her an angel but she never explains herself.  I find that to be part of her charm.  I enjoyed watching her work her special brand of magic on the characters in this novel.  It’s a sweet story with a warm message.

Mrs. Miracle  was a movie on The Hallmark Channel last year.  Call Me Mrs. Miracle (the movie) will air this Christmas season (original air date is Nov. 27).  Doris Roberts plays the title role.

Source: Mira Books via NetGalley

Why I Chose: I enjoy Debbie Macomber’s novels.

Recommend? Yes, to fans of Debbie Macomber, Christmas novels.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Pub. date: Sept. 28, 2010

Sleeping With Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner

Author: Jenny Gardiner

Genre: Fiction

About: (From the book blurb): Not-so-happily married to Jack-once the man of her dreams but now a modern-day version of the bossy, dull Ward Cleaver of ’50s sitcom fame-Claire is at the end of her rope. Gone are the glorious days of flings in elevators and broom closets. Jack? All he needs is a cardigan and a billowing pipe to become the domineering father figure Claire never wanted. And looking at her body in the mirror, Claire would cast herself as Lumpy. They’d once had a world of color, of wanton frivolity. Now, life’s black and white: a sitcom in reruns. A not-very-funny sitcom. Cue an old boyfriend-the “one that got away”-throw in a predatory hottie who’s set her sights on our leading man, and watch Claire’s world spiral out of control.

Descriptive Words:  Funny, bawdy, honest, poignant.

Thoughts: For the most part it’s laugh out-loud-funny but I also had a lump in my throat during a lot of it. Jenny Gardiner’s novel cuts right to the core of a marriage that has lost its luster. The novel is written from the wife’s perspective. Claire is feeling unappreciated and the same could be said for her husband.   There’s a lot of truth about marriages “of a certain number of years” in Sleeping with Ward Cleaver.

Source: I bought it.

Why I Chose: A few bloggers I trust gave it good reviews.

Recommend?  This is a fast read that I recommend to fans of funny, honest, and entertaining novels about marriage. It’s one I’ll pass on to my sisters.

Rating: 4 /5 stars

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

Back of the Book: What happens when the boy she loved to hate …

becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O’Connor is the epitome of the new woman — smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband — good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?


My review: A Hope Undaunted is the first book in the The Winds of Change series by Julie Lessman.  Eighteen-year-old Katie O’Connor is enjoying a carefree life in 1929 Boston when she unexpectedly meets an old acquaintance – Cluny McGee, who now goes by the name Luke McGee.  They were sworn enemies as children and it looks like they could be the same as adults. They have to put that aside when, after defying her curfew, Katie’s father signs her up to be a summer volunteer in Luke’s office at the Boston Children’s Aid Society.

Katie’s co-workers also become her friends – a good thing since she’s grounded when she’s not at work.  They are also Luke’s closest friends.  Katie and Luke begin to view each other in a new light which soon leads to mutual respect. Then the unexpected happens to one of Luke’s friends.  He steps up to help and by doing so changes Katie’s world and his.

I liked how Lessman used humor and drama throughout the novel.  The characters came alive for me.  The dialogue reminded me of the black & white movies from the 1930s:  snappy, heart-felt, and believable.  A theme that runs through the course of the story is: Trust the power of prayer.  It is key to the story. There are some minor story lines involving Luke’s friends and Katie’s large family that I suspect will be revisited in other books of the series.

I enjoyed reading A Hope Undaunted.  Family sagas are among my favorites so I look forward to getting to know the rest of the O’Connor family in the subsequent books. I recommend this novel to fans of Inspirational Historical Fiction.

Review copy from Revell Books via Winsome Media Communications

In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday – Sept. 19/20



at The Story Siren

at Bermudaonion’s Weblog


My Buys:

The Bells: A Novel by Richard Harvell

I bought The Bells after hearing the 8/31/10 Books On The Nightstand podcast

You can also listen to Diane Rehm’s interview with Richard Harvell here


Giveaway win:

This lovely tote filled with books and bookmarks

from Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews


For review:

The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts (from the author)

13 rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro

(and a tin of Bonbons Saveur de Cerises from Hachette Books and Reagan Arthur)

City in Shadow – Giveaway

Anna from FSB Associates has generously offered two copies of Evan Marshall’s forthcoming mystery City in Shadow.

City in Shadow

A Hidden Manhattan Mystery – A frightened woman leaves a note reading HELP ME outside Sanitation supervisor Anna Winthrop’s apartment . . . A career-making story leads a journalist to a human-trafficking ring . . . A woman acts as bait in an effort to track down her missing sister . . . and Anna’s visiting cousin Patti prowls New York’s dark streets, but won’t say why. All roads lead to the Kirkmore, a sinister apartment tower harboring a secret more horrifying than anyone could ever have imagined.


Click here and fill out the form.

Open to US residents

Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 28 at 9pm (eastern)