Deadly Deceptions

Deadly Gamble

Don’t Look Now

High Country Bride

In Your Dreams

The Man from Stone Creek

McKettrick’s Luck

McKettrick’s Pride

The McKettrick Way

One Wish

Springwater

Springwater Wedding

Two Brothers

The Vow

A Wanted Man

 

 
A McKettrick Christmas
by Linda Lael Miller
(HQN, $16.95, PG) ISBN 0373-77302-1
****
November and December abound with happy holiday stories by popular authors that are meant to warm the heart and bring smiles to the faces of readers who are dealing with things in the world that don’t necessarily bring smiles.  Lindal Lael Miller writes just the right kind of Christmas story with A McKettrick Christmas, one that is laced with warm characters and definitely has the air of magic and the holiday spirit mixed into the story.

Lizzie McKettrick is the daughter of Holt and Lorelei and has been gone from their home in Indian Rock, Arizona for a little more than a year.  She has now finished her education in San Francisco and is heading home with plans to become engaged to Whitley Carson, a man who is traveling with her.  Whitley is rich and comes from a prominent family in San Francisco society.  He is impressed with her family’s history and has given her the impression he is about to pop the question.  Lizzie hopes to teach school in Indian Rock and even wants to work after she marries - an idea that is still considered radical in 1896.

They are traveling by train and are enveloped in snow when there is an avalanche in the mountains.  Also on the train is a young mother and three children, heading to Indian Rock where her husband has just been hired as foreman on the McKettrick’s ranch, the Triple M.  An older couple, the Thaddingtons. and their talking parrot add some humor to the tale.  A young soldier is returning from the army to rejoin his family, who just recently purchased the general store in Indian Rock. Also on board is a peddler with his wares named Christian, who the children mistakenly call Mr. Christmas, and a doctor named Morgan Shane.

Morgan has seen Lizzie around Indian Rock and is surprised at the attraction he feels for her.  Lizzie realizes how handsome the young doctor is, and is surprised by her reaction to him since she is almost an engaged woman.  They are impressed with each other as the story unfolds and the perils of their world center around these people and the condition they are in following the avalanche.  Heroes come to the forefront and Whitley is definitely not the hero type – he whines and complains and starts drinking from a hidden flask.  Meanwhile, Lizzie helps everyone as much as she can, Morgan takes charge and tends to the wounds of the others, and even Mr. Christmas tries to make a trek to reach the nearest town to get help.

This tale is clearly written to bring the magic of Christmas to the story and I won’t ruin the fun.  There is no new ground broken as far as romance goes, and in fact there are a lot of little coincidences that may not have stood up so well in another type of story.  But it is Christmas and things are meant to happen in a certain way.  Who cares if they are able to find wood in the middle of an avalanche?  Who cares if they are able to unearth a Christmas tree supposedly buried deep?  And who cares that the two men are painted as such complete opposites that the one is almost a caricature of the faint of heart?  These are questions that are asked after the tale is done.  In the midst of the story, they are just parts of a charming romance.

I recommend that if you want a feel-good story written in a style that is easy to read and filled with the magic of the season, then picking up A McKettrick Christmas will leave you satisfied. Fans of the McKettrick series will be more than happy with this tale. 

--Shirley Lyons 


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