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Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Night for Miracles by Cheryl Pierson

A Night for Miracles by Cheryl Pierson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Western, Holiday
Length: Short (29 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

When widow Angela Bentley takes in injured ex-gunhawk Nick Dalton and three orphans on Christmas Eve, she is determined only to lend a hand where needed. But when the children drag in a small, scraggly Christmas tree, Angela finds herself wanting to create a memorable holiday for them. Can these visitors become the family she longs for? For those who believe in miracles, anything is possible--even true love, in the most unlikely circumstances.

Angela Bentley steps up to help a family in need, but her first concerns for her own safety – departing once she spots the children – return and then some when she realizes who she is dealing with. Nick Dalton’s reputation, perhaps more accurately his legendary status, is perfectly well known to her. And not one thing she’s heard from the gossip chain is good. "Gunfighter" might be the kindest thing this man could be called. He may not be all-bad, but there isn’t a whole lot of good there, either.

Fortunately, she’s very distracted caring for her sudden guests. Only gradually, she comes to understand their concerns. They family she’s rescued are touchingly concerned for one another, and we get a little hint that the oh-so-attractive and dangerous Nick is more than he appears when it becomes clear that the children are worried about him, too. Slowly, we get a sense that Nick might be every bit as vulnerable as Angela.

And, as Christmas approaches we are reminded that Christmas Eve is surely a night for miracles.

The western flavor, the dialogue and the fast pace are all consistent. The story is absolutely compelling. Descriptions induce extraordinary visuals and a feel-good warmth it's hard to impart. From The ‘deep December twilight’ to ‘snow-laden oak trees,’ to the all the wonderful warmth introduced by that one scrawny fir tree, the descriptions never fail to suit and heighten the moment. I mostly just wished this was a whole novel!

Very wintery setting and the hovering holiday aura make this a really nice read, and wonderful to find (or recapture) a hint of Christmas spirit.