Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"A Christmas Miracle"

by Mary L. Briggs from the December 20, 2010 issue

Tagline: It had to be more than coincidence that brought the two strangers together again on Christmas Eve...

In a Nutshell: Rebecca gets a Christmas card in the mail that belongs to someone else, but she's late for work so can't deal with it. When her car won't start, a handsome stranger helps her out, but she fails to get his name. Later, she hand delivers the card in an attempt to pay it forward, it turns out the card recipient is also her handsome stranger.

Observations: I had mixed feelings about this story, and this is only my opinion. I should post a disclaimer that says that--that no matter what my thoughts are on a Woman's World story, clearly the editors liked the story enough to publish it, so anything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt.

Anyway, my first reaction was to the fact that her car doesn't start. This is becoming a bit of a cliche in Woman's World stories, but I was willing to let it go. Car trouble is a common enough occurence.

My next reaction was amusement at the stranger's remarks regarding her recalcitrant car:

"I'm not giving up yet. Let's see if we can coax a little holiday spirit out of it."

I liked the hero. He was witty and kind.

After that, the author brought back the mis-delivered Christmas card that I'd actually forgotten about. That was a nice surprise. I like not being able to predict what's going to happen too easily. But when the big coincidence was revealed--that the card just happened to be intended for the same man that helped her with her car--I'm afraid I shook my head in disbelief. Perhaps, as the tagline suggests, there was supposed to be more than coincidence at work, but I had a hard time swallowing it. For the record, I think coincidence is a good tool for Woman's World romance writers, but I'd be careful when trying to stretch the readers' willingness to believe too far.


Betsi Palmer said...

Good point Kate! I'd love to know what the READERS think of these stories, and if we're stretching their credulity too much with all the time-saving coincidences.

I've tried to coax some response to the stories out of WW's Facebook followers, without success.

Kate Willoughby said...

Yes, it would be nice to know what readers thought. In the past, I've emailed Woman's World to compliment them on a particularly well-written story, but I doubt they ever forwarded the info to the writer.

I think it all depends on the individual coincidence...some of them I can buy, others, not so much. :)

joyce said...

I didn't read this particular story, so I can't make a relevant comment. But I agree that some of the "coincidences" in WW stories seem to be quite a stretch. Some sound just too "over the top" to actually take place, I think. I'm not referring to this story, for I haven't read it. I'm just making an observation based on others I've read.

Kate Willoughby said...

And yet, they still get published. :) So, I guess the lesson to be learned is, go for it. They might publish it even if it's outlandish.