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Monday, November 20, 2006

** A Christmas to Remember by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer. General fiction.

This is, I think, the 7th story set in the small fictional town of Cape Light. Sadly, I've read a previous one (#11), and familiarity didn't help.

The story goes between 3 different story threads: 1) elderly curmudgeon Lillian Warwick is injured in a fall (the flyleaf says she has pneumonia--she doesn't); 2) Lillian in her youth; and 3) nursing student Lucy Bates.

You'd think the three threads would intertwine--that Lucy would end up caring for Lillian at the hospital, and that things that happened in Lillian's youth would affect her present. They don't. At all. It's like three completely separate stories.

The only commonality between young Lillian and old Lillian is that I didn't like either one of them. Young Lillian was the type of young woman who's rude to men on principle. I despise that trait. And old Lillian was rude to everyone.

Lucy wasn't much better--she was a doormat. Her husband resents her spending time at her studies, especially when she has to work at the hospital, so he belittles her and does his best to undermine her confidence, refusing to help with the kids or the house. Lucy's reaction? To doubt herself and finally give up.

There were also a couple of annoying errors that stuck in my head. One was the nursing school. At one point, Lucy performs perfectly all day, but forgets to raise a bed rail. Her instructor tells her she gets an F for the day because of that. I don't buy that one mistake would merit a failing grade. I also don't buy that nursing students get letter grades for each day. Granted, my hospital experience is a couple of decades old, and it was a decade earlier than that that my mom went to nursing school, so it could very well be realistic--it just didn't feel like it.

The other one was really stupid. The hero of young Lillian's thread gets a Purple Heart. For valor. Um. No. Even non-military types know what Purple Hearts are, and they're not for valor. A quick click to Wikipedia would have fixed that.

Yeah, those were minor. The big problem is that the book was boring. Nothing really happened, there was no rhyme or reason to collecting those three threads in this book--it would have worked better if they'd been separated completely as 3 novellas instead of jumping between threads each chapter. The characters weren't likeable, and none of them changed--except for an unbelievable change of heart of Lucy's husband at the very end.

And there were the usual sappy lite-religious platitudes from Reverend Ben.


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