Review: Small Miracles

Small Miracles
Small Miracles by Ellen Holiday
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this short novella well enough, though it strained even willing disbelief, and more so I liked the writing and emotion conveyed. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book, I’ll try this author again. It’s not a bad introduction but I’m hoping she can do better with more space, giving a hopefully less ridiculous solution. I can see where the story was trying to go but never quite developed the relationship and characters to the point to sell it. Regardless I enjoyed reading this and look forward to picking something from this author again.

The set up is familiar – Cal is 22, homeless, and steps into a bar to get out of the rain for just a few minutes. Matt is a super rich businessman that takes one look at Cal and decides they’re soul mates. Matt takes Cal home to his wealthy condo and tries to convince the young man that Matt will be his savior because they’re meant to be together. Cal has trust and abandonment issues so he can’t believe his luck and keeps running away.

While the plot isn’t all that unique or original, it’s one I like and was happy to read. The basics are all there with Cal as a young, naïve, and of questionable intelligence with trust issues that rule his life. He wants badly to believe that he has his miracle in this wealthy, good-looking man that will save him from his life on the streets and give him tons of money. Of course, it’s not that easy. The action is swift but smooth as the two meet and go home within the first scene. Cal’s back and forth takes up the remainder of the book but I never felt too rushed or overloaded. The story takes considerable care to show Cal’s depth and his emotional issues.

This is perhaps the best part of the book. Cal is a sympathetic character, even with his repeated inconsistencies and back and forth stubbornness. He’s an easy guy to root for and want to see good things happen to him. There are of course some problems with the background as it makes no real sense that Cal has been homeless for a year while there are options he could have taken. Additionally his trust issues, while understandable, and his offered resolution to them don’t fit his demands. He sounds like a hypocrite at the end and rather demanding given the situation. However these are kind of minor and didn’t take away much from the story.

Instead the smooth writing and intense emotion really help glide over any problems. This is good because Matt is a total mystery character and somewhat worthless. He exists as nothing more than a rich man looking to save Cal. Cal’s not even sure he’s in love with Matt while Matt’s soul mate declarations are weak at best. It’s an instant one-sided love that you simply have to suspend disbelief to get beyond. Once I did that, the writing swept me away with the story. I enjoyed the imagery created, could feel the change in temperature and intense emotions Cal experienced. It’s evocative and consuming. I easily went where the story wanted me to go, even as I noted it basically made no rational sense at all, in any way.

In the end this is an enjoyable escapist book, though nowhere near excellent. At only 70 pages it’s an easy time investment and I was glad I read it. I’m not sure I’d recommend it necessarily unless the hurt/comfort and instant love themes is really your thing and you can suspend disbelief. For myself, I’m curious what else this author can do and with that reason, it’s a win for me.

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