Thursday, November 10, 2011

This Year’s #1 Feel Good Christmas Book! Next Year it Should be on TV!

What if The Gift of the Magi”  Could have had a gloriously happy ending?  

What if the roots of the story ran so deep that it read like a 19th century midwestern farm family diary? 

That would make it, The Sweetest Gift!”

Where O. Henry was after irony, O! Connealy delivers “The Sweetest Gift” – a feel good Christmas tale that will make you smile clear through the Holidays. 

Frankly, I’m Christmas-green with envy!  First, I would not have dared to challenge this classic theme and second, if I did, I wouldn’t have figured out how to do it and still produce such a happy ending! 

I think Mary Connealy is an author too creative for her genre.  She writes Americana and would be right at home working besides Mark Twain.  This novella does a hundred things extremely well. The motivation is amazing.

In just a few pages I found it totally believable that Graham and Addie would have agreed to their sight-unseen marriage of convenience. The motiation comes from all sides and every direction. All the rustic details are so vivid the reader can only conclude that the author is a Nebraska farm wife herself. (Which she is). Indeed, many of the incidents in the story are part of her family heritage. 

All this only explains the 19th Century realism, however; it doesn’t explain the creativity! That’s just something that happens. Can one explain Mark Twain, James Thurber, or Will Rogers? I can’t. But I can sure enjoy their work. 

"The Sweetest Gift" is a novella. It’s really a short novel with ten fully developed chapters and a very pleasing Epilogue. The story takes place in 1899, mostly on a Nebraska farm. The heroine is a somewhat spoiled, college educated, world traveler, who is an accomplished pianist with a Master’s degree and a job as a librarian.  She is also a shade away from spinsterhood!  The arranged husband is a Nebraskan farmer with an eight grade education – (back when an eight grade education meant something.) 

The plot is so well motivated and researched that the story seems to be inevitably true rather than being fanciful fiction. You 'll just have to read it.  I'd say this is the best Christmas book of the year for other writers to read! Learning has never been so entertaining.

“The Sweetest Gift” is part of a dual Novella eBook. The second story, “A Christmas Angel”, is by Robin Lee Hatcher. I have read it too is a 5-star Christmas feel good joy.  The cost for both is only .99!  That's Amazing!
This Year’s #1 Feel Good Christmas Book!  Next Year it Should be on TV!
I can rope, too!


  1. I just bought it and am reading now!!!!

  2. Hi Tina:

    This story reminds me of the Will Rogers film “Roping Fool” – this is not just a normal story: it’s a story to display the author’s virtuosity. Just wonderful.


  3. Wow, Vince. Thank you so much. Would you consider putting this up on Amazon? I'd love it to be seen ever farther and wider. God bless you.

    Will Roger's huh? You oughta see me twirl a rope, too.

    (that is NOT true, I would hang myself!)

  4. Hi Mary:

    I was waiting until I read both stories. I've now posted on Amazon and on eHarlequin.

    BTW: Did Addie happen to meet William Sidney Porter when she was in NYC? : )


  5. What a great review, Vince! I have the book and can't wait to read it. And I'm especially interested in how this is based on the true story of Mary's grandparents!

  6. Hi Missy:

    Both of the stories in this book are 5-star productions. While Robin’s novella reads like a highly polished romance story, Mary’s reads like a diary written at the time. The themes are similar but the voices are so different that reading this book is an education. I really think Mary should write a modern day Tom Sawyer. Clever makes me jealous and Mary is very clever.