I had never read any of these authors before, so the short story format was a good way to try them out. I enjoyed the Fern Michaels story about the psychologist from a women's shelter finding sanctuary from a storm with a depressed Olympic skier. Someone needs to explain to the editors that psychologist, social worker, and counselor are not entirely equivalent words. It may feel the same if the you are the client on the couch, but there are different educational tracks, licensing requirements, and underlying belief systems!
The Bostwick story was my least favorite - no escapist romance here, just an overworked pastor with a pregnant feeling ignored wife and briefly challenging teen daughter. It was an accurate short story about the good and bad of church politics - not what I'm looking for in my escapist reading!
McMahan's story at least had a romance, but the heroine was conflicted because she was in the middle of divorce proceedings. Classy, passionate artist new love won out over blue collar, unsophisticated husband. Nice description of the Biltmore at Christmas, but I won't be seeking out additional work by this writer.
I LOVED the Noonan story about a hard working cop who is starting to feel bitter about his profession when a Christmas miracle occurs. I was literally moved to tears!
4 Short Stories (about 100 pages each) about Christmas. Fern Michaels' contribution is "Snow Angels." It's about a recluse Olympic skier who meets up with the owner of an abuse center for women and children. He learns to drop the Scrooge-like attitude and once again believe in Christmas.
"The Presents of Angels" is by Marie Bostwick. The minister and his wife are going thru a stressful period for about 6 weeks before Christmas. His wife will soon deliver their first child, she's an ex-dancer and trying to pull the Christmas pagent together, and he is having problems with a younger board member. Good small town ambiance.
Janna McMahan wrote "Decorations." The main female character goes thru alot of changes in her life--losing her husband, caring for an ailing mother, and losing her job. She finds that when one door closes, God can open up another one. She gained much more than she lost.
The best story of all was "Miracle on Main Street" by Rosalind Noonan. It's about a broke NY cop and his family at Christmas. He's down on his luck, barely providing for his family and turns his back on God when he sees a young man OD on drugs he could have helped save. While his wife is praying for a miracle, her husband actually participates in one that makes a believer out of him again. It's a heart-warming story that will bring a few tears to your eyes...with a surprise ending.
I thought the stories were above-average and well worth the read.