MIRACLE CREEK CHRISTMAS, by Krista Jensen, Shadow Mountain, Sept. 8, 2020, Paperback, $15.99 (young adult/ new adult/ adult fiction)
Two people who desperately hiding from the limelight find themselves instantly drawn together in Krista Jensen’s Miracle Creek Christmas.
When Riley Madigan moves to the sleepy mountain town of Miracle Creek, she hopes her new job as a high school art teacher will help her mend her recently broken heart. A little peace and quiet would be a gift this Christmas season. The last thing on her mind is love.
Former firefighter Mark Rivers has spent the last year recovering from burns sustained during a rescue operation. He’s been trying to piece his life back together but still struggles both emotionally and psychologically. When he meets Riley, he finally sees something that might bring some light back into his life.
When Mark asks Riley to work on a special nativity project, he finds himself falling for her quirky, unaffected ways. Riley doesn’t seem bothered by his scars, but is her affection for him real, or is this just another act of charity? One thing is for certain, in a small town that views Mark as a fragile hero, it’s hard to pursue a relationship without everyone in his business. And although Riley has sincere feelings for Mark, is she ready to risk her heart? —Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain
Miracle Creek Christmas is part of Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line. While generally aimed at adults, most of the books in this line have crossover appeal to a YA audience. Miracle Creek Christmas is on the bubble mostly because the protagonists are older to begin with.
Like all books in the Proper Romance world, you go into it with a fair idea of how things will work out. What you don’t know, is the journey. In the case of Miracle Creek Christmas, the journey is often quiet and introspective.
Mark and Riley both suffer from anxiety, and while author Krista Jensen does a good job of presenting rough topics, it could be a little triggering for readers who are dealing with anxiety in their own lives.
While both Mark and Riley are strong characters, I found Mark more sympathetic. Mark, though complicated, is fairly straight forward as far as his heart.
Riley is a little harder to warm up to. Another “love interest” makes an appearance in the book, and the fact that she either can’t “read” him or rather chooses not to read him was really irritating. On the other hand, people in her position often can’t see what’s in front of them, so it may be more realistic.
Miracle Creek Christmas is fast paced and inviting. Krista Jensen has a warm writing style that feels at once familiar. This is a nice book to escape into.