REVIEW: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!
Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she’s given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.
Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn’t appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?
Dear Ms. Morgan,
I thought this one would be a little more light hearted than it turned out to be. Thanks for not overloading the story with the previous happy couples though.
She used to love Christmas – every snowflake, Santa and carol. He hates Christmas – every snowflake, Santa and carol. She’s determined to change her attitude and regain her love of the season after a year of grief at the death of her beloved grandmother. He’s got to bang out a thriller murder novel but hasn’t written the first word much less the first chapter as he’s still haunted by the death of his wife. He’s managed to perfect the “yes, I’ve moved on from my grief” façade that people want to see but he’s not, not at all. Their “meet cute” is actually a “meet body slam to the floor” when good intentions go bad and both are caught unaware. The cops aren’t amused either, never mind Albert the doorman.
First impressions are good and not good. Yeah, he’s handsome but after the body tackle, Eva isn’t thrilled with his attitude and as he notes, the kitten has claws and isn’t afraid to verbally bodycheck him back. But she does spark something – an idea for a plot that gets his creative juices flowing for the first time in months. Though Lucas is fairly sure that Eva wouldn’t want to know that she’s the spark for his new murderer rather than the FBI agent she jokingly tells him she could be in his book. She doesn’t cut him much slack in the rudeness department but she’s also honest with him and they discover they both know loss and grief. They also avoid platitudes with each other and find they can talk about it a little. The hug they share as Eva cries out her pain shifts the relationship to physical awareness which neither is acting on – just yet. Lucas admits to himself he’s impressed with her cooking and after actually eating something instead of just subsisting on whiskey and take out, his writing output soars.
I was fascinated by the discussion Eva and Lucas have about what makes him write scary novels, how he does his research and why people would want to read about these subjects. Speaking as someone who doesn’t watch horror movies and who stopped reading the Kay Scarpetta series after the first book because the victims were too close to who I was at the time, I agree with Eva. I also couldn’t stop thinking of what Val McDermid said about the toll that researching these subjects eventually takes on authors. Yes, you can peek into the dark abyss but the dark abyss is looking back.
I did laugh at Lucas’s responses to Eva’s attempts to “help” him with all the charity requests and fan mail that accidentally got sent to his address. Mr. Gloom and Little Miss Sunshine might have to agree to disagree on this. As their relationship progresses, more darkness – and this novel is a bit darker than the blurb would suggest – emerges. These two might finally give into their sexual awareness of each other and get a night of amazing orgasms but Eva still discovers she doesn’t know nearly as much about Lucas and his first marriage as she thought she did. When she sees what kind of character in his work-in-progress he’s based on her, she is shocked. She thought she could trust him with her life details but finds out differently. Still once Lucas explains that he’s only taken some traits and woven a complex character with them, Eva agrees not to leave.
What happens next is a lot of the same. Eva feels she’s falling in love but Lucas refuses to believe in love and won’t take a chance on experiencing that kind of pain again. Wash and repeat. Eva’s in love and can’t believe Lucas won’t take a leap of faith; love is so easy never mind his first marriage. Wash and repeat. Then Suddenly! after struggling with the agony what happened in his life for three years, Lucas has an epiphany of love and the scene that had been broadly hinted at gets enacted after all Eva’s friends get involved. I loved the beginning but the end bogged down for me. B-