Sonja Kaplan has been unfairly branded as both the crazy Bird Lady and the town hussy by cruel gossips who don't know or understand the work she does training carrier pigeons for the United States army. In reality, she's just a lonely, young woman who longs for a family to call her own. She's been dreaming of rancher Chet Lattimer and his son, Beau, becoming that family for her, but she doesn't think it will happen until Beau brings an injured fox to her two days before Christmas, which just might open the door to something more developing between them.
Chet became an instant father to six-year-old Beau when he discovered that a brief past dalliance had led to this sweet little boy who now has no other family but him. Chet has tried his best to be a good dad, but he has no idea how to create a special Christmas for a child. Luckily Sonja does, and if he can get over the preconceived notions the town gossips have put in his head, he just might find the perfect woman to complete their family. When a fall into the river and an unexpected snow make it necessary for them to take refuge in Sonja's cabin for the night, the magic of Christmas works to make all their wishes come true and create a holiday none of them will ever forget.
One Magic Eve is a short stand-alone novella about two lonely people who are brought together on Christmas Eve by a little boy who has a special place in both their hearts. Sonja has been unfairly dubbed The Bird Lady by town gossips who don't know about or understand her work with carrier pigeons for the U. S. army. They also think she's the town hussy because she receives frequent visits from soldiers. She's been attracted to local rancher Chet from afar for a while and when Chet's young son brings an injured fox to her for treatment two days before Christmas, it gives her the opportunity she's been longing for to get to know him better. Chet only recently found out he was the father of six-year-old Beau and doesn't know the first thing about giving him a nice Christmas, but if he can get past his preconceived notions about Sonja, he just might discover that she can help. Some unexpected snow and a fall into the river end in these three spending the Christmas holiday together, and with a touch of holiday magic, all their wishes might come true.
Sonja was a mail-order bride for a man twenty years her senior who was a former soldier training carrier pigeons for the army. Before they could be married, he was killed by a marauding Indian, but he taught her the trade that she's carried on ever since. However, the nature of her work is secretive, so the townspeople only know that she keeps a lot of birds and has frequent visits from soldiers, leading them to gossip about her and think she's a crazy, loose woman. In reality, she's just a sweet, lonely person, who longs for a husband and children. She's been crushing on Chet from afar, and hoping that one day he'll see her as more than what the gossip mongers say about her. When Chet's son, Beau, brings the injured fox to her, it starts to open the door for that to happen, but it's not until the three go on an excursion to return the fox to the wild that ends with Beau falling into the river and snow driving them to take shelter at her home over the Christmas holiday that the magic of blooming love really begins. Sonja is a great heroine, who doesn't care much what the town gossips say about her. She's proud of her work and just wants someone to share her life with, and Chet and Beau are just what she wished for.
Chet only recently found out he was a father when a man brought Beau to his door, saying that the child was the product of a brief affair he'd had years ago. He's done his best to adjust to being an instant father, but he's never really celebrated Christmas and doesn't know how to make it special for a little boy. He's been attracted to Sonja, but fears what the town gossips say about her might be true. When he finds Beau at her house, he isn't very nice to her at first, but then he begins to realize that she'd only shown kindness to Beau and didn't deserve his moodiness. He and Beau return on Christmas Eve to help release the fox, and a dip in the freezing river and the unexpected snowfall necessitate them spending the night at Sonja's house. It turns into a magical evening, during which Chet realizes that Sonja is the prefect person to complete his little family. Chet was a good guy to take on the role of instant fatherhood and has done a respectable job. He may not know how to make Christmas special for Beau, but he knows where to turn for help. He may have been a little hard on Sonja at first, but he came around pretty quickly, and was properly apologetic when he found out what she'd really been doing.
One Magic Eve was a sweet story about found family and the love and joy of the holiday season. I liked both Sonja and Chet and thought they made a good couple. Beau is really cute and behaved like a six-year-old does. I enjoyed the touch of Christmas magic in the rosette cookies Sonja makes and her traditional Swedish decorations. She's the prefect mother figure for little Beau, making Christmas special with very little. My one small complaint would be that I felt the emotional connection between Sonja and Chet could have been a bit stronger. They come to the realization that they're in love over just a couple of days which is a little fast, but I think the real issue is that I picked up on a fair bit of telling rather than showing. However, the heartwarming nature of the story kept me engaged and helped to mitigate that deficiency to some extent. So overall, I enjoyed it. One Magic Eve was originally published in the multi-author anthology A Western Winter Wonderland and was later reprinted as a stand-alone novella.
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