Mrs. Miracle

By: Debbie Macomber

Series: Miracle

Book Number: 1

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Spoiler Disclaimer


Seth Webster has never quite recovered after losing his beloved wife in a car accident four years ago. For a time after her death, his twin sons lived with his in-laws, but they're back at home with their father now. Managing the rambunctious boys while trying to work, take care of their home, and get ready for the holidays proves more than Seth can handle, but every housekeeper the agency has sent over has ended up quitting in disgust. Seth is at loose ends and badly in need of a miracle when exactly that arrives on his doorstep in the form of a kindly older woman named Mrs. Merkel. The kids adore her and dub her Mrs. Miracle. She puts their lives in order in a jiffy, giving Seth the time and confidence he needs to approach Reba, a local travel agent who has caught his eye.

Reba Maxwell had her heart broken when she caught her ex-fiance cheating on her with her own sister. She's never been able to forgive her sibling for the betrayal and it's causing a family squabble as they try to figure out a schedule for visiting the rest of their family at Christmas without seeing each other. Having spotted Seth in the shopping center where she works, Reba has had her eye on the grieving widower for a while, so when he finally asks her out, she's thrilled. They find that they have a lot in common and seem to understand each other. When Reba takes over direction of the children's Christmas pageant at church, she also becomes enamored of Seth's boys. However, as the holidays draw closer and they begin to see that the other is having trouble letting go of their respective pasts, tensions boil over. But with a little help from Mrs. Miracle, they just might find what they need to finally heal so they can have a future together.


Mrs. Miracle is the first book in Debbie Macomber's Miracle series. Four years ago, Seth lost his wife in a car accident and was left to raise rambunctious twin boys alone. Since his wife's passing, the children have been living with his in-laws, but they recently moved back in with him. Judd and Jason are always getting into one scrape or another, leaving Seth about ready to pull out his hair trying to balance his work and home lives. To make matters worse, all the housekeepers he's hired haven't lasted more than a couple of weeks and the holidays are fast approaching. Then Emily Merkle, a kindly older woman shows up at the door, out of the blue, claiming she's from the domestic employment agency. She fits right into their little home and the boys love her, dubbing her Mrs. Miracle. Then Seth meets Reba, a travel agent who unexpectedly takes over direction of the church Christmas pageant his boys are starring in. Reba experienced her fair share of pain, too, when she caught her ex-fiance and her sister cheating on her. She hasn't spoken to her sister since. Seth and Reba find a kindred spirit in each other, but as Christmas draws closer and closer, they each begin to see that the other is having trouble moving on from their respective pasts. However, with a little heavenly help from Mrs. Miracle, they just might find a way to heal from their hurts and find the perfect partner in one another.

Since losing his wife, Seth has felt adrift. He's kind of going through the motions of life, but especially now that he's raising his boys on his own, he's having trouble keeping his head above water. He'd previously enjoyed playing the piano, but gave it up because it brought more pain than joy. Reba has understandably harbored a major grudge against her sister ever since finding the other woman in bed with her fiance, which ended the engagement. She refuses to be in the same house with her sister during the holidays, which has led to a lot of strife in her family. Then Seth and Reba meet and start dating. When they're able to open up to one another about their respective pasts, they find understanding and comfort in the other. But eventually they start to see the flaws in each other's logic and that they're having trouble letting go of their grief over losing someone they loved, which leads to an eleventh hour breakup and a need for angelic intervention. If I'm being honest, I couldn't help but feel that Seth and Reba got a little lost in what was ostensibly (according to the cover blurb), their own story. Each of them have backstories that were ripe for deeper exploration but that never really comes about. Instead, things stayed pretty much at surface level, with a lot of what passed for romance being told rather than shown. At first, Seth and Reba appeared perfect for the other because they seemed to understand each other... until they didn't. A part of me realized that they each needed to make peace with the past in order to move into the future, but it all came about in such a magical last minute sort of way that left me feeling like they didn't exactly get a solid HEA. So while I didn't dislike either of them, I also didn't feel like I got the deep POV and heart-stopping romance that I crave.

Another reason that Seth and Reba got a bit lost is a result of other character perspectives being included as well. Seth's in-laws, Jerry and Sharon, are having a marital crisis after forty years together, which only added to the overall sense of strife in the story. Jerry really rubbed me the wrong way, because he's a classic male chauvinist (which I've noticed this author sometimes writes even in romantic hero type roles), who seems to think that his wife's place is to cook, clean, and generally take care of everything for him while he gets to golf, play cards, and do other retirement related activities with his buddies. Jerry is also rather autocratic, making arbitrary decisions for both himself and Sharon and expecting her to just go along with it. But what really annoyed me is his initial refusal to spend the holidays with his grandkids for weak reasons. What kind of grandfather is he? My own husband absolutely dotes on our two grandchildren and will never pass up a single minute he can spend with them, so this didn't make any sense to me. I couldn't help feeling like Sharon was right to finally be fed up after putting up with him for so long. But then she behaved in what I felt was a rather immature way, jumping to the conclusion that her husband and best friend were having an affair after merely seeing them together at a restaurant, and then she runs away without saying a word to them. After cooling off, she realizes it was silly of her to think such a thing, but the problem I had was that she refused to communicate (both of them did really). Their reconciliation was equally lacking in depth as Seth and Reba's, maybe more so. It was cute, but I wasn't left with any true sense that things would really change between them. Then there was a third supporting character perspective for Harriet, a lady at Seth and Reba's church who seemed to think it was her God-given mission to judge and call out others for their "sin," all under the guise of being a "good Christian." Sure she gets taken down a peg by the end, but I didn't really feel like her POV was necessary or added anything to the story except a sense of frustration for me. IMHO, all three of these characters needed to act their age (60+ years), instead of like immature teenagers.

I went into reading Mrs. Miracle thinking it would be a charming Mary Poppins type story about a nanny/housekeeper who helps a young widower get past his grief and find love again, while turning his spirited children around. Unfortunately this part of the story only took up maybe a third of the book, which was far too little to my way of thinking. If the other character POVs had been left out, Seth and Reba's characterizations and relationship could have been built out much more fully. Not to mention, the title character herself was little more than a background player. Mrs. Miracle just kind of hovers on the periphery instead of being a primary cast member. In Debbie Macomber's other Angel books, the angels are front and center and the reader gets to see just how they're helping people, however misguided their attempts might have been. But here Mrs. Miracle is occasionally seen, but rarely heard. We only get her perspective a couple of time for maybe a page or two, which was disappointing. I didn't necessarily want Mrs. Miracle to be the comic relief like the author's other angels are, but I think Ms. Macomber could have maintained Mrs. Miracle's more serious demeanor while still giving her more to do. As far as Jerry, Sharon, and Harriet, I could have done without their POVs entirely. I didn't really feel like they added anything meaningful to the story. If anything, they only added more arguing and conflict, which just made me tense, when I was expecting a heartwarming holiday read. I guess it was meant to show how the magic and love surrounding Christmas can change people, but I still think the one storyline would have sufficed and would have been much better if the author had dug into it much deeper. The ending was nice, with the requisite HEAs all around. Overall, though, Mrs. Miracle ended up being somewhat disappointing for me and I can really only characterize it as an okay read. I'm sure I'll probably read the next one of the series, though, because I know this author can do better.


Debbie Macomber


Babies & Children
Christmas Stories
G/PG-Rated Romance
Spiritual Stories