Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, a trio of good-hearted angels with a penchant for getting into trouble, are given three Christmas prayer requests to answer, but in doing so they must teach each of their charges a valuable lesson first.
Shirley is sent to help nine-year-old Timmy Potter, who has asked for a new dad for Christmas. He and his mom, Jody, have been alone for most of Timmy's life. He doesn't remember his real dad, who went missing when he was just a baby and is presumed dead. Jody was so heartbroken over the loss of her husband that she hasn't been able to move on, but a man with whom she works has been showing an interest in her and is good with kids. For Timmy's sake, Jody tries to put the past to rest and find hope for the future with her new beau, but an unexpected revelation changes everything.
Goodness must help Monica Fischer, a self-absorbed minister's daughter, who has asked for a husband. Monica believes she has everything figured out and lives her life by a rigid set of rules, setting herself up in judgment of others, until she literally falls into the arms of a hard-living private detective. Then she begins to feel things she's never felt before. Chet Costello is an ex-cop, who lives with a lot of guilt over the death of his former partner. There's something about Monica that calls out to him, but he doesn't think he's good enough for someone like her. Chet and Monica tend to rub each other the wrong way, but a little Christmas magic from the angels just might smooth things over between them.
Mercy is given the task of helping Leah Lundberg, a maternity nurse, who wants nothing more than to have a child of her own. She and her husband, Andrew, have been married for ten years, but haven't been able to conceive even though the doctors could find nothing medically wrong. Leah has been unable to look past her obsession with wanting a baby to release her pain and find joy in living again, so Mercy must help her come to terms with all of this before she can find the blessing in store for her.
Three angels with three very different assignments must help each of their humans see truth before they can receive the desires of their hearts.
A Season of Angels is the first book in Debbie Macomber's Angels Everywhere, a Christmas-themed series about Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, three good-hearted but wayward angels, who can sometimes become sidetracked by human inventions, but who do their very best to try to answer the prayers of the people they are sent to help. There was just enough romance to categorize this book as such, but it's a little different, because it follows three different couples with one of the angels on each case. The angels must teach each of the three women they're sent to help an important lesson before their hearts will be open enough to accept the Christmas gifts God has in store for them. Due to some mild profanities and some moderate sexual tension, the book isn't quite squeaky clean enough to categorize it as inspirational romance. However, it does include a fairly overt faith element, not only in the form of the three angels, but also, most of the main characters seem to believe in God, pray, and/or attend church, some with regularity, so readers who are averse to mentions of God or angels, might want to steer clear. I happen to find such elements in more secular-type literature to be refreshing, so for me, this was a fun, albeit sometimes predictable, holiday read that I mostly enjoyed.
Shirley is sent to answer a letter that a little boy named Timmy wrote to God asking for a father in time for Christmas. His mother, Jody, is a widow, who has never really gotten over losing her husband, even though he's been gone for eight years. She just can't stop loving him, so her heart isn't really open to the possibility of loving again, even though an attorney at the law firm where she works expresses an interest in dating her. Jody must learn to let go of the past, before she can move into the future. Glen is a very nice man who's more than ready for a family, so he's very fatherly toward Timmy. He's also incredibly understanding of how difficult it is for Jody to date someone new and is sensitive toward her feelings for her dead husband, never pushing her to let go and only asking that she make room for him too. I liked both Jody and Glen, but felt like their relationship moved a little too quickly to be believable. They eventually figure this out in preparation for a plot twist, which I correctly predicted a little while before it was revealed. There could have been a little more development to their storyline, but overall it was nice with a heartwarming ending.
Goodness is sent to answer the prayer of a young woman named Monica, who desperately wants a husband. The only problem is that Monica is pretty self-absorbed. She's a preacher's daughter and the classic type of Christian who thinks she has everything figured out and who lives by a rigid set of rules and regulations. As such, she tends to think she's better than everyone else who isn't living "right." She must learn to lighten up and stop judging others, before she can accept love with the man God has chosen for her. That man happens to be Monica's exact opposite. Chet is a hard-living private detective who used to be a cop, but left the force when he was shot and his partner was killed. Chet lives with a lot of guilt over the past, and when he really starts falling for Monica, he doesn't believe he's good enough for her. I didn't exactly like Monica in the beginning, but I very much appreciated the growth she experienced throughout her part of the story. I think more Christians need to learn the lessons Monica did. As for Chet, I'm kind of on the fence. I liked his more vulnerable moments and the fact that he seemed to respect Monica for the most part. However, at the very beginning of their relationship, there's a scene where he tells her he's going to kiss her, she says no, but he does it anyway. Of course, she ends up liking it a whole lot more than she thought she would, but it still made me a little uncomfortable that he went against her clearly expressed feelings. I think that could have been written in a different way, so as to not imply non-consent. Also, although he does have some decent reasons for his behavior, Chet sometimes acts like a bit of jerk, so he's not really my favorite type of hero. Like with Jody and Glen's storyline, Monica and Chet's romance develops pretty quickly too, especially since they don't appear to have anything in common and constantly rub each other the wrong way. But I'm willing to give them a pass, since angels were involved, bringing a little magic to the romance.
Last but not least, Mercy is sent to answer the prayer of Leah, a labor and delivery nurse, who longs for a child, but who's barren. She and her husband, Andrew, have been unsuccessfully trying to have a child for ten years, but according to fertility specialists, there's no medical reason why they shouldn't be able to conceive. Having a child has become something of an obsession for Leah, who's unwittingly gotten to the point that she can't even make love to her husband without the purpose of attempting to get pregnant. She also harbors the pain deep in her heart as she watches the women she cares for give birth every day while she can't. Leah must find her joy again and learn to let go of her pain before she can be blessed with the child she so desperately wants. I liked Leah and Andrew. Despite the lack of a child causing some friction between them, they're a couple who's love for one another is obvious. It's equally apparent that they'd make amazing parents. Again, there came a point in their part of the story, when things became a little predictable, but it was no less heartwarming in the end, so I still enjoyed it.
Overall, A Season of Angels was a nice little wrap-up to my holiday reading. Other than a bit of predictability, there was nothing wrong with the stories per se. I guess I just wanted to be eager to get back to it when I had to put it down, but the book didn't quite reach that level for me. I'm not really used to romance (or any fiction story for that matter) where three different couples share the limelight. Perhaps if the book had focused in on just one couple or perhaps if the three stories had intersected in unexpected ways, I might have been more draw into it, but it was still a very pleasant read. Anyone who loves Hallmark channel sweetness with a few small twists and turns along the way, but where everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end, will probably really enjoy it.
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