Monday, September 21, 2009

One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Imperfect Christmas

(Abingdon Press - September 2009)


Myra Johnson


Making up stories has been second nature to me for as long as I can remember. A select group of trusted friends back at dear old Mission High waited eagerly for the next installment of my "Great American Spy Novel" (think Man from Uncle) and my "All-American Teen Novel" (remember Gidget and Tammy?). I even had a private notebook of angst-ridden poetry a la Rod McKuen.

The dream of writing persisted into adulthood, although it often remained on the back burner while I attended to home and family and several "real" (read paying) jobs along the way. Then in 1983, while recovering from sinus surgery, I came upon one of those magazine ads for the Institute of Children’s Literature. I knew it was time to get serious, and the next thing I knew, I'd enrolled in the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course.

Within a year or so I sold my first story, which appeared in the Christian publication Alive! for Young Teens. For many years I enjoyed success writing stories and articles for middle-graders and young adults. I even taught for ICL for 9 years.

Then my girls grew up, and there went my live-in inspiration. Time to switch gears. I began my first women's fiction manuscript and started attending Christian writers conferences. Eventually I learned about American Christian Romance Writers (which later became American Christian Fiction Writers) and couldn't wait to get involved. Friends in ACFW led me to RWA and the online inspirational chapter, Faith, Hope & Love.

So here I am today, still on this crazy roller-coaster ride. Still writing. Still hopeful. Writing, I'm learning, is not about the destination, it's about the journey. My current projects are primarily women's fiction and romance . . . novels of hope, love, and encouragement. Novels about real women living out their faith and finding love in the midst of everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, situations.


Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Imperfect Christmas, go HERE.

Watch the trailer:

My thoughts:

I always love it when Christmas fiction starts to hit the shelves each fall. I'm the kind of person who loves a good Christmas book no matter the time of year, so I was really excited to see this title offered through CFBA and just had to read it.

One Imperfect Christmas is what I'd call a double layered love story, because it tells the love story of not only of Natalie and Daniel, but of Natalie's parents Bram and Belinda as well. The mischief woven throughout the story was also a delightful addition. I did find myself getting melancholy at times during the book when the story focused on Belinda dealing with her stroke and I credit that in part to the author giving a realistic portrayal of Belinda's suffering and also to the fact that my mother is a stroke victim (she has made pretty much a full recovery in the last seven years - just a small amount of residual effects linger, thank God), and my grandmother passed away earlier this year not long after experiencing a stroke. I could also see my dad in Bram, as he seemed to experience being "lost" during the days just after my mother's stroke, the same way Bram did with Belinda. And while I did experience the sadness while reading the book, I think it made the ending a bit sweeter. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think it'd be a perfect addition to your holiday reading this year.


Myra Johnson said...

Jenny, thank you so much for your kind words about my book. I'm very sorry about your family's firsthand experience with stroke. Praise God your mother made such a wonderful recovery!

CeeCee said...

I'm so sorry too. I lost my grandmother earlier this summer and another just entered a nursing home. We love those grandparents, don't we? Excellent review.

Jenny said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts, Myra. I'm passing your book on to my mother and I'm sure she'll be as touched by the book as I was.

CeeCee - thanks for your comments. It's not easy to lose grandparents or see them age, is it? *Hugs* to you.