(Kathi Oram Peterson and I met briefly last spring at a writers' conference, and my admiration of her talent and person has continued to grow ever since. I offered to read and review "An Angel on Main Street" primarily because I am a Christmas fanatic who was anxious to get into the holiday spirit way back in early November. And this book truly proved to be a charmer. In fact, I count it as one of the best books I've read this year--delightful, engaging, at times tense and tender--it kept me turning page after page, and reaching for the Kleenex at the end. I highly recommend the book. You'll be passing this one on to those you love for years to come.)
"AN ANGEL ON MAIN STREET"
Kathi Oram Peterson
Covenant has a precious and poignant Christmas release reminiscent of two timeless stories that each became classic must-watch holiday movies. "An Angel on Main Street" oozes with the nostalgic childhood innocence beloved in "A Christmas Story," while also capturing the moral struggles of the brilliantly tender film, "It’s A Wonderful Life."
Tenderly written by Kathi Oram Peterson, (The Forgotten Warrior), "An Angel on Main Street" takes the reader back to small-town Idaho during Christmas week 1953, to a time when life’s vicissitudes were met with floods of faith, innocence and neighborly kindness.
Peterson has a gift for first-person prose that immediately invests us in Micah Connors, a misunderstood eleven-year-old with the world seemingly being borne upon his young shoulders. When his father fails to return home from the Korean War, Micah assumes the self-appointed role of “man-of-the-house”, but his naïve efforts to “provide” for his mother and fragile sister, Annie, land him in trouble with the law.
His mother moves her little family to the small Idaho community of Bolton, hoping to give Micah a fresh start and a clean slate, though the move takes Annie away from her familiar doctors. After promising to stay out of trouble, Micah finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the local sheriff becomes entangled in the lives of Bolton’s newest family. This intrusion comes as two pivotal events occur. Annie’s health declines, adding guilt to Micah’s already pressing burdens, while pieces of a Nativity mysteriously begin appearing in the town square. The Nativity means hope to Annie, who has faith that the baby Jesus will heal her, and a desperate plan forms in Micah’s well-intentioned heart.
Peterson’s skilled storytelling immediately hooks us and we cheer for our flawed hero, even as our stomachs tighten with each misstep and ill-advised choice. "If only they could see into his heart," we cry out with each page turn, but life becomes increasingly complicated for Micah as time runs out to save his sister.
Kathi Peterson tugs at the heart without becoming trite or formulaic. Her characters are rich, her storyline is fresh and her ending blindsides you in a most satisfying way, leaving you with a sweet message, delivered without moralizing.
At 89 pages, An Angel on Main Street is a quick read whose inspiring impact lingers. Each chapter of this little story would make a perfect before-bed read for parents and children, providing a spring board of sharing that would deepen a family’s Christmas season. In fact, I believe it will become a family favorite for years to come.
Click on the cover to read an excerpt from this engaging title. An Angel on Main Street is available at Deseret Books, Seagull Books, on Amazon, and wherever LDS books are sold.