One of the most common themes in romance novels is second chances – a hero or heroine having the opportunity to rekindle an old romance, rediscover an old love, find forgiveness, or having the opportunity to start a relationship over again. Setting the story during the Christmas season heightens both the conflict and its resolution. Christmas isn’t supposed to be about old hurts, anguish, and emotional pain. But in these stories of second chances, the resolution seems all the sweeter.
Of course, the Christmas story itself is a story about second chances. The law didn’t work as intended in terms of reconciling man to God. Something else had to happen; the story of God becoming man to reconcile humanity to himself is perhaps the archetypocal story of second chances.
One Christmas Eve by Robin Patchen
One Christmas Eve by Robin Patchen is a novella in which three of the main characters all find second chances. And it happens in less than a day.
Blake Carmichael is a film star, familiar from numerous popular action movies. He’s also a recovering drug addict, the drug in this case being cocaine. What pulled him out of addiction was a mentor, a fellow movie star, and becoming a Christian. He’s been drug-free for two years, and he’s moved from Hollywood to New Hampshire to be near his teenaged son, Eli.
Blake’s ex-wife and Eli’s mother has remarried, and Eli is staying with his dad during her honeymoon. Eli is hostile towards Blake; he’s heard the stories from his mother about drugs and extra-marital affairs and generally bad behavior by his father, most of which are believable but untrue.
Blake waits until he believes Eli is asleep and goes to his room to pray for him. What he finds is pillows under the covers; Eli is gone. Blake desperately beings calling people and learns that Eli may be with his girlfriend Kelsey. Blake gets hold of Kelsey’s aunt, Tallie, and the two begin a late-night journey to Boston, where the two teens have likely gone for a concert. Tallie is in her early 30s, and she is certainly aware of the actor Blake Carmichael from church.
Will Blake and Eli be able to reconcile and communicate? Will Tallie be able to overcome the stories she’s heard about Blake? And will Eli forgive his father learn that his father truly loves him?
One Christmas Eve is a short, compelling story about three people giving themselves and each other second chances.
Savanna’s Gift by Camille Eide
Savanna Holt is driving her goddaughter to a mountain resort in Oregon, bringing the girl to her paternal grandparents while her mother cares for her dying father. The resort brings back memories; this is where she met the handsome ski instructor ski instructor Luke Nelson while she did summer work during college.
Luke had proposed and Savanna had accepted, until she returned to nursing school in the East and began to have second thoughts. She was career-minded, determined to escape the family life she had been brought up in. She had begun to consider Luke as having no more ambitions than to be a ski instructor. She had mailed the ring back with a written apology.
Except Luke is now the manager of the resort. And Savanna’s visit, meant to be an overnight stay only, becomes extended when a snowstorm blocks the only road out. And as Savanna soon learns, Luke is still angry over her rejection. For her part, Savanna knows she made a terrible mistake, but will Luke ever forgive her?
Photograph by Nick Fewings via Unsplash. Used with permission.