Monday, January 2, 2012

First Chapter Review: One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

This is the start of my new feature, the First Chapter Review. As I mentioned last week, I will read the first chapter of a book, discuss it a bit, and then let you know whether I would keep reading. I hope you'll enjoy this new feature and will leave me feedback. The format of this might change as we go along, so your feedback will be important.

TITLE:  One Imperfect Christmas

AUTHOR:  Myra Johnson

BLURB: 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.

COVER:  I'm a bit cool on the cover. The cream colored door is rather plain. I like the carrot that adds in the "im" to the title. The broken ornament is a nice touch. I would rather have seen a messy living room with a Christmas tree and some ornaments on the floor. If I were making a purchase based upon cover alone, I might have passed this one by.

FIRST CHAPTER: The story opens three weeks after Christmas. Natalie wishes her husband's schedule didn't take him away so much, and hopes their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion can be kept under control. She's also dreading the arrival of her in-laws. Her mother-in-law is a total neat-nick. Natalie didn't inherit the cleaning gene from her mom, who also keeps everything tidy. When her mother calls and asks Natalie to help take down the Christmas decorations, Natalie explains how busy she is. It will be a decision she regrets.

KEEP READING?:  Yes. Though at first, I felt the story started off a bit slow: wife feeling sorry for herself as her husband is rushing off in a different direction, feeling neglected by her daughter, and dreading the impending in-law visit. The pace picked up as I moved through the story, and it ended so strong, that I continued reading all of Chapter 2. I definitely want to see how this turns out!

Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (September 2009)
ISBN-10: 1426700709
ISBN-13: 978-1426700705
SRP:  $13.99
Also available in a Kindle edition.

I received no monetary compensation for this review.


thewriterslife said...

I love this! Now I like the cover. Boy would I have loved to put this one on Christmas type books! I think the title is fantastic too. I'd definitely pick this one up.

April said...

This is such a cool idea, Cheryl! I love it! I have this book on my Kindle as well. One of many that I grabbed over last month, lol. Your review of the first chapter has made me even more anxious to pick it up! I agree on the cover - not one that truly reaches out and grabs you.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dot and April. I'm really glad you like it. I have so many books kicking around here. These authors should get something out of it.

Myra Johnson said...

Thank you for featuring my book, Cheryl! This was my first published novel, and I hope you weren't disappointed. Readers tend to have very mixed reactions to my heroine. They either really identify with her or just want to send her to therapy! :>D But if the story touched your heart in some small way, I'm happy.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by, Myra. How wonderful of you to leave a comment.

No, I wasn't disappointed at all. Though I couldn't relate all the way to Natalie, I knew where she was coming from. In addition, I had something similar happen to me when I was younger. I was supposed to go over to my uncle's house on a Saturday, but got very busy. He had a stroke that morning, and he might have recovered if I had found him in time. I've had to live with that since his death many years ago, but I also know I would have had my young son in tow and that could have been very tramatic for him.

Thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment.