Every time I pull up a new book to read on my e-reader I am giddy with anticipation. If it's by an author I have already read, the anticipation level blows the top of my reading thermometer completely off. Can this book be as good as the last?
Now that I'm recovering from spinal cord surgery will this book pull me away from the pain I'm enduring and give me minutes, hours spent in a world free from my spine's knife-like twinges?
So far I've read every book Penny Estelle has released via Muse It Up Publishing and as a former teacher, I have been enthralled by her author's voice.
Ms. Estelle writes SHORT stories. As an author of short stories myself, I know how hard it is to write one that will engage, enchant, and capture the reader's long term memory.
We all know about ROTE memory...that's the part of your brain that lets you cram for a test last night and retain it long enough to get an "A" on it today. Tomorrow, though, it'll all be gone.
Short term memory is the one that has you getting up to trudge to the kitchen for that much desired snack, but forgetting what you wanted when you get there. (It returns when you go back to the family room and sit down...I think our short term memory switch in attached to our butts.)
The long term memory is the one that has to find something already in your memory (your schema) that this new stuff can attach to. That's a rather LONG description, isn't it? I blame it on the teacher in me or my annoying author's voice I've "lovingly" named NUDGE.
Moving on...Penny Estelle has deviated from the Miss Wickware series I am head over schema in love with. She has a magical way of making the dull facts of history we commit to Rote memory for that quiz tomorrow come to vivid life and like a comet collects space dust in its travels, The Wickware sagas forge their way into OUR core schema forevermore.
In THIS book we have THE UNWANTED CHRISTMAS GUEST, a rather annoying, in your face reporter our hero, Steven York, who's decided it's his job to irritate every one of the last nerves, Elizabeth McMurphy, our heroine, has as she pursues a lawsuit against a multiple rapist. (He just happens to also be one of the pillars of society.) How dare she dredge up acts committed, allegedly, so very long ago?
Ms. Estelle paints her canvas with brilliance. I was a Teacher of the Handicapped; children born with Down Syndrome specifically. Little Katy's an absolute angel you're going to love. We learn half way into the story she was born with Down Syndrome. (You're already in love with her before this revelation, but learning of this child's challenges only makes you love her all the more.)
I am NOT going to do a spoiler...that's not me...you're going to have to read this powerful short story and know when you reach the surprises at the end, it is going to remain in your Long Term Memory. (I was so captivated I went back to the beginning and read it again...twice before I could shut down my e-reader and sleep.)
It's a keeper, just like Penny Estelle's Wickware Sagas are keepers.
Short, powerful, haunting, and delightfully satisfying.
THE UNWANTED CHRISTMAS GUEST deserves
TEN stars, but alas at this time in the PUBLISHING world's history I can only give it FIVE.
Happily I, Ladybug Lin, do so...FIVE STARS for THE UNWANTED CHRISTMAS GUEST and a
HoHoHo to Ms. Estelle for decking my schema with tinsel, twinkling lights, and a gorgeous angel, (Katy) to top my Memory's Christmas Tree.