Author: Pat Henshaw
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 25 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: At fewer than thirty pages, this story tried its best to pack an emotional punch and yet, there just needed to be a bit more detail for it to really qualify as a home run in my book.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Christmas joy is a matter of perspective. For some, it’s the happiest time of the year. For others, not so much.
Twenty-nine-year-old Mick, the son of crack addicts, isn’t exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Scrooge. Mick’s been on his own from childhood. As a teen, he lived in a shelter where for a short time he had a boyfriend. After the boyfriend left, Mick moved to the Orpheum Theater. While squatting there and taking care of the grand old building, Mick watched others celebrate the holidays from a distance, never able to share in their joy.
Only his Technicolor dreams liven his dull, mechanical life until one day the world around him begins to change. Mick is surprised when a man named Jim buys the vintage Orpheum and plans to restore it. Something about Jim makes Mick think they’ve met before. In fact, Jim rekindles Mick’s longing for a better life and a little holiday magic for himself.
Review: Author Pat Henshaw offers up a short holiday story full of whimsy and hope with the latest release, The Orpheum Miracle. Focusing on a young man who has been dealt a rough life that included a childhood with a drug addicted mother, and then bouncing in and out of a local shelter, needless to say Mick doesn’t believe in much–and definitely not Christmas good will. For him, it’s an over-inflated time of greed, and he’d rather not get his hopes up when they have so regularly been trampled on and dismissed. Still, Mick is tired of living hand to mouth–and in secret. You see, he’s currently living clandestinely in the very aging theatre that he has had the luck to work at for the last seven years.
So, when the new owner arrives on the scene, Mick tries hard not to get excited about all the changes he sees happening, especially when he is asked to take on the role of manager. Despite his caution, Mick throws himself into making the Orpheum Theatre great once more by making such changes as hiring better staff from the homeless shelter he still has ties with, to spending his hard earned rainy day stash on a more sophisticated wardrobe. But when the new owner has one final surprise for Mick, it’s nearly his undoing, for it can only mean that miracles really can happen and dreams just may come true—even for a homeless boy who refused to believe in either, in order to survive.
At fewer than thirty pages, this story tried its best to pack an emotional punch and yet, there just needed to be a bit more detail for it to really qualify as a home run in my book. Due to the fast pace and sketchy storyline, it was difficult to get drawn into this particular tale, mainly due to the fact that we had so little time to digest the myriad emotions that ran through Mick over the course of events. In order to have real empathy for him, I felt we needed a bit more page time to digest his story, to perhaps hear a bit more about his life on the streets and how important his one and only friend, Randy, was to him. I believe with a bit more detail and structure, this story would have had a more lasting effect. Instead, it was just a nice story—short, a bit unfinished in its feel and, unfortunately, a bit forgettable as a consequence. The Orpheum Miracle by Pat Henshaw had great bones but not enough meat to make it a holiday tale to remember.
You can buy The Orpheum Miracle here: