Monday, March 15, 2010

The Present -- a Beth Williamson Short Story

Through a series of emails with the author Beth Williamson, I received a copy of a short story -- a Christmas ebook-- that she wrote at the behest of her publisher. Because it was sent as a pdf file, I do not have a picture for you, but suffice it to say, I was delighted to receive it as I had expressed disappointment in not having a novel that told us Ethan and Bonita's story. However, this little vignette is delightful and beautifully written.

Written as a peek into the life of Ethan Malloy following the death of his wife Bonita, it takes place on Christmas Eve, the second anniversary of her death. The marriage of these two people had been the longest of the Malloy siblings but without any children. Bonita's illness had begun a year or two before her death and not only had it literally consumed her physically, but her subsequent death has evidently overcome Ethan to the point that even two years later he cannot move past his grief. Now as a new Christmas Eve storm is approaching, he again finds himself motionless with grief at his wife's grave for what may have been hours. He realizes that he must begin the trek home or be caught in one of those Wyoming blizzards. He is not sure what is numbing him more -- his grief of long standing or the deep cold and blinding snow.

Meanwhile, Isabelle Carmichael, newly hired housekeeper for a neighbor of Ethan's, has lost her horse, carriage and all her belongings through a series of mishaps. She walks forward seeking some sort of shelter and comes upon a house with the beckoning rays of a lantern. She finds shelter and warmth within, little realizing that this is Ethan's home.

Ethan finds Ms Carmichael within his home, and accuses her of lying when she reports the light in the window -- he had left the house dark, and the warmth of a beautiful fire -- he had no such fire burning when he left. However, after striking sparks off one another with some truly delightful repartee, they begin to realize the crazy but irrefutable possibility that they had each been brought to this meeting by a force of love, the caring and guidance of the spirit of Bonita. Subsequent events deepen this perception, and from this comes the beginning of a new future for both Isabelle and Ethan.

It is a lovely tale of Christmas reclamation and taps into the belief that so many of us carry within that those we love who have gone before us are still interested in us and their love is still journeying with us as we live our lives. I am so grateful for having been able to read this story. I am sure that any of you who desire to do so may receive it from the author by emailing her at

Past Christmas holidays have come and gone, but let us all hope that the beauty of love and the spirit of Christmas remains with us throughout all our days. Until next time . . .

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