Christmas Yet to Come by Marian Perera

Christmas Yet to Come by Marian Perera
The Ghosts of Christmas, Book 1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Holiday
Length: Short Story (55 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The woman under the shroud gets her turn under the mistletoe.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come has had enough. No more being the third act in a make-them-repent performance, terrifying people with visions of death. But after twenty years as a faceless wraith, rebellion has consequences.

On the night of December 23rd, 1875, she becomes human—and lands facedown in the snow beside a shabby house. Wearing nothing but her shroud.

As is his custom, banker Justin Welland plans to spend Christmas with his nose to the grindstone. Finding a near-naked woman on his doorstep not only startles him out of his careful routine, “Laura Snow” makes him want to discover the secrets behind her slightly eccentric behavior, her beautiful eyes—and her ability to walk through a wall into his bedroom.

A sizzling kiss rekindles the warmth in Laura’s body and soul. But when a mirror shows her a vision of blood and death, she realizes that if she abandons her ghostly role, someone—maybe Justin—will have to take her place.

Warning: Contains a tightly buttoned-up banker who creates a special Christmas for a woman, and a ghost who discovers being alive has some unexpected…benefits. Also, a kiss that will curl your candy cane.

I have seen the holiday classic many times in all its incarnations but this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone tackling the life, or unlife, of one of the ghosts of Christmas. This little novella is clever, fascinating and engaging. Ms. Perera treats the subject with the respect that it deserves but adds in a little romantic whimsy that is entirely charming.

The ghost of Christmas Yet to Come actually has a heartbreaking history that is shared with a reader. It garnered my compassion and empathy for a life cut short and her ensuing job as the third ghost in the classic tale. It’s not made clear exactly what she did to get booted from her once a year job, it might have been action or thought or emotion but the result is her landing in a heap on a snowy evening as a human – sort of. Her name is Laura and she’s a delightful contrast of world-weary and innocent, knowledgeable yet ignorant, enthusiastic yet cautious. It’s those inconsistencies that pique the hero’s interest, and Justin finds himself contemplating emotions and memories he’s buried for years. Laura causes conflict in the best way possible and what happens after that is a subtle magic.

What I liked about Justin was his ability to really listen, focus and not be prone to hysterics. I mean, who wouldn’t freak when they saw a person walk through a wall? Yet, the author had established a relationship between Justin and Laura that allowed the hero to not discount what his eyes witnessed and that spoke well to his personality and my belief that he’s a good guy for a hero.

Even though the story is short, they manage to believably fall in love in the time Laura has on this plain. The novella is gently told with a sweetness and patience that belies its briefness. There is more emphasis on their reactions to each other, how in tune they are to one another and how Laura’s very presence inspires Justin to want to be a better man, to be more and remember the dreams he once had when he was younger. All those little touches appeal to the romantic in a reader’s heart and it’s beautiful.

Laura’s ghostly duty allows her to see the future and it’s a dark one for Justin. But is his future written in stone? That’s the suspenseful part and it was well played. I really liked how the author handled the solution. It was freaky, spooky and effective. The description gave me tiny goosebumps.

Christmas Yet to Come is a short shot of shivery goodness and romance. It combines eerie with hope, and sweetness with the shadowy challenges of life. This is a story not to miss just because it’s so unique and entertaining. The happy ever after is chuckle-worthy and as satisfying as a reader could wish. It’s a definite recommend.

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