Have you ever had a favorite movie, one you watched every year with your mother or a member of your family, specifically every Christmas? Well the movie I watched with my mom every holiday season was an old 1946 release called – It’s a Wonderful Life. It starred a super actor called, Jimmy Stewart.
Considering it was a dud at the box office, we loved it. (See the Telegraph post from Dec 2017 here where they say, the title had started as a Christmas card.) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/12/22/13-things-didnt-know-wonderful-life/
We’d laughed and cry together each time we saw that movie, and after I left home and started one of my own with my husband and kids, I still took the time every year to watch that film, knowing that she would be watching it too.
We’d laugh about it together on the phone, and when it came out in the old VHS form, she bought me a copy so I would have it on hand. Then it came out in Video and she bought me another copy, as I did her.
It became a special time for me. Each year I used that movie night to wrap my Christmas gifts for my family and friends. I surround myself with paper and ribbons, scissors and bows – and most important – a glass of Bailey’s and a dish of newly-baked cookies. Then I’d let myself sink back into the nostalgia of a young girl spending those precious hours with one of her oldest and who became one of my dearest friends.
I’m sad to say, I lost mom two years ago. But I have no doubt she’s sitting in her favorite easy chair she always appropriated when she came to visit and is peering over my shoulder, pointing out her favorite scenes and sobbing along with me when poor old George is on the bridge, begging for help from above.
That specific moment in the movie always touched us both so much that when it came time to write my story, A Wonderful Life, I just had to start there.
I truly hope you will enjoy my rendition – my characters Noel Bradford and Mary Star – as they work their way through a time of conflict to find their own wonderful life.
***I’ve added my Prologue and Chapter One so you will get a peek into the story I’ve created.
“Clarence, you haven’t stopped watching Noel Bradford for days. What in the world is happening to that young man?”
“I’m glad you noticed my preoccupation, Sir. I’m afraid he’s not doing too well. Do you remember a man called George Bailey?”
“Certainly, I do. Wasn’t he the reason you got your wings?”
“Yes, that’s him. Well poor Noel Bradford is heading in the same direction; he’s on the bridge right now, ready to jump. I’m thinking it’ll take the same interference to stop him from killing himself that it took to prevent George so many years ago.”
“I see. Then what are you waiting for, Clarence. You must go and save him.”
“I suppose you’re right. I just hate the thought of that icy water. It took me forever to warm up the last time.”
“Clarence, if you stop that poor fellow from ruining all the lives of the people who will one day love him, I’ll send you the wherewithall to get warm, now off with you. There’s no time to waste.”
Noel Bradford never believed himself to be a coward, a weakling who gave up in troubled times, a man whose shoulders were so narrow they couldn’t bear misfortune.
He was wrong.
Four days ago, when the police had knocked on his door to give him the horrifying news that his parents, and their driver, his only brother, had all been killed in a car accident, he’d thought nothing could get worse.
They were heading to their favorite resort in Aspen when their car careened over the bank of the mountainous road, dropping into a lake probably 400 feet below. The back end of the car, where the license plate could be seen through binoculars, proved it was their vehicle and the chance of any survivors was nil. If they hadn’t been killed in the crushing decent, they’d have drowned in the icy water.
Because the weather had deteriorated in that area, preventing him from travelling there and visiting the scene himself, he’d been forced to accept the news from the officials who were kind, but adamant, that his family was gone.
In that moment, his life had spiraled out of control. Fighting his way through the pain and guilt associated with having refused their invitation to join them had been excruciating.
Exhausted from a long, drawn out battle in a New York court where the jury had taken longer than was predicted, he’d finally won his case and would be paid millions for his percentage of the settlement. Relieved, but totally bushed, he’d bowed out from leaving with them that day.
Instead, he’d teased his mom back into a good mood and wished them a fabulous trip, promising he’d join them in within forty-eight hours. Relieved that he still intended to come, they’d agreed he needed some down time and left him with good-natured hugs.
He’d stayed home with his warm slippers, a satisfying nightcap and wrapped in a blanket on his deckchair to watch the rare snowstorm. Occupying the penthouse garden was a favorite pastime, a place to think, to recuperate from the battles of trial and to thank God for his wonderful life.
He’d imagined his family having a fun time, driving to their lodgings and relishing their skiing the next day. His brother Harry, who happened to also be his best friend, would take the loving older couple to a late dinner at nearby expensive steak restaurant that night, after they’d arrived. It was what they always did the first day. They considered it a well-deserved treat before the Christmas festivities hit them full-on in a few weeks.
Though his airline ticket would be useless, he’d decided to be out the money rather than be a cranky party-pooper and spoil their fun by falling asleep and snoring throughout the meal or grouching about the road conditions.
Therefore, he’d been home in his penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue when the police had rung his bell to inform him of the tragedy and leave him with more tears to shed than he’d ever thought possible.
And that news would have been enough to bring any good man to his knees. What devastated him to the point where he now stood on a dark bridge in the snow, contemplating suicide, was finding out that months ago his father had bankrupted one of his companies, had stolen huge amounts from his stockholders and his brother was in cahoots.
His father’s most trusted friend and business partner in their firm, James Lauer, had personally visited, to share the terrible news. James had explained that the factory had all but closed, while their workers faced unemployment at the very worst time of the year.
Heart sore, he’d gone to Bedford Falls, a few hours outside of New York, to investigate the impact on that town himself. Boarded buildings and sad faces were seen everywhere. It had increased his misery to such an intolerable level; he didn’t think he could survive. Everything he’d held dear all his life had been destroyed – crushed under a depression that brought him to his knees.
After the grueling months working his last case and being drawn into the cruel depths humanity displayed by the lying and terrible underhanded practices of their rivals, he’d gotten the feeling he’d never feel clean again. During that intense time, he’d clung to his own wonderful family, their happiness and normality.
How all this had happened right under his nose, he still didn’t know. His family hadn’t talked about it. They’d kept him in the dark. It was that nightmare that had deflated him, had taken every ounce of caring from his lost soul. Just today, he’d seen the proof of their deviousness, and it had led him to the point of jumping to eliminate the pain.
Poised on the bridge, leaning over the railing, uncontrollable tears streaming, he prayed. “Lord, if you can hear me. Send me a sign. Help me! I’m at the end of what’s tolerable.” He wiped his eyes and stiffened his backbone. He waited and nothing happened, no internal messages to bring solace.
A long while later, he sighed and stopped fighting his fate. He took off his shoes and lifted one leg over the steel barrier. That’s when he heard it… a loud scream. To his right, he watched an older man flailing around in the water, panicking and begging for help.
What choice did he have?
Love, Christmas 2
If you feel you’d like to carry on reading this heartwarming story, please grab a copy of Love, Christmas 2.
For 99 cents you will get a deal you won’t regret. Twenty-six, all-new, exclusive to this set, novellas which are titled after popular holiday movies written by NYT & USAT, best-selling authors.
How can you go wrong?
At this time, the collection is on pre-order and will be released Oct 16th.
***And if you’d like to sample more first chapters of these stories, we have released a FREE gift for you called Book Bites 11 where we added all the first chapters for the 26 stories.
NYT & USA Today, best-selling, award-winning author, MIMI BARBOUR, has seven romance series to her credit. She also has many single titles and a huge number of box sets – her own and multi-author collections.
Mimi lives on the East coast of Vancouver Island with her husband and writes her various romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. She’s been known to say: “If I can steal a booklover’s attention away from their everyday grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.”
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Her reviews are numerous and incredibly positive:
“Love Mimi Barbour, love her books. When you can read a book that within just a few words, you are brought right into the book. You feel, taste, see everything going on. Great story lines. Fantastic characters, fantastic plots, story lines like real life both honest folk and of crooks. Humor that will have you giggling then full on belly laugh. You may even shed a tear or two. All in all, Mimi never disappoints.” ~ Reviewed by Shirleen Miller