Prayers of a Stranger by Davis Bunn is a Christmas novella, just right for an evening's read in your easy chair by the fire. Just as some people like to indulge in "feel good" movies during the holiday rush, I like to leave a little time for new Christmas stories each year. I hadn't planned to start reading Christmas stories so soon, but I got an email from our library system saying the e-book I had placed a hold on was ready. When that happens I need to read the book within a limited number of days, so Sunday eve was my time for this title.
For the last 11 months, Amanda has worked in her Florida hospital's administration, serving as a go-between between a difficult head administrator and the staff. Doctors and nurses alike have come to count on Amanda's gift for solving difficult problems and calming troubled waters. Instead of basking in her success, Amanda realizes that she has not been able to calm her own personal troubles. It has been almost one full year since her crisis and she still cannot enter the neo-natal unit where she used to be head nurse. At home, she and her husband still "dance" a fragile dance of emotions, and neither enter the small room off the hallway, which once promised to be the life of home. As the holidays approach, husband Chris knows his wife is not ready to spend time with his large extended family, so when Amanda has a chance to accompany an older neighbor on a trip to the Holy Land, he encourages the trip. On her travels, Amanda will begin to refocus, seeing God's prescence next to others in crisis, and when she meets a woman by the wailing wall praying for a sick child, Amanda herself sees that prayers can be answered in unexpected ways.
I liked the realistic tone of this novella. I found the friendship that arose between Amanda/Chris and their older neighbors Frank/Emily to be endearing and believable. It also showed how easily we can minister to others if we just open up to the possibility of helping someone else. Davis Bunn did a good job of developing characters, creating detailed setting, and even developing side plots within a short framework. If you have someone who holiday books, why not consider finding a copy of this book?