Blue Christmas is an anthology of four stories that all take place during the Christmas season at The Original Heartbreak Hotel in Memphis. All the rooms are decorated in themes related to Elvis movies and it is rumored that the King himself haunts the premises.
Can't Help Falling in Love
- by Amy Elizabeth Sanders
Grade : B+ Sensuality : N/A
Amy Elizabeth Sanders' Can't Help Falling in Love is a charmer of story. G. Charles Van Dusen is a wealthy, uptight New England preppie whose idea of rebellion is to actually work for a living. He is a free-lance writer working on a story about Christmas in Memphis and all the lower-class yahoos who flock there to see Graceland in all its tacky glory. You can almost see his lip curl. When his wallet is stolen in St. Louis, he accepts a ride from Bailey O'Connor, a waitress who is going to visit Memphis for Christmas. By the time they get there, they've picked up an assortment of odd characters and Gabriel (that's what the G stands for) has the starch taken out of his shorts. He has also learned not to prejudge people. Bailey may be a waitress and know every Elvis song by heart, but she is perfectly able to sing along with Handel's Messiah too. This is a funny and touching story with a truly lovable heroine and a hero who learns to loosen up, and not be a snob.
Always On My Mind
- by Elizabeth Jones
Grade : D+ Sensuality : N/A
Always On My Mind by Elizabeth Jones is a secret baby story and the weakest of the bunch. Laura Marlow had been in love with Michael Arnett, but he was a musician who refused to give up his lifestyle. Laura wanted more stability (she was an accountant) and left him. She found out that she was pregnant and had a daughter named Megan. Now that Megan is four, Laura feels she should know her father. Laura and Megan are in Memphis and Laura finds Michael at a blues club, playing the piano. What Laura does not know is that Michael owns the club and has also become a successful songwriter. He doesn't tell her he has settled down and she doesn't tell him about Megan and there is a Big Misunderstanding before the HEA. Laura and Michael were very bland characters. I never got a feel for them at all. As for Megan, well she talked baby-talk and had an imaginary friend named "Elbis" to whom she chatted ad nauseum.
All Shook Up
- by Sharon Pisacreta
Grade : B Sensuality : N/A
All Shook Up by Sharon Pisacreta is a story with a very uptight heroine who indeed is all shook up when she tries to land the Modine Music account for her struggling PR firm. Spencer Modine is a CEO who choses his vice-presidents for their business ability and their musicianship (he likes to jam when the mood strikes him). Although Spencer has made a fortune in Silicon Valley and another one in the music business, he is proudest of the fact that he wears the same size shoes as B.B. King.
Kim Hanson is running a small PR firm and needs this account to stay out of bankruptcy; she is determined to win Spencer's business. Spencer recognizes Kim as the driven person he used to be and makes it a point to show her how to enjoy herself. I just loved Spencer. He was funny and charming without being irresponsible and he had learned a valuable lesson. You have to have fun or life is not worth living. I loved it when Kim came to realize that too.
- by Sandra Hill
Grade : B+ Sensuality : N/A
One of the interesting things in Blue Christmas is that the characters in one story make cameo appearances in the other stories. Outside The Original Heartbreak Hotel is a living Nativity scene featuring Elvis shepards, an Elvis Joseph and a Priscilla Mary, and all the characters in the previous stories have commented on it. In Sandra Hill's Fever we get the story behind the Nativity scene.
The Fallon family are farmers who have had a bad year. The owners of the Original Heartbreak Hotel gave them permission to set up a living Nativity scene outside the hotel and collect the donations. When wealthy Princetonian Clayton Jessup III inherits the hotel, he is appalled by its tackiness and as for the Fallons and their living Nativity scene - he wants them out, out, out! In mid-tirade, Clay slips on a patch of donkey dung and falls, spraining his ankle and cracking his head. When he has a very odd reaction to the painkiller (it causes him to start singing and removing his clothes) the Fallons take him to their farm, hoping he won't sue.
When Clay sees Annie Fallon without her Priscilla makeup and gets a dose of southern farm hospitality, he falls in love at first sight with Annie and her large and loving family.
Fever is a light and frothy story. Even the Misunderstanding toward the end of the story turns out to be a little one. I did have one problem. Annie is described as looking like a thinner, prettier Julia Roberts. If she is thinner than Julia Roberts, she needs help!
I do have a confession to make. While I like Elvis's music, I have never seen an Elvis movie, and I expect some of the decorations in The Original Heartbreak Hotel were over my head. Even so, my ignorance of the finer points of Elvis movies did not detract from my enjoyment, and I'd like to say to the to the writers of the stories in Blue Christmas, thank you, thank you very much.