Desert Isle Keeper
One Christmas Knight
I not only love to read, I live to read. I’ll have to admit that a lot of the books I read go past me leaving me with just a pleasant feeling. Sometimes though, I read a book that activates my sense of wonder and stays with me for a long time. One Christmas Knight is one of those books. It tells a simple story. No great conflicts, no storm and stress, just two lonely people who meet each other and fall in love.
Mirabella Waskowitz is thirty-eight years old and eight months pregnant by artificial insemination. She has always wanted children but was not willing to marry or even have a relationship with a man she does not love. It’s the Christmas season and since Mirabella cannot get a ticket to fly home, she is driving from Los Angeles to Pensacola by herself. She is very anxious to see her father, who is scheduled for heart surgery. Along the eastern route, she stops in a truck stop and meets Jimmy Joe Starr, a long haul trucker. Jimmy Joe is just about the dearest, sweetest, kindest, most utterly good man I have encountered in a book. I loved him dearly. He has had to grow up fast. He got his girl friend pregnant in high school, and being an honorable southern boy, he married her. When she turned out to be a drug addict who later died of her addiction, Jimmy Joe was left alone to raise his son. He has the help of his large and loving family, but he is a lonely man.
Mirabella is the short, stocky red head in a family of tall, slim blondes. She has always felt like the ugly duckling in a house full of swans and has cultivated a prickly and independent exterior to keep the world at arms length. Inside she is loving and vulnerable, but God forbid she let anyone find out!
When Mirabella is caught in a blizzard in the Texas panhandle and goes into premature labor, Jimmy Joe is the one who rescues her, stays with her, and delivers her baby. During this time, Mirabella is forced to surrender her independence and rely totally on Jimmy Joe. They form a deep bond, and when he leaves her and her baby girl in the hospital, neither of them can forget the other.
Mirabella and Jimmy Joe are, at first glance, total opposites. She’s a city girl, he’s a country boy. She is eight years older than he is, but he is mature beyond his years. She has more formal education, but he is better read. She is prickly and bossy and he is very easygoing. In the face of how they feel for each other, none of this matters. With Jimmy Joe, Mirabella is able to let go and know she can trust him to love her no matter what. And Jimmy Joe sees in Mirabella the quick wit and feistiness that he loves in a woman. At one point, Jimmy Joe compares them to two strands of yarn that may not look good separately, but can combine to weave a beautiful rug.
One Christmas Knight left me feeling warm and good inside. I have no hesitation in saying that it is one of the best book I read in 1997. I stayed up half the night reading it, then placed it on my keeper shelf so I could reread it again and again. Thank you Kathleen Creighton. This book is a small, quiet masterpiece.