Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Twenty-nine-year-old Mick, the son of crack addicts, isn’t exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Scrooge. Mick’s been on his own from childhood. As a teen, he lived in a shelter where for a short time he had a boyfriend. After the boyfriend left, Mick moved to the Orpheum Theater. While squatting there and taking care of the grand old building, Mick watched others celebrate the holidays from a distance, never able to share in their joy.
Only his Technicolor dreams liven his dull, mechanical life until one day the world around him begins to change. Mick is surprised when a man named Jim buys the vintage Orpheum and plans to restore it. Something about Jim makes Mick think they’ve met before. In fact, Jim rekindles Mick’s longing for a better life and a little holiday magic for himself.
Pat Henshaw has written a delightful story of a magical theatre who manages a holiday miracle for a lonely man who’s never been able to leave his past behind. Mick’s story of loss and shelters becomes real in The Orpheum Miracle. Now grown, Mick lives in the old theatre, hidden at night, and during the day, one of her maintenance men keeping her going. Then she’s sold and her new owner wants to refurbish her and return her to her old glorious self. When Mick realizes the new owner reminds him of his boyhood friend and love lost, the story moves into magic.
As with all of Pat Henshaw’s stories, they could all be easily expanded in full novels. The plots, the characters and the world building often cries out for the full-blown treatment. So does The Orpheum Miracle. But if that never comes to pass, I’m so happy that I got to read Mick and Jim’s story. It perfect for the holidays or any time of the year.
Cover by Paul Richmond works for the series and its delightful.