As this novella opens, Doc Beddingfield is having a George Bailey kind of Christmas. The good doctor moved from Charleston back to his home in the North Carolina mountains after his beloved wife, Cora, died almost a decade ago. Each year since her death Doc sits at his desk on Christmas Eve and writes a letter to Cora. At first the letters were sad ones, full of pain and loss, but over the years the tone changed and the letters became newsy reflections on recent events. In recounting his year, the doctor re-establishes his connection with Cora, giving him a sense of continuity in his life.
This year is different. A feeling of uneasiness prevents Doc Beddingfield from writing. Thinking that his sixth sense is telling him that a patient needs him, he sets off on his horse. His patient is fine, but he learns of a new family in the neighborhood whose home has burned down. Visiting them, he finds a woman about to give birth. Taking this new family into his home revitalizes the doctor and reignites feelings of community that had grown dim in the previous year.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.