"A tale of magic and second chances"
If Wishing made it so is a tale of magic and second chances.
I found the heroine, Hildy Caldwell, highly sympathetic from
the get go. She is a female version of George Bailey in her
own small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She'd once been
a cheerleader, prom queen, and voted most likely to succeed
and she'd had the handsomest, sweetest football player
boyfriend. They'd been the perfect couple until he'd blown
it in the spring of their senior year. Still she'd gone off
to Penn State with high hopes. But life had dealt her
another wicked blow when her mother had become terminally
ill, and she had put her life on hold to care for her.
Unfortunately this meant that ten years later she was still
in the same small town, teaching High School English at the
same school she'd graduated from and with no one to love but
her two cats Shelley and Keats. But she hadn't realized what
a rut her life was in until the announcement of her tenth
High School reunion had arrived.
The invite had made her melancholy about her love life as
well as her career. Though she'd had subsequent
relationships with seemingly perfect men, she'd found
something wrong with each before things got too serious.
Who'd have ever though she'd be a 28 year old virgin? But no
man had measured up to her first love, Michael Amante. What
did she have to tell her classmates who'd had such high
expectations for her? It was time to reevaluate her life.
Michael had gone on to live the perfect life. He'd made a
mint in real estate and had been engaged for the last five
years to a glamorous photographer named Kiki who looked like
a fashion model. Would she see Mike at the reunion? Hildy
had a strong wish to see him one more time. Be careful what
you wish for!
Hildy decided to take the summer to think about the changes
she needed to make in her life. To do so she rented a
cottage on the Jersey shore. She did not enjoy gambling
however her sister did and since Corrine had come all the
way there to check out her digs as well as spend a little
time in Atlantic City, Hildy soon found herself sitting in
front of a quarter game machine at Caesar's. Looking for
someplace to put her coffee she sees what she thinks is a
beer bottle. Nope, it's a bottle alright but a very fancy
one, obviously someone's precious souvenir. Naturally being
honest she plans to take it to the Lost and Found on her way
out. While playing she thinks about how much she misses Mike
and gives herself a little pep talk about being lucky.
Wonder of wonders she hits the jackpot! Deciding to leave
well enough alone, she hits the beach while her sister
continues to play, completely forgetting about the bottle
she's put in her bag. Miracle of Miracles she nearly drowns
in the surf and is saved by none other than the former man
of her dreams! Are you getting the picture yet?
Mike is unhappy in his life as well both with his career and
his love life, but isn't exactly sure what he's been
missing. The two are thrilled to see each other but the
happy reunion is interrupted by Mike's horrible fiancée.
Hildy returns home and soon discovers the bottle's secret.
Of course she believes that he's an employee from Caesar's
sent to retrieve the bottle but the genie quickly convinces
her of the truth. To complicate matters he reveals to Hildy
that the bottle's last owner was a Mafiosa who wanted to be
the boss of all bosses and needed his help to realize his
dreams. Jimmy the Bug will do whatever he has to get it
back. Now she has a number or ethical dilemmas. She can't
give the genie back to a criminal, and she's not sure she
deserves her winnings or to have another chance with Mike.
But Hildy's totally certain that he's her soulmate and
that's where the genie, a former Roman Centurian, comes in.
The genie assures her that wishful thinking doesn't really
count and she makes him promise not to influence Mike
directly to make him fall in love with her again. Of course
that doesn't mean he can't influence him indirectly after
all he's been around a long time and knows how men's minds
work! I loved the genie, "Tony G," and really felt he was
the best part of the story.
Mike's fiancée Kiki is easy to dislike, she's an opportunist
and it's clear that she's just using him. No love lost there
but when it becomes clear that he's become interesting in
someone else she isn't above playing dirty. Mike takes a
little while to warm up to.
It's clear that he's not in love with Kiki, and that he's
more than interested in seeing if the spark can be relit
with Hildy, but he becomes wishy washy about following
through and allows Kiki to manipulate him time and again.
Knowing the reason that Hildy originally dumped him isn't
improve anyone's opinion of him. But when things get really
ugly he proves himself to be a true hero turning him into
the man Hildy had always believed him to be.
Neither rain, nor gangsters, nor spiteful fiancées will keep
this pair from their happily ever after. As Hildy would
quote, "All's well that ends well." Although the romance
wasn't always convincing, the humor and the genie definitely
made this story worth reading.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted October 12, 2008