Somewhere there must be an unwritten law that Christmas stories (unless they're mysteries) must involve loss and bittersweet memories. Fortunately, in the case of Lisa Kleypas' Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, there's humor added to the mix.
And, there needs to be humor added to the story of a little girl who lost her mother in a car accident. Fortunately, Holly's Uncle Mark Nolan was designated as her guardian. He didn't realize he was fortunate. When he grew up, his parents were always fighting, his father thought nothing of backhanding the kids, and his mother even banned Christmas celebrations. Despite his lack of a warm family life, Mark was determined to make a home for his niece. So, he made his brother, Sam, agree to allow them to live with him in a rambling Victorian house in Friday Harbor, a small community on San Juan Island in Washington.
Maggie Conroy had moved to Friday Harbor to open a toy shop, changing her life following the death of her husband. Although she resolved never to love anyone again, it was hard not to fall for the silent little girl who came into the shop one day with her handsome uncle. Mark was shocked when Holly, who hadn't spoken after her mother's death, opened up to the tiny shop owner with the unruly red curls. He was already starting to love the little girl in his charge, something he hadn't ever experienced in his life.
And, Mark had plans. His girlfriend, Shelby, might make the perfect mother for Holly, and he was determined to bring together people who would love Holly. After all, this was the little girl who wrote a letter to Santa saying she just wanted one thing for Christmas, "A mom."
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor could have been just another holiday romance. But, Kleypas gave both of her lead characters a sense of humor, threw in a terrific relationship between Mark and his brother, Sam, and added a hilarious Thanksgiving scene. Romance, a touch of humor, and an attractive small town setting makes for an enjoyable holiday treat. And, since Kleypas' website indicates this is the first in her new contemporary series, there just might be romance on the way for Mark Nolan's brothers, Sam and Alex. Whatever she chooses to do with the setting or the family, the books are sure to be as charming as Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.