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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

Win one of five copies if this book! Click here. (contest ends 11/5/10)

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (207 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word.

The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.

Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home…

“Start by loving her, the rest will follow.”

Bachelor Mark Nolan reads this in the letter his dead sister left naming him guardian of her precious six-year-old Holly. He finds this is so true not only for his little niece that grieves for her mother, but also for the widow Maggie Collins that prowls the recesses of his mind even when he is thinking of marrying Shelby. Having come from a dysfunctional family, he believes one chooses to believe in love just like one might choose to believe in magic. His pragmatic way of seeing life sets him up for some surprises that about love and magic—surprises that rock his world.

Reared in a big family with love, sibling rivalries, joys, and heartaches that weld them into a solid unit, Maggie Collins had planned just such a life for her and Eddie when they married. However, before they had a chance to build a life together, he had slowly and painfully died of cancer leaving Maggie determined to never fall in love again. The risk of suffering that kind of loss again would be more than she could bear.

Mark pretty much bullies his bachelor brother Sam into sharing responsibility for Holly’s care and well-being. Neither of them has a clue about how to rear a little girl. What she teaches them touches the heart, makes one laugh, and fills the mind with wonder. Since her mother’s death, she does not talk. Then, one day she and her Uncle Mark visit Maggie Collin’s toy store.

Maggie tells Holly of fairies; how they spend their day sewing ribbons into rainbows and having tea parties with butterflies and ladybugs. She enlists Holly’s help in finding a name for the fairy that lives in the fairy house in the store and suggests that Holly might hum into the conch then listen to see if she can hear a name for the fairy so she can write it down for Maggie. Holly tries, but rather than write the name, she whispers it in Maggie’s ear.

Mark watches with awe at the connect Holly and Maggie make. After all, he doesn’t believe in love, fairies, and magic.

Lisa Kleypas creates a bit of magic of her own as she weaves fantastic secondary characters and the enchanting setting of the San Juan Islands in with the lives of Mark, Holly, and Maggie. Her subtle and overt humor, remarkable word pictures, plus her revelation of joy in the ordinary, and patient love that waits makes Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor sparkle with all the magic of Christmas. This is a story of giving and receiving at its best—a KEEPER to be enjoyed more than once.