. . .Enter Fred, a sexy and eccentric stranger who arrives at Lindsay's door out of the blue. Dressed like he just stepped out of a Dickens novel, complete with British accent, Fred claims he's a Messenger, sent from "Headquarters" to help her discover the joy of Christmas. But is Fred an angel from above--or just stone cold crazy?
Fred's used to dealing with skeptics. Telling a stranger you've been ordered to inspire holiday cheer is a tough sell. But there's a further complication. Fred's mission is to help Lindsay right the wrongs from her past that have been holding her back. But somehow along the way, they've become wildly attracted to each other--and falling in love is not part of the plan. Fred only has ‘til the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve to guide Lindsay to the magical future she deserves--even if it's a future without him...
Lindsay Miller is a hard-working career woman who has lost the Christmas within her. She sees everything as a chore - she 'has to' send out Christmas cards; 'has to' make fudge for everyone, 'has to shop,' etc. She feels overwhelmed and just wants to make it all go away...one night, while watching her favorite black-and-white version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol on television, she notes how handsome Scrooge's nephew is, how gentlemanly...
So on December 16th, there is a knock on her door, which she opens gingerly, and - there he stands: Fred, the nephew. Believing she is either insane or he is, she attempts to close the door on him. But he uses his cane as a leverage, and finds a way in. When he lets her know that he knows a few things about her (such as her eggnog is close to expiring, and where she keeps the nutmeg), she begins to think he's a figment of her imagination. But Fred persists - and when she attends a Christmas party given by her boss, and everyone there can see him, she realizes he must be real - sort of.
She has dubbed him Fred Holliday (using the first names that came to mind at the party), and he has informed her that he is there to help her. He wants her to reconcile with her high-school boyfriend, Steven, and keeps telling her that he just wants to do what's best for her. So while trying to help her find her "inner Christmas," and try to get her to see Steven, something else appears to be happening.
Fred is falling in love with his 'assignment.' And she is falling in love with him. Although he is trying to keep her at arms' length, he has to spend the remainder of days with her until December 25th, which may be harder than either of them expected it to be.
I found this book enchanting. Fred was so real that I think I started falling in love with him myself a little (don't tell my husband). There were a few passages toward the end that actually brought tears to my eyes. It is written beautifully, the imagery is magical. Ms. Donovan has a lively way with words, and the result is lovely. You can actually sense the attraction between Lindsay and Fred, feel the electricity, without anything more having occurred than kissing. But what kissing! The description is such that you actually feel them fall into each other; touch each others' soul. And I would rather have that than sex scenes any day; there is definitely romance here.
When Lindsay finally comes to grips with the fact that she will have to contact Steven - and Fred, having elicited that promise from her, realizes he must leave - it touches your heart, being tender and wrenching at the same time. But there is a promise left...
And I will not tell you any more, since I would not want to give away too much. I will tell you that if you love Christmas, and you love Hallmark movies (which this should definitely be one!), then you will love this book. I plan to read it every year at Christmastime. Highly recommended for anyone with a touch of romance in their heart; a love of Christmas in their soul.