Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Christmas on Chestnut Street (An Island Christmas)

Author:  Nancy Thayer
Genre:  Christmas/Fiction

Four Stars
As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker.

As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.

Jilly is distraught because her youngest daughter Felicia has moved so far away from home, and blames it on Felicia's fiance, Archie.  Archie is into outdoor sports, and his idea of a good time is white-water rafting, which Felicia also enjoys.  Now they are getting married, and Jilly thinks that if Felicia marries Archie, she'll never see her.  So, while discussing this situation with her friend Nicole, she also mentions that the boy who took Felicia to prom, Steven, has moved back next door, is a highly successful stockbroker...and single.  Since Felicia has agreed to hold the wedding on Nantucket for Jilly's sake, her plan is to throw Steven and Felicia together as much as possible and she will "see the error of her ways" and dump Archie for Steven.
However, once Felicia arrives, things begin to go awry.  Felicia doesn't appear to be interested in Steven in the least, Archie convinces Jilly's husband George to take a boat trip around the island with him, with disastrous results, and Jilly has recently adopted a cat from the local animal shelter that insists on doing exactly what he wants to do no matter what.
Let me be clear for those of you expecting a love-triangle-sort-of-thing:  it isn't one.  There isn't a whole lot of interaction between Steven/Felicia/Archie.  In fact, it sort of becomes only a few pages in the entire book, hence the four stars instead of five.  The blurb kind of hints otherwise, and there really isn't a "secret matchmaking campaign" anywhere in the book.
That notwithstanding, it is an enjoyable book, full of descriptions of the Nantucket area and how they 'deck out' for the holidays,etc.  We are given not only that, but interactions between people that could happen in any family, especially at the holidays.  The only thing I took exception to was that it appeared to me that the cat was "handy" for causing disasters where there might not have been any otherwise.  A cat new to a household, as this one was, and unsure of people, as this one was, would more likely make itself scarce rather than spend time with all these strangers.
Other than that, it  is a nice addition to books being read at the Christmas season, and recommended for anyone who enjoys holiday stories, and those about weddings held at Christmas.

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A Souffle of Suspicion (A French Bistro Mystery #2)

Author:  Daryl Wood Gerber Genre:  Mystery Hardcover; Digital Book ISBN #:  9781683315865 Crooked Lane Books 325 Pages $25.25; $9.99 ...