DEAR SANTA – Nancy Naigle
St. Martin's Grifftn
ISBN: 978-1-250-18517-4 – Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-250-18518-1 – eBook
Contemporary Holiday Fiction
Pleasant Sands, North Carolina
Pleasant Sands is a small town on the coast that was once the site of an active lighthouse. The lighthouse is still there but it was decommissioned several generations ago and bought by the man who had operated it. It has since passed down in the family via his widow and her daughter and all the many times granddaughters and great granddaughters. The present owner, one Angela Carson, inherited it from her beloved grandmother, Momma Grace. Momma Grace was like a mother to Angela after her own mother passed, and Angela spent her childhood and younger years helping Momma Grace in the Heart of Christmas, the store established long ago in the lighthouse. It is now her life. As the older child, Angela's sister, Marie, took a different path growing up. She is now a lawyer with a husband named Brad and a daughter named Chrissy.
The story begins on Thanksgiving Day with Angela preparing to spend the day at Marie's, not without contributing to the menu. Marie, as usual, tries to make Angela broaden her life. Angela is worried about the future of the store now that a chain of variety stores has chosen to open one of their chain, all named Christmas Galore, in Pleasant Sands. Its stock is not just holiday items, nor as choice as that of Heart of Christmas. Yet Angela is upset about the competition. Little Chrissy tells her aunt to write to Santa Claus about the bad man.
The bad man is Geoff Paisley who owns and runs the chain with his mother. They have built a store a year in different towns, and this is their fifteenth. This time, his mother has a fancy to stay two years instead of the one they usually stay before moving on. After a bad spell, she asks Geoff to take on her job of answering the Dear Santa letters the store elicits. Geoff gets a letter that moves him; it sounds as though it came from a youngster being bullied. He sends an encouraging reply not realizing it was from Angela about him. And Angela is impressed by the thoughtful letter from whoever is the “Santa” it came from. Meanwhile, their feud carries on.
DEAR SANTA is often moving and sometimes humorous as Geoff and Angela grow and come to understand themselves and each other. Angela has a caring heart. She's devoted to her family, her town, and her shop. Other than his mother, Geoff cares mainly for their stores making money.
One more thing; the characters, major and secondary, come alive. The town is like one big family with several branches with Angela as an important member. An earlier holiday work by Ms. Naigle (CHRISTMAS JOY) was adapted as a Hallmark Holiday Movie. You wouldn't be wrong to expect just such a heartfelt and ultimately sweet romance in DEAR SANTA as one of those.