Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Book Review: Dear Santa

By Sara Steven

Angela Carson wants nothing more than to be the third-generation to run her family’s holiday store, Heart of Christmas, successfully. They’ve weathered over sixty tourist seasons, major hurricanes, and urban sprawl, in their old decommissioned lighthouse. But the national chain that set up shop in their small North Carolina town of Pleasant Sands may be more than Heart of Christmas can survive.

Encouraged by her niece to ask Santa for help, Angela gives in and lets the words fly in a way that, if Santa were real, would no doubt land her on the naughty list. What’s the harm when it’s just a computer-generated response?

Geoff Paisley has been at his mother’s side running the mega-chain Christmas Galore for the last ten years. When his mother falls ill, Geoff promises to answer the town’s "Dear Santa" letters in her stead. Soon he realizes the woman he’s been corresponding with on "Dear Santa" is Angela. How could the woman that grates his every last nerve in person have intrigued him so deeply through those letters?

When Geoff reveals that he’s her Dear Santa, will Angela be able to set aside their very public feud to embrace the magic of the holiday and possibly find true love? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Reminiscent of You’ve Got Mail with a Sleepless in Seattle twist, Dear Santa was the perfect sweet holiday read, providing just the right mix of trouble and romance. As mentioned in the synopsis, Angela runs the local holiday store, a store that has been in her family for generations. When a mega-chain moves into town, it threatens her livelihood and everything she stands for. Christmas Galore felt like a Walmart-type one stop shop with all things holiday and beyond, while Angela’s Heart of Christmas could certainly be categorized as unique boutique. Given time, people will find a reason to seek out the store that offers discounts and savings, even though it might mean sacrificing quality.

The reaction Angela has when dealing with the possibility of having to close her family’s store was perfection. It was also infuriating how Geoff stands by his mantra of, “business is business”. I was right there in the mix of the fights and disagreements the two characters share, while deep down there is a mutual respect they have for one another, lending into potential romantic vibes and feelings. You get the sense that it all would have worked out, if not for this one large obstacle, ultimately giving us that “wanting what you can’t have” scenario.

The "Dear Santa" letters were great. Not just the ones from Angela to Geoff, (unbeknownst to her), but the ones from random children. Many are showcased, adding a nice holiday touch. You want to be angry with Geoff, given what Angela goes through in trying to save her business. But, it’s hard not to like him just a little, when he picks up on his mother’s wishes to answer the letters. It was nice to see a man who holds up his end of the family bargain, giving us another look at who Geoff really is, even if it’s completely the opposite of what Angela assumes him to be.

I appreciated the “what’s going to happen” aspect in Dear Santa. Will Angela save her business? Will she and Geoff become more than frenemies? Will his mother be okay, and what is her tie to Pleasant Sands, anyway? It’s what made this a real page turner, and very enjoyable.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Janine said...

This book sounds really good. I have been reading a lot of Holiday books this year and really enjoying them.

susieqlaw said...

Great review!