Kleypas pens an enchanting holiday tale
New York Times best-selling author Lisa Kleypas launches a new series set in the Pacific Northwest with Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. The novel introduces the Nolan brothers—Mark, Sam and Alex—but this first of three stories belongs to Mark.
When Mark Nolan’s sister is killed in a car accident, he learns he’s been named guardian of her only child, six-year-old Holly. Up until now, Mark has remained a bachelor by choice—a wife and children weren’t even blips on his personal radar screen. His own parents’ marriage had been a war zone, their sons were collateral damage. Mark has no idea how to be a parent to a little girl, but he’s determined to do what must be done to care for his niece. He moves with Holly into his brother Sam’s rambling old house at Rainshadow Vineyard on San Juan Island, in Washington State’s Puget Sound, and struggles to be the best parent he can be.
Six months later, Mark suspects he’s failing abysmally at substitute-parenthood. Holly hasn’t spoken since her mother’s death and neither he, his brothers, nor the professionals he’s consulted has been able to coax a word out of her. But one afternoon, he and the little girl walk into a toy shop in Friday Harbor and the owner, Maggie Collins, quietly charms Holly into speech. Mark is stunned, overjoyed—even if he’s not sure Maggie is wise to encourage his niece to believe in fairies. Nevertheless, he can’t deny he’s relieved beyond measure to hear Holly speak once more.
For her part, Maggie hasn’t felt the tug of attraction for a man since her husband died. She doesn’t want to feel it now. But apparently, being drawn to Mark is not something she can simply deny. Besides, Holly and her three bachelor uncles clearly need help and Maggie’s heart won’t let her turn away from them.
Nevertheless, the path to happiness isn’t smooth. Toss in a girlfriend who wants Mark to take their relationship to the next level, Maggie’s rescued dog Renfield who, in her own words, looks as if he ‘had a run-in with a weed whacker,’ together with tight-lipped brother Alex’s marriage on the rocks—and a happy resolution to the myriad intersecting situations is no sure thing.
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is filled with real human emotion and the heartfelt desire of four adults to fill an orphaned child’s Christmas with bright memories. The beautiful island setting at Puget Sound comes alive in the tale. Beloved fan favorite Lisa Kleypas is certain to charm her audience and gain even more devoted readers with this appealing novel.
Lois Faye Dyer writes from her home in Port Orchard, Washington.