A Nantucket Christmas

I took a break from the Christmas novels of Debbie Macomber and tried one by Nancy Thayer. I was attracted to A Nantucket Christmas since I had visited Nantucket in October of 2014. I was familiar with the layout of the island and the places she had mentioned, and I pictured myself with her characters walking the cobbled streets and visiting the Stop & Shop grocery. This story centres on 55-year-old Nicole, newly married to Sebastian, and their first Christmas together on Nantucket. Christmas plans are thwarted when Sebastian’s daughter Kennedy, who is eight months pregnant, and her family stay with her father and Nicole over the holidays. Kennedy never accepted her parents’ divorce and resented Nicole for marrying her father, which effectively ruined her schemes to reunite her parents.

Drama ensues when Katya, the ex-wife, unexpectedly turns up on a snowy Christmas Eve. Flouncing around the house as if she still lived there, she knew just how to press Nicole’s buttons. In spite of two women who openly despise her in her own house, Nicole holds her composure, although it is remarkable that Thayer held her to only one outburst.

Shortly after Katya’s arrival, Kennedy goes into labour and it is the woman that neither of them can tolerate who saves the day (and possibly two lives) for Nicole is a retired nurse with plenty of experience in aiding at childbirth.

Woven into this story is a tale of an abandoned puppy, who befriends Maddox, the four-year-old son of Kennedy. A Christmas story wouldn’t be complete without a young child finding and keeping a puppy.

I noticed early on that Thayer had the annoying habit of using italics to excess. For such a short novel–209 pages–I encountered superfluous useless words in italics, such as:

“Nicole folded her arms in the most satisfied way. Kennedy wanted to slap her.”

Just what effect do the italics give this passage?

The ending was entirely predictable. I could see it coming, so no spoiler here: Kennedy decided to name her daughter Nicole Katya Noel, poignant since she chose to name her after the (formerly) despised stepmother who delivered her, relegating her own mother to middle name honours.

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