An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer centres on the days leading up to the wedding of Felicia Gordon and Archie Galloway on the island of Nantucket. The couple had arranged for a Christmas wedding, thereby doubling the plans for two major events for everyone involved. The one who seems to take on too much is Felicia’s mother Jilly. She obsesses with details, wanting everything to be perfect as she tries to keep up with the Joneses on their small island.
Although a slight book of 209 pages, its pages were densely packed with text, much of it dialogue. I was pleased to find the conversations flowed so realistically, with none of those contrived made-for-TV interactions that no one would ever say in real life.
As if planning a wedding and Christmas weren’t enough, Jilly adopts a mature feral cat over the holidays. Rex is rambunctious and has a tendency to knock over Christmas ornaments and ruin the decor, but in spite of this he has a calming effect over Jilly and his presence allows her to relax.
Thayer introduces a weak subplot where Jilly tries to thwart the wedding by rekindling the romance between Felicia and her high school prom date, who just by chance has moved in next door. This is a mother who is more concerned about her own reputation based on the choice of her daughter’s husband, and she is plotting to drive Felicia and Archie apart up to a couple days before the wedding–and Christmas. I suppose she wants to ruin the holidays for everybody. The plotting and scheming side of Jilly was wholly unbelievable, as was her fantasy son-in-law.
I enjoyed this novel more than A Nantucket Christmas by the same author, which I read last year. I felt the Nantucket vibe was more intense in An Island Christmas. As Thayer lives on the island she knows what she is writing about.