HOPE AT CHRISTMAS
by Nancy Naigle
Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, RayAnne, head for tiny Hopewell, North Carolina to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.
Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought-after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.
When catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.
It never hurt to start a plan with a few easy, achievable, or already done tasks to get things rolling. It’s why she usually had “make the bed” at the top of her chore list.
Waking up on Valentine’s Day to a chocolate heart next to her pillow wasn’t unusual, but the note with it had caught her completely off guard. A goodbye note. He’d found someone new, and he was sorry. Which she couldn’t have agreed with more.
I was married for twelve years, but apparently he was only married for ten of them.
Her jaw pulsed, and she didn’t utter a single word. If there’d been a thought bubble over her head he could imagine the punctuation flying around in there like shrapnel.
Let’s take it a day at a time. I have a feeling we will have spent months and years before we take the time to stop and count them.
Hope At Christmas was a slowly developing, sweet, wholesome, and easy to read family drama and contemporary romance featuring the divorcing mom with an indulged and huffy ten-year-old daughter. The writing was tame enough for the Hallmark channel and my elderly mother’s Sunday School Book Club, and sweet enough to cause dental concerns. The narrative featured hits of amusing banter, cute and endearing characters, common concerns and daily issues in a small-town society, charming and thoughtful touches and quite a bit of creative flair. I found the names of the businesses to be clever as there was a bike shop named Wheelies and a bakery named Cookie Doe. My favorite character was the kind and gentle Mac, despite his corny jokes and cheesy puns.
USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Nancy is the author of Christmas Joy.