St. Martin's, Jan 2004, 5.99, 352 pp.
Carol Foster left Los Angeles to relocate in Christmas, California after a visit to the town as she has never tasted the holiday even as a child. Former LAPD cop Jack Reilly grew up in Christmas and hated the year long gimmick of a town. Though retired from law enforcement after a tragedy, he has returned to serve as a temporary sheriff as a favor to his friend.
During her early morning run, Carol notices an infant abandoned by the town's year round Nativity Scene. She takes the baby with her and calls the law. Jack arrives and it is arranged for Carol to watch the child until the state can make arrangements. Meanwhile Jack rents a room from Carol so he can move out of his mother's home. As Carol lights up Jack's life, he still has doubts about relationships after the betrayal of his former spouse. However, he also worries as Carol has fallen in love with him and her little charge.
This is an upbeat inspirational contemporary romance starring a bah humbug hero and a Mary Poppins heroine. The story line is perfect for the post holiday season as the Yuletide spirit should continue even after Christmas has been celebrated. Fans of a moving tale will cherish this “It's a Wonderful Life” tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner