A Town Called Christmas
A Town Called Christmas is a story that, with minor adjustments, could probably take place any time in the past sixty years. A jilted naval pilot visits the hometown of a friend over the holidays and falls for the friend’s pregnant sister. Sounds like something Hollywood would have produced in the 1940’s. The story has an old fashion quality that I found charming.
Michael Kavanaugh accepts an invitation to spend the holiday in his best friend Nicky’s hometown of Christmas, Michigan. Mike is not used to big family gatherings as his own family has not celebrated together since the death of his father. But Christmas with a friend’s family is better than spending the holiday in an impersonal hotel room. While shopping for a hostess gift, he meets a young woman named Merry, and finds himself attracted.
Meredith York, aka Merry, has returned to her hometown to take over the family business, a Christmas tree farm. Due to heart problems, her father can no longer take on as much work. Merry is also surrounded by family as she awaits the birth of her child – a one-more-time-for-old-times-sake-fling with her ex-boyfriend had unexpected consequences. Merry is determined to raise the child on her own, yet she is quite taken with Mike.
Despite knowing that they only have one week to be together, both Mike and Merry become closer. Uneasy about where their mutual attraction might be heading, they agree to stay in touch by writing each other. Chapter 13 contains the letters and emails they exchange, and I was reminded of a John Donne quote: “More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
Like Michael, I enjoyed the simple delights that make up a small town Christmas – snowball fights, chopping down a Christmas tree, the local parade (I wish I could have seen the snow-shovel drill team in person.) The Christmas Day festivities were very recognizable – the gathering of family and friends for a meal, the nosy relative who pries into your life and then the evening lull when everyone is gone. All that was missing was the Christmas cookie overload. I think that is what enjoyed the most about the book, the hominess of the characters and situation.
There were only two things I did not care for – one was the heroine’s pregnancy, which really was not necessary to the plot. That element could be written out of the story and not be missed, although I will admit that a pregnant woman does go with the whole Christmas theme. The other was her father’s angina attack close to Christmas – it seemed a little cliché and a tad melodramatic in an otherwise down to earth story.
I found the gentle pace of the book to in keeping with the characters and setting. If you like faster paced novels, you might find it too slow. However, if you need a break from the hectic days of the holiday season, I would suggest that you visit A Town Called Christmas.