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A Nantucket Christmas: A Novel

A Nantucket Christmas: A Novel

3.6 21
by Nancy Thayer
     
 

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Known for her heartwarming observations of family life, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer showcases her beloved Nantucket’s snowy off-season in this emotionally gratifying and utterly entertaining story.
 
Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, and the season’s wonderful traditions are much

Overview

Known for her heartwarming observations of family life, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer showcases her beloved Nantucket’s snowy off-season in this emotionally gratifying and utterly entertaining story.
 
Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, and the season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie.
 
But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arm’s length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.
 
Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.
 
Praise for Nancy Thayer

A Nantucket Christmas

“Thayer’s Christmas story is as sweet and warm as a fresh-baked cookie. . . . heart-twisting moments and a yuletide miracle will get readers in the holiday mood.”RT Book Reviews
 
“Thayer gives readers of women’s fiction another enjoyable foray to Nantucket.”Library Journal
 
Moon Shell Beach
 
“Nancy Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide.”New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand
 
“A beautifully textured story about love, friendship, and forgiveness, a great beach read. It will make you want to pack your bags for Nantucket.”New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah
 
Beachcombers
 
“Thayer’s sense of place is powerful, and her words are hung together the way my grandmother used to tat lace.”—Dorothea Benton Frank
 
“A charming and fun summer read . . . Readers will love this story of family and love.”—The Plain Dealer
 
Summer Breeze
 
“Nancy Thayer is the queen of beach books. . . . All [these characters] are involved in life-changing choices, with all the heart-wrenching decisions such moments demand.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“An entertaining and lively read that is perfect for summer reading indulgence.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
10/15/2013
Recently retired and newly remarried, Nicole Somerset anticipates a magical Christmas with her husband on the island of Nantucket—until she learns that her self-centered and very pregnant stepdaughter, Kennedy, will be spending the week with them, bringing her husband and young son along. Nicole does her best to welcome them, but Kennedy is determined to sabotage the new marriage and has a plan for reuniting her divorced parents. However, a stray dog and some unexpected events might just change Kennedy's plans in time for a joyful Christmas after all. VERDICT Thayer (Island Girls) gives readers of women's fiction another enjoyable foray to Nantucket.
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR NANCY THAYER
 
Moon Shell Beach
 
“Nancy Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide.”—New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand
 
“A beautifully textured story about love, friendship, and forgiveness, a great beach read. It will make you want to pack your bags for Nantucket.”—New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah
 
Beachcombers
 
“Thayer’s sense of place is powerful, and her words are hung together the way my grandmother used to tat lace.”—Dorothea Benton Frank
 
“A charming and fun summer read . . . Readers will love this story of family and love.”—The Plain Dealer
 
Summer Breeze
 
“Nancy Thayer is the queen of beach books. . . . All [these characters] are involved in life-changing choices, with all the heart-wrenching decisions such moments demand.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“An entertaining and lively read that is perfect for summer reading indulgence.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345545466
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/29/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
65,833
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

On Nantucket, the Christmas season is different.

Really.

The island, fifty-two square miles of flat sandy land, lies in windswept isolation almost thirty miles away from the continent and all its institutions and entertainments. In the summer, the sun shines down on golden beaches and a serene blue sea. In the winter, gale force winds lash and howl over the ocean, cutting its residents off from family, friends, and often fresh bread and milk as Nantucket Sound freezes over and no planes fly, no boats sail, to or from the island. When the sun sets early and rises late, deep black water surrounds the land in infinite darkness.

Then Nantucket comes truly alive. Islanders have the leisure to savor the Charles Dickens charm gleaming from the glistening cobblestone streets and historic brick buildings. They relish the coziness of the small town where they know everyone, and everyone’s dog. After a hectic summer, they enjoy the tranquil pace. They take time to stop, look, listen, pat the dog, tickle a baby’s chin, chat, and laugh. They attend Christmas pageants, holiday fairs, and all manner of cabarets. The town lines the central streets of the village with dozens of small evergreens twinkling with multicolored lights and weatherproof decorations. The islanders pause to gaze up at the forty-foot spruce blazing at the top of Main Street, and they nod in appreciation and gratitude.

They celebrate light, life, and laughter as the winter dark wildness descends.

The Christmas Stroll began as an occasion for merchants to welcome islanders into their shops for hot buttered rum, spiced apple cider, warm gossip, and good cheer. Store windows were artistically decorated with mermaids and Santas, seahorses and fairy-tale scenes. Mr. and Mrs. Santa arrived on a Coast Guard boat and were delivered to the Jared Coffin House by horse and buggy. The aroma of fresh fish chowder and island-brewed beer wafted enticingly from the restaurants. The town crier strode through the streets in tall hat and cape, and Victorian carolers enchanted the salt air with song.

Not surprisingly, and oddly around the same time the one-hour fast ferries started their rounds, news of Nantucket’s Christmas Stroll spread to off-island friends and relatives of the townspeople. One sparkling winter day, a Boston television station sent a reporter and cameraman. After that, the annual event was famous.

For children, it was magic. For adults, it was a chance to be childlike.

For Nicole Somerset, the Nantucket Christmas Stroll was close to miraculous.


Four years ago, Nicole was a widow. Her friend Jilly insisted that Nicole travel down from Boston for the weekend to enjoy the Stroll. Nicole came, and fell in love with the charming small town, its festively bedecked windows, its fresh salt air and chiming church bells. She fell in love with a man, as well.

She met Sebastian Somerset at a party. They liked each other a lot, rather quickly, if not immediately, but being older, and possibly wiser, they took time getting to know each other. Nicole was widowed and childless. Sebastian was divorced, with a grown daughter.

Nicole was a nurse. She had just retired at fifty-five, but she missed her patients and colleagues. She missed her work, too. She liked to keep busy. Sebastian, sixty-two, had worked for a Boston law firm. He had also just retired, realizing he’d spent too much of his life working. He wanted to enjoy life.

Slowly, cautiously, they began to date, discovering that together they enjoyed life a great deal. Sebastian owned a house on the island, and as the days, weeks, and then months went by, he introduced Nicole to the pleasures the island offered—swimming, sailing, and tennis. In turn, Nicole introduced Sebastian to the delights his first wife had disdained: homemade pie, eaten while watching large-screen television; walking rather than biking through the island moors; stopping to notice the birds and wildflowers rather than jogging to keep his heart rate up; or watching the sun set on the beach rather than attending a cocktail party.

Sebastian’s first wife, Katya, was a perfectionist who had kept him on a tight leash and a rigid routine. After a few months of relaxed satisfaction with Nicole, Sebastian worried he would gain weight and develop heart trouble. To his surprise, he gained no weight, and his blood pressure actually dropped. When he asked his doctor about this at his annual check-up, Maury Molson leaned back in his chair and shrewdly raised his hairy eyebrows.

“Sebastian, you’ve been going through life as if everything is a competition. During this past year, you’ve stopped to smell the roses, and it’s been the best thing you could do for your health.”

Sebastian chortled in surprise. “I’m shocked.”

“Me, too,” Maury told him. “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you laugh like that before. And it’s true, happiness is the best medicine.”

When Sebastian told Nicole about this, she beamed and responded, “You make me happy, too. Although I haven’t had my blood pressure checked.”

“I wish we could live together for the rest of our lives,” Sebastian allowed, looking worried.

“Darling, why can’t we?”

Sebastian had furrowed his brow. “I think you should meet my daughter before we go any further.”

Sebastian and Katya had a daughter, Kennedy, who was, Sebastian uneasily confessed, emotionally complicated. A carbon copy of her blond, beautiful mother, Kennedy tried to emulate Katya, meaning that she tried to be perfect, still not understanding, after all the years of living with her, that it was so much easier for a woman to be perfect when she focused only on herself.

Because Katya had been a kind but cool mother, Sebastian had, he admitted, cossetted, pampered, and perhaps even spoiled Kennedy a bit. Okay, perhaps a lot. Now married to a perpetually flustered stockbroker named James, Kennedy found herself overwhelmed herself by the responsibilities of grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and caring for their son Maddox.

Kennedy was further dismayed by her parents’ divorce.

Katya had been thoughtful enough to wait until Kennedy’s wedding five years ago to leave Sebastian for her tennis coach, Alonzo. Kennedy couldn’t understand why her father, who could always do anything and everything, couldn’t win Katya back. When Sebastian had admitted to Kennedy that he didn’t want Katya back, that he was more contented without her, Kennedy had dissolved into a weeping fit and said she never wanted to see her father again.

Kennedy changed her mind when her baby boy was born. She didn’t want her son to grow up without his grandparents, even if they were no longer married. For the past four years, Sebastian’s relationship with his daughter had been close and comfortable. Kennedy had even accepted Alonzo’s presence in her mother’s life, although she told her father it broke her heart every time she saw Katya with that other man.

So naturally, Sebastian worried about telling Kennedy about Nicole.

Sebastian paced the living room of Nicole’s Boston apartment as he strategized the first meeting. “I’ve told Kennedy I’ve been seeing someone. I’m going to tell her I want to bring you to dinner, to meet her. That should indicate that I’m serious about you.”

Nicole had no advice to give. She had not been able to have children. All her nurturing instincts had gone into her nursing profession. She thought Kennedy sounded like a difficult personality, but how bad could she be?

“Tell Kennedy I’d like to bring dessert,” Nicole offered.

“Why would you do that?” Sebastian looked genuinely puzzled.

“It’s a nice thing to do,” Nicole explained gently. She’d begun to see that in Sebastian’s former social-climbing world, niceness had no place. His life with Katya had been all about ambition. “It will save her from cooking something.”

Sebastian thought this over. “I see.”

When she stepped into Kennedy’s home, it was Nicole who saw, and her heart plummeted for the man she’d come to love and for his daughter. Clearly Kennedy had copied her mother’s style of décor, best described as “Glacial Chic.” Walls, furniture, floors, even wall art, were white. The living room coffee table was glass with sharp edges. The dining room chairs and tablecloth were black; the plates white. It was a hot summer evening when she first entered Kennedy’s home, and Nicole wished she’d brought a pashmina to ward off the chill.

Kennedy, blond and wire-hanger thin, wore a white sleeveless dress. Her husband, James, wore a starched white button-down shirt with khakis. Only little Maddox, chubby in his navy blue and white sailor outfit, provided a dash of color.

Everyone shook hands politely, and then Nicole sank to her knees in front of Maddox.

“Hi, Maddox. I’ve brought you a present.” She held out a brightly colored gift bag. She’d spent hours considering what to bring for the child, knowing as she did all the restrictions his mother placed on his life. Maddox was two then, much too young, Kennedy insisted, to watch any television. Also, he could not have any candy or anything sweet. Also, he was not to have anything “technological”—no remote-controlled cars or dump trucks, no handheld video games.

Wanting to get him something special, Nicole had bought him a silly-faced, shaggy-haired white goat which, when a button was pushed, burst into “High on a hill was a lonely goatherd” and continued singing through the entire song, wagging its head and batting its long black eyelashes.

Maddox clapped his hands and giggled when he saw it. Kennedy opened her mouth to object, but after a moment could think of no objection, and managed to say, “Tell Nicole thank you, Maddox.”

“Thank you,” Maddox said.

Nicole beamed as she rose to her feet. She had passed the first test. Proudly, she wrapped her arm through Sebastian’s arm, giving it a quick smug hug.

“Love-dovey—ick!” Maddox giggled.

Nicole started to pull her arm away.

But Sebastian laughed and with his other arm reached out and pulled his daughter next to him. “Maddox, I like hugs from my women.”

Nicole watched emotions flicker over Kennedy’s lovely face: surprise at her father’s unusual spontaneity; joy at being hugged by her father; consternation at being hugged when her father was with Nicole.

Dinner was a complicated casserole with a French name and a salad of puzzling gourmet lettuce called frisée that felt like sharp bitter hair in Nicole’s mouth. Still, she appreciated the trouble Kennedy had gone to.

“This meat is so tender,” Nicole complimented Kennedy.

Kennedy actually blushed. “Thank you. It’s daub au poivre. The meat is marinated with wine and all sorts of herbs. I had to find lard for the recipe. Lard. Who uses lard anymore? But I wanted to make it authentic . . .”

She’s nervous, Nicole realized, as Kennedy babbled on. Not nervous about Nicole, but about the excellence of her cooking. Kennedy’s eyes flitted to her father as she spoke, waiting for him to praise her. Nicole kicked Sebastian in the ankle until he spoke up.

“It’s delicious, Kennedy. Never tasted anything better.”

Nicole could see Kennedy’s shoulders actually relax, dropping a few inches away from her ears. A tender spot blossomed in her heart for the young woman.

But when time came for dessert, Kennedy refused to taste Nicole’s deep-dish apple pie.

Putting her hand on her waistline, Kennedy said, “I don’t eat desserts. We all know that sugar is bad for us. And I have to watch my weight, like mother does. I don’t want to get”—she glanced at Nicole’s rounder figure—“pudgy.”

Sebastian chuckled around a mouth of delicious pie. “We all gain weight as we grow older, darling.”

“Mother hasn’t,” Kennedy reminded him. “She’s got a gorgeous shape and a flat tummy.”

She probably doesn’t eat lard, Nicole wanted to say, but kept her mouth shut.

And that, as far as Nicole was concerned, summed up her relationship with Kennedy. One step forward, one step back.


Nicole and Sebastian married. The January ceremony was attended by only a few intimate friends since they assumed Kennedy would refuse to attend. Katya was blissfully redecorating her Boston townhouse and continuing to see Alonzo. Kennedy’s husband, James, was doing well with his work, and Maddox was growing out of the toddler stage, becoming more manageable. A delicate harmony existed in Sebastian’s inner circle; Nicole and Sebastian did not want to disrupt the peace.

Nicole sold her small apartment and moved to Sebastian’s Nantucket house to live year-round. She made friends, loved the small town, and began to anticipate the holiday season.

This year Katya and Alonzo were going to a tennis and cleansing spa. That meant that Kennedy, James, and Maddox were coming to the island for Christmas week.

The entire seven-day-long Christmas week.

2

Why did his parents need another baby? Maddox wondered about this constantly. It was going to be a boy, too, his mommy had told him. Wasn’t Maddox a good enough boy for his parents?

He tried to be a good boy. He ate his vegetables, even though they sometimes made him gag. He strained desperately to comprehend the funny squiggles on the page every day when his mommy tried to teach him to read, and he had already mastered the art of using the potty. Most of the time.

But Maddox had seen babies. They couldn’t use the potty at all. So why did his parents want one?

“You’ll have someone to play with,” his mommy promised. But a kid couldn’t play with a baby. Babies couldn’t throw a ball. They couldn’t even lift their heads.

It was a puzzle.

He’d suggested many times that instead the family could get a dog. With all his heart, Maddox wanted a dog. He could throw a stick for a dog and play ball with a dog and cuddle in bed with a dog . . . although maybe not. Mommy said they would bring dirt and germs into the house.

Nicole had given Maddox had a stuffed goat and even though Mommy said Nicole was a hag, he loved the animal, which sang—until Mommy removed the battery. Maddox named him Yodel and held him when he went to bed at night, rubbing Yodel’s silky tongue between his thumb and finger. It helped him fall asleep.

He knew, of course, that a real goat wouldn’t have a satin tongue, and he wouldn’t be able to rub the tongue, anyway, that would get drool all over the bed. Anyway, he didn’t want a real goat, which was too big. He wanted a small dog, so he could put his arm around it and feel its furry warmth against his body. He would like that.

When he was little, his mommy had held him in her arms a lot. Now that she was all stuffed with the baby, holding Maddox was too hard for her. She didn’t have a lap to sit on anymore, and Maddox was always, she said, poking him with his elbows or knees. He tried to be careful, but now Mommy said she was getting breathless since the baby’s bum was pushing against her lungs.

Meet the Author

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Island Girls, Summer Breeze, Heat Wave, Beachcombers, Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, and The Hot Flash Club. She lives in Nantucket.

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A Nantucket Christmas: A Novel 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Bitten-By-Love-Reviews More than 1 year ago
Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice. Nantucket Christmas holidays are a site to see. Off season for tourists but not for the full time residents. Nicole is ready to celebrate the season and welcome her step daughter, Kennedy. All is not smooth sailing and there are a few surprises along the way. I thought the heartwarming family life way in which this is written is charming. Lots of lessons of bringing a family together no matter what the situation. Beautiful descriptions of the island decorated up and the traditions that have carried on for years. I liked the descriptions of walking around town and seeing all the little shops decorated for the holidays. Also the bond of the townspeople and how they help one another and survive tough times.
MaggieMay More than 1 year ago
The story begins kinda strange but when you continue reading you'll understand the story a lot better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one was awful! Boring and weird and I couldn't even finish it. I wish I hadn't bought it!
annieNC More than 1 year ago
A very good book. ALways enjoy Nancy Thayer books. WOuld recommend to anyone who likes a good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jahJH More than 1 year ago
I read most of her bools and they were great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Nicole is the main character and the most outsider of the group, she married into this crazy dysfunctional family and this is her first Christmas in their mix.  She takes quite the emotional beating while still keeping a game face on - I was extremely proud of the abuse she took, I couldn't have done it!   Nicole mostly deals with a grown step daughter who even as an adult with parents that have been separated for awhile dreams of her family reuniting.  I found her to be the most frustrating and each time she spoke, I cringed. 
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this quick evening read. I read a lot and was able to figure out how the story might end, but there were definitely some surprises. Unfortunately, there is a side story to this, and it begins with the prologue. The taking of a cute puppy, loving, feeding, cuddling it. Then when it is a few months old, and a gangly teenager, abandon it. So begins this story, a poor soul who waits on the side of the road for his family to return to him. Breaks my heart at the cruelty. Nicole has married a man with a grown daughter, Kennedy, she has a precocious three year old, Maddox, who will wrap you up with warmth. Now even though, Kennedy's Mom left her Dad, and has been in a relationship with another man, and her Dad has now remarried. She secretly hopes to bring her parents back together. She has gone so far as to try and sabotage the beautiful Christmas, that Nicole has prepared. Sebastian is blissfully happy in his new marriage to Nicole, but Kennedy can't see beyond her own wants. Loved their Father and Daughter outing!!! Don't miss this sweet holiday read, I'm glad I found it, and really enjoyed it! I received this book from the Publisher Ballantine Books, and was not required to give a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not one of the authors best novels slightly on the boring side.
TheReadersCove More than 1 year ago
Struggles in the heart… Marriage in the autumn years of life can have challenges… like a daughter, grandchild and ex-wife to complicate your world. Nicole and Sebastian met in their retirement years and fell quickly in love, each finding a missing piece of joy. Their new life together was sweet and blissful… for awhile. But when Sebastian’s daughter Kennedy, husband and son come to visit, Nichole is shaken by Kennedy’s cold treatment and open disdain. Christmastime, Nicole hopes, will bring the family closer together. Making their home shine with holiday delights for all who enter in… or so it is until a series of events steals her joy. Will Sebastian and Nicole find balance or will the burdens divide their hearts? Well developed and interesting characters, imaginative storyline, a delightful holiday read!
PaulaAnnP More than 1 year ago
Once again Nancy Thayer captures our heart in a beautifully written Christmas story. Her characters always come to life and feel like life long friends. You can picture yourself in the midst if the of the holidays on Nantucket Island.
bookerCCJ More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas story. Very typical situation involoving family acceptance and change with a heartwarming sweet story of a little boy and an abandoned puppy. A must read.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
A Nantucket Christmas was a beautiful light short Christmas holiday story, which captures the reader from the cover to the ending. The cover itself is what we all dream about when we think of Christmas with the snow lined streets and quaint lit shops-- Kind of reminds you of Richard Paul Evans Christmas books, he is so famous for. Nancy Thayer is an excellent author and one of my favorites, as have read all her books, and she does not disappoint. I purchased from audible as had so many other books to read on e-book so thought this would be nice while jogging and running errands. I had to finish it in one day as could not wait for the ending. The story begins with a dog from his perspective (haven’t we all always wondered what goes on in the minds of our dogs)? Mixed together with a little boy named Maddox, a spoiled rich girl-Kennedy, her selfish mother, and her father Sebastian who is now married to Nicole. Of course, Kennedy dislikes Nichole (as she is not as glamorous and more down to earth), and she continues to compare the rich glamorous mother to her plain but nice stepmother, who cooks and helps everyone. She is set to make her life miserable when Nicole hosts the family Christmas at Kennedy’s former family home on Nantucket. Kennedy is so rude to Nichole and sits around while Nichole waits on her and the mind games begin. She is also pregnant and milks it to the maximum with her poor me and daddy buy me this-wishing her mom and dad would get back together. The one salvation is the adorable Maddox (Kennedy’s son) and his only wish is a dog. Of course his mother and rich grandmother (who is off with a younger man in Switzerland) would not dream of such a thing. However, since this is now Nichole’s home, she will allow a dog. When the ex-wife (Kennedy’s mother) has a breakup with her younger lover, shows up unannounced at the home of Nichole/Sebastian and now poor Nichole has two women to contend with – the heat turns up! Things turn for Nichole when Kennedy goes into labor, and Nichole being a nurse is there to take charge and Maddox goes missing with his favorite new friend (the dog Pooch) – and the two men go in search of him – Nichole is left with the ungrateful daughter and rude ex-wife. When this happens everything changes – for a holiday miracle! Highly recommend for a feel good holiday story of how a dysfunctional family can be saved!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story about a pup with no home and a blended family that finds their reason to get along at this festive time of year. The heroine Nancy is a warm, giving and generous person who has married a divorced attorney, Sebastian, who was once married to the ice queen, the perfect but icy first wife who left him. If you have visited Nantucket , you will recognize the restaurants, the stores and the unique charm that is what people love about this place. Settle in for a nice read by the fire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I was so captivated by what would happen to Snix/Pooh that I couldn't put the book down. A great dog lover story with a touch of Christmas warmth.
Griperang72 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much that it is hard to put it into words. It is a heartwarming story that pulls you in from page one and does not let you go even after you are done. This is the fist Christmas book I have read this year and the first by Nancy and I have to say it puts you in a good mood and makes me want to find more books by her. The only part of the book that I did not like was the story line with Snix/Pooh, but I totally understand why it had to be told in the way it was, it just really pulled at my heart strings but I will not say anything else about it as I don't want to give anything away. Nicole and little Maddox were my two favorite characters in the entire book. Nicole was such a nice person you can't help but like her and little Maddox was just the cutest thing. Kennedy on the other had was a character I could not stand but the story would not have been right without her. I encourage you to pick this book up and read it this holiday season. 
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
A Nantucket Christmas takes place, as you can guess, on Nantucket Island.  Retired nurse Nicole and her new husband, Sebastian are two people who met later in life and fell in love.  Their Christmas plans include a visit from Sebastian's adult daughter, Kennedy, her husband, and their three-year old son Maddox.  To call Kennedy and adult, though, is using the term loosely.  Kennedy is spoiled, rich, self-centered, and, to top it all off, 8 months pregnant.  You can probably guess that combination is not one that bodes well for a festive, fun Christmas, especially since Kennedy views her step-mother as an interloper.   Thus the stage is set for this "slice of life" story about the forging of new family bonds.   The biggest problem with "slice of life" stories is that they can be both lacking in conflict and somewhat formulaic. Especially in one that has only 145 pages.   In the case of this story, though, there was plenty of conflict to go around between  Kennedy and her step-mother and Sebastian and his ex-wife too name a few. And while the story was a bit formulaic, I felt the writing was good enough to overcome that aspect.  Besides, most of the reason we read these stories is because we know where they are going and we like where that is, right?  In addition, this book was filled with interesting characters.  First and foremost, there was Kennedy.  Some may say that no adult woman, especially one with a child, could be so self involved.  To me that was the fun of her character.  I could safely dislike her, roll my eyes at her when she was at her worst, and yet, I could also sympathize with her a bit.  Nicole was also a great character and I loved the way that the author used her to highlight both the stress inherent in the season, and the stress inherent in the situation.  I also liked Maddox and particularly enjoyed his three-year-old antics.  Perhaps my favorite, though, was Snix/Pooh, the dog.  While by no means a major character, I enjoyed reading about his life and seeing things through his eyes.    Since so many of the Christmas stories out there center around romances (which I enjoy), I found the focus on the family in this book to be a welcome change.  In addition, at just 145 pages it was a quick read and I would recommend it for those of us who like the holiday story genre.  
Sailon More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet story of a nontraditional family dynamic working out their issues and celebrating a Nantucket Christmas. With multiple point of views, including an abandon puppy and a young child, you get many perspectives on this holiday storyline. Thayer's attention to the holiday details makes you taste the chocolate chip cookies and feel the warmth of holding the mug of the homemade hot chocolate. Nantucket Christmas is a touching read to sit by the crackling fire and enjoy. I received this ARC copy of A Nantucket Christmas from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for a honest review. This book is set to publish October 29, 2013. Written by: Nancy Thayer Page Count: 224 Publisher: Ballantine Books  Publication Date: October 29, 2013 ISBN-10: 0345545354 ISBN-13: 978-0345545350 Rating: 3 Stars Genre: Contemporary Fiction
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer The island is decked out with Christmas attire and the day of the Stroll has begun. Santa and Mrs. Claus have arrived on the island via the Coast Guard and the kids will climb onto Santa's lap and tell them of their wishes. Nicole has married Sebastian and his married daughter Kennedy and her husband, James and child Maddox will spend the Christmas holiday on the island with them. Nicole has helped the Stroll by baking cookies and her best friend Jilly has hot chocolate to accompany the cookies-at the library. Snix is a lonely dog that the summer people left on the island when they left at the end of summer. The dog has wandered around trying to fit in and be able to feed himself. Nicole strives to outdo Seb's first wife by decorating: tree, garland, ornaments, etc. His first wife Katya never liked to clean the pine needles, nor ever wants to gain weight. Maddox this year wants a dog, but his mother is having a new baby boy and he won't be able to play with them right away as they will be too small. Kennedy just wanted her mother and father to get back together and demanded they both be at the birth of the new child... The unthinkable happens when a huge storm hits the island and Kayta shows up to spend the holidays with them... I received this book from Net Galley via Random House Publishing Group Ballantine Books in exchange for my honest review.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's the novella style of this Christmas tale, but I found myself a bit disconnected with the humans in the story, while the dog's story absolutely tugged at my heart. And I kind of felt like Kennedy was a little old to be doing a Parent Trap style wish. And with the story being short, it's easy to see where this nice holiday read is headed. This is all tempered by the beautiful descriptions of Nantucket in the winter and their holiday traditions. Nicole (and all her holiday sweaters) do make a lot of the festivities come alive.