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Friday, April 8, 2011

REVIEW: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

5 of 5 Stars - Read November 2010

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, for me, was like…

A homemade chocolate chip cookie accompanied by a cup of mocha with the right blend of roasted coffee and warm, smooth chocolate. All this, enjoyed sitting looking out at the harbour, with the sea breeze on my face, and the fresh scents of the air after a rain. I see a beautiful rainbow against the blue sky, and spy the dark storm clouds, which had just passed by, away in the distance. I feel the warmth of the sunshine against my face, the brightness of the light causing my eyes to glisten. There is a huge smile on my face and I sigh because of the beauty in the “now”, in the precious simple moments of life.

That was how this book made me feel. Or in other words: “Awwww…..” *sighs* ^_^ This book really touched me and gave me the "warm fuzzies".

Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington

To put it simply, this is a story about loss, grief, change, hope, commitment, family and love.

I finished this book in the wee hours of the morning, with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face, as I drifted to sleep. Lisa Kleypas is one of my favourite authors. Her writing always paints such vivid pictures in my mind and her characters burrow themselves into my heart.

While, like other Lisa Kleypas fans, I wish this was a full length novel, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is a sweet and romantic PG-rated holiday novella. The ingredients of this sweet story are: A cute little girl named Holly, who asks Santa for a “mom”; Holly’s guardian uncle, Mark Nolan, the owner of a small coffee-roasting business, trying to be a parent deserving of Holly; two other uncles, Sam and Alex Nolan, drawn together to be there for this little girl; Maggie, a young widow who owns a toy store; the setting of the beautiful San Juan Islands; and the magic of imagination and love.

I loved this for the hope-and-magic-filled holiday novella that it was, and for that reason, it was a 5-Star read, for me. Of course, novellas are never as good as full-length novels, since I always want more - especially more Lisa Kleypas! I look forward to the full-length novels of the Friday Harbor series: Rainshadow Road (2012), Dream Lake (2012) and Crystal Cove (2013).

Favourite quotes: 

“And there were no rules for how to deal with the death of someone you loved. You had to accept that the loss would always stay with you, like a reminder note pinned to the inside of your jacket. But there were still opportunities for happiness. Even joy.”
“Staring down at the little girl, Mark experienced one of those moments when you had a sudden and intense awareness of who you had been not all that long ago, and discovered that you were now in a different place entirely.”
“For the first time in his life he knew what it felt like to have his heart broken… not broken in a sad or romantic sense, but broken open. He had never known this before, the desire to surround another human being with perfect happiness.”
"Something happened to you, they discovered, when you were given the unconditional love and trust of a child. You wanted to to try to deserve it."
(Maggie quoting Emily Dickinson):“Forever is composed of nows.” Maggie paused, her smile turning wistful at the edges. “You shouldn’t worry about forever … time runs out faster than you expect.”
“As they continued to talk, it somehow slipped into the bonelessly comfortable, unstructured conversation of longtime friends, both of them letting it go where it would.”

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