The synopsis on the back of the book:
The Christmas season brings the promise of new beginnings in this next novel by the New York Times bestselling author of the Angel Island series.
Before Christmas comes....
Martin Nightingale was no stranger to Cape Light. He spent many happy summers there as a boy. Now, he's returned to fulfill the unusual terms of his grandfather's will. In order to collect his inheritance, Martin must spread joy throughout the town with anonymous gifts. A shy man who doesn't make friends easily, Martin is stumped by the role of Secret Santa. But a pretty police officer, Louisa Tully shows him that, "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet."
One Christmas, long ago...
Martin's grandfather, Walter was a toy-making genius, but a terrible businessman. The Christmas of 1955 seemed the last for Nightingale's Magical Toy Shop. Until miracles arrived, along with a stray dog named, Otis. But, as Martin discovers, his grandfather's greatest legacy is a priceless lesson about giving from the heart.
Genre: Christmas Fiction/Christian Fiction
Publisher: Berkley Books
Goodreads Rating: 4.63 stars
What I Chose This Book
I first saw this book on Christainbook.com and was first attracted to the cover because Thomas Kinkade is my favorite painter. However, I was also attracted to the story line so I had to pick it up!
First Initial Thoughts
This is a dual time period story. One part of the story is set in modern times and the other story is set in 1955.
Martin Nightingale’s Grandfather recently passed away. In his will he has instructed that in order for Martin to receive his portion of the inheritance he must donate 120,000 to people in need by Christmas. And it all must be donated anonymously. Marin first just wants to get it over with and not trouble himself with getting involved in getting to know everyone in town. However, after a talk with the reverend at the local church he receives some advice that his Grandfather wanted his choices to be thoughtful and not easy. And then he meets Louisa and is tempted to stay for just a little while longer.
Louisa is a local police officer and is recovering from a breakup earlier in the year. I found it cute how they first met. I also liked that Martin told Louisa what he was up to - even though he was to keep it secret. I found that this was the first step in trusting each other. Louisa also wanted to help him- and it was beneficial since she knew everyone in town.
The other story in this book is set back in 1955 and involves Martin’s Grandparents, Walter and Francis. Walter is an owner of a toy shop that is quite popular with the locals. However, their business is struggling and he is behind on mortgage payments for the store. He is devastated and does not know what to do! Luckily the bank gives him an extension but he must find a way to pay half of what is owed by Christmas.
Cape Light just sounds like that small town that is both equally charming and beautiful. I love a good Christmas story set in a small town. Just something about it is heartwarming. And I also think it reminds you of the true meaning of Christmas in a way.
Marin and Louisa was so adorable. I thought they fit each other well. Louisa helped Martin deliver the anonymous packages. I also really liked how Martin found out who to donate gifts/money to. I think this helped Martin open up and trust others. He was a little shy and reserved in the beginning. With that, he learned the true meaning of Christmas - to give and love others even if they are strangers.
Out of the two stories I think I enjoyed Walter’s the most. In the beginning he was kind of a bad business man (in a financial way). Not that it was intentional. I found that I most related to him in that way. He cared so much about being kind and giving to others - he kind of forgot that he also had a business to run. But he also had to learn to trust in God. He had to trust that God had a plan for him and Francis. Even though at the time it was hard to do so.
I really enjoyed this story. It was such a sweet story and the ending was not what I expected. I won’t spoil much more than that! ;)
I also think this would make a wonderful Hallmark movie! The storyline fits perfectly with their Christmas movies.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! If you love heartwarming Christmas stories, you don’t want to pass this one up!
Are you also a fan of Thomas Kinkade? If so, what’s your favorite painting of his?