Vera Sterling is a journalist who lives in Boston. Just before returning to the shoreline town of Addison, Connecticut for her sister Brooke’s wedding, she is passed over for promotion and instead is pink-slipped. With the upcoming wedding Vera has little to no time to worry about her own circumstances and her return to her charming hometown buoys her spirits. At the reception she finally has time to think about herself and what she needs and wants. With the festivities over she pushes back the thought of leaving Addison with its comforting people and ways. On her way out of town she passes an old house whose large barn at one time served as the areas Christmas Barn – a welcoming beacon of holiday cheer that was open all year long. She stops before the abandoned property and allows herself to drift back to memories of when she was a young girl and would come here with her mother. Vera feels such a strong bond not only with Addison but with this house that she makes a split-second decision. She buys the house and moves in but is dismayed at the problems inherent with all old houses: leaking windows, squeaking floors, sagging doors, broken furnace, a much-neglected widow’s walk, etc.
Her house problems are solved when she meets Derek Cooper, a handyman whose family owns the local hardware store. He is a quiet, introspective man who isn’t at all social. Through her sister Vera learns that it was almost five years earlier when Derek young daughter died in the cove right outside her barn door. The youngster and her friends were trying the ice to see if it was thick enough for skating. Unfortunately, the ultimate tragedy occurred and Derek lost not only his child but his wife who left him in the aftermath.
As a tribute to the young girl’s passing each year the town comes together for the Deck the Boats Festival at the cove. This year being the fifth since her passing, Derek is determined to make the festival the best it can be. But when a blizzard descends on the day of the festival, having been forecast by Vera’s father who is the local meteorologist, most of the town’s residents become stranded near the cove. And Derek is beyond consolation. Can Vera make her own wishes of loving Derek come true? And why is she the only one who can bring the town together during the blizzard?
I loved this story. It is a story of dealing with grief and new beginnings. It is a story of dreams come true. And it is also the story of a small shoreline town in Connecticut that is the embodiment of the Christmas villages so many of us set out each year. In this case, however, the town of Addison does exist albeit by a different name. This reader/reviewer grew up along the Connecticut shoreline and I can attest that this town really does exist. From its charming Green to its quaint boutique-like stores and its down-home folksy residents, I love this town. Ms. DeMaio has captured it to perfection and set it out for the world to see and visit. When she sets the story here against the backdrop of a snowy night we are reminded once again of the magic of that first winter snowfall and of the wishes we all make.
A solid five stars for this shining star in Ms. DeMaio’s wintry sky.
Rating 5 stars