Prather’s Pick: Christmas novel in October
This week’s novel may seem out of place since we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet, but I found the book this last weekend, it looked interesting, and I brought it home. “It Started with Christmas” is one of three novels with a Christmas theme, written by Jenny Hale. Two of the novels have been adapted to television on the Hallmark Channel.
The book is a romance novel that I read rather quickly. The leading character is Holly McAdams. She lives in Nashville with Nana (her grandmother). Holly had dreamed of being a designer and had already started classes toward her career, but then Papa (her grandfather) died, and Nana needed a companion. So Holly quit classes and took a job as a waitress for a steak house. She moved in with Nana.
Papa and Nana had lived in a cabin on the outskirts of Nashville, in a charming neighborhood. Papa, a musician, had left Nana and Holly an inheritance, and directions in his will explained how he wanted the cabin remodeled so it could be rented out yea-around, providing income. Holly got the job of remodeling it, and the cabin has been rented out non-stop ever since.
Now it’s nearly Christmas and Nana makes a surprise announcement. She wants to spend Christmas at the cabin. It’s a surprise for Holly because Nana hasn’t been in the cabin in two years. So Holly and Nana pack up their gifts, take down the already-decorated tree, and head out on icy, snow-packed roads. The snowfall has been record-breaking, and some roads are closed, but Holly is able to get them to the cabin.
It is nearly midnight, and Holly and Nana start to get settled in, but imagine their surprise when they find a man in one of the bedrooms. It turns out that he is Joseph “Joe” Barnes, a wealthy businessman from New York. Joe has been renting the cabin and stayed on when the snow caused his flight to be cancelled. He had no idea anyone else would be there.
It turns out that Joe has been there planning a wedding for himself and fiancée Katherine, a big time lawyer. Holly thinks it is strange that a man should be planning a wedding, but eventually she gets the job. Meanwhile, Joe is there for Christmas.
The neighbors are charming. Barney has a tractor that he uses to give Holly and Joe a lift to the store where they get groceries. Otis has a big barn that he uses for a Christmas party, attended by family and friends.
Then Rhett Burton, a singer, shows up. He and Holly had a past — one that left her with a broken heart.
A special surprise for Nana involves a box that Holly and Joe find just before Christmas.
This feel-good book is a great read anytime of the year. The paperback is published by Forever, Hachette Book Group (2018). It costs $6.99.