From the publisher:
From Mary Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.
When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love―but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit―beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?
Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
As readers of this blog know, I love Mary Kay Andrews, and I was so excited to see she has written a holiday romance! It has her all of her trademark humor, love of kitsch and everything vintage, and terrific characters I wanted to hang out with.
Ivy’s been divorced for just about a year. Her ex-husband really hurt her and made her distrustful. She not only lost her husband, but she also lost her house (she got paid for her half) and her very successful business (again she got paid for her half.) She decides she wants to make a drastic change in her life and finds this old farmhouse called the Four Roses for sale online. She buys it sight unseen.
When she arrives, her real estate agent is there to meet her with the key. He tries to tell her more about the house and its sticking front door lock, for instance, but she brushes him off. Until she can’t get in and has to call him back. Ezra is not the old man Ivy assumed him to be from his name. Instead, he is about her age, young and good looking. Which makes her nervous.
The big surprise of the house isn’t how ramshackle it is, that she expected more or less. But the fact that the family left everything behind. The owners had died years earlier, and their son didn’t want any of it. Cleaning out the house was going to be a huge project.
The Four Roses was known in town as the place to go to look at all the Christmas lights. All of that was left behind as well, including the beautiful Santa suit the owner wore every year. And in the pocket was a note from a little girl, Carlette, asking Santa to bring her daddy back from Vietnam. Ivy is intrigued and asks the one friend she’s made in town if she knew anything about it. Turns out she did, her mom was best friends with their across the street neighbor, Carlette. The dad didn’t make it, and Carlette and her mom moved away.
Meanwhile, Ezra is slowly wearing down her defenses. He’s just incredibly helpful and she finally agrees to go out with him. Ivy meets the old man who is living in Carlette’s old house and more of the mystery is solved. But it’s at the town’s Christmas Stroll that everything comes together, all tied up with a bow you might say, but with some surprises at the end.
If you are looking for a way to get in the holiday mood, this is a great start. It’s a novella, so pretty short and fast reading (I wish it were longer!) It’s heart warming, sweet, and fun – all the good stuff I look for in a Christmas book. Happy holidays!
9/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE SANTA SUIT by Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s Press (September 28, 2021). ISBN: 978-1250279316. 220 pages.