If Christmas is coming there must be a Richard Paul Evans book as well. Having loved The Christmas Box, I couldn’t pass up the offer of an advance reading copy by Net Galley of The Noel Stranger.
The first few lines let me know there would not be disappointment. “I once heard someone describe her life as a car with four flat tires. I would be happy with that. If my life were a metaphorical car, it would be in much worse shape – wheels stolen, windshield smashed, and dirt poured into the gas tank.”
Maggie’s life exploded when she learned about her councilman husband Clive’s arrest for bigamy. Her friend Carina who runs Maggie’s catering business enables her to hide out from the publicity and nurse her wounds until the friend decides this has gone on too long and encourages her to reenter the world, even if in baby steps.
Maggie tentatively takes her advice and goes out to get a Christmas tree. Andrew, the kind lot owner, delivers her tree and so the story begins. Questions arise for the reader immediately. Is Maggie on the rebound and using good judgement as she falls so quickly for this man? Is Andrew as good as he appears? What about those weekend trips back to Denver – are they a repeat of Clive’s trips? Hints of a previous marriage and some kind of past trouble make the reader uneasy even while Maggie pays little attention.
Not to spoil the ending but the whole truth, when it does come out, leaves Maggie with some decisions to make about how much she can forgive. I haven’t yet found a book by the author that I love as much as The Christmas Box, but this is a good Christmastime read.