December 17

Book Review – A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

December 17, 2014

Known for her heartwarming observations of family life, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer showcases her beloved Nantucket’s snowy off-season in this emotionally gratifying and utterly entertaining story.

Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, from the jolly decorations on the Brant Point lighthouse to the much anticipated Christmas Stroll, in which merrymakers promenade through quaint streets adorned with Yuletide cheer. The season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie.

But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arms’ length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.

Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.

Let’s start with the positives:

1) I loved the setting of this book, and it totally makes me want to visit Nantucket at Christmas time (I do hope the local holiday traditions Thayer speaks of actually do exist!).

2) I was grateful that the character of Kennedy evolved as the story progressed (because I found any scene with the character to be highly annoying early on).

3) Your heart will be warmed by the rescue of an adorable dog (maybe that’s a touch of a spoiler, but really you can’t help but see that one coming in a holiday tale).

4) I enjoyed the holiday spirit that was infused throughout the story. Nicole’s preparations do get you in the mood for your own holiday season.

On the downside:

1)  The one female character (Nicole) who had the potential to be a strong lead weakens as the story progresses. All the female leads were portrayed in terms of negative characteristics (whiny, selfish, materialistic), while the male leads had numerous admirable qualities (appreciative, charismatic, handsome).

2) I didn’t love the chapters that were told from the perspective of either the dog or the 4 year old boy, Maddox. They simply did not fit quite as well with the rest of the story.

3) The story may be a bit predictable (but on the flip side, holiday stories should be).

Overall, this was a fair read. I think there are better holiday books out there. However, if you want to know a little more about Christmas on Nantucket, then give this one a shot.

What holiday books do you recommend?


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Posted December 17, 2014 by Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings in category "book review


  1. By Laurie C on

    I just posted a review of this recently! I felt about the same as you, although I didn’t notice the men/women thing until you pointed it out. The positives outweighed the negatives for me, for a Christmas story, I thought.

    1. By (Post author) on

      Thanks for posting Laurie! I found the end of the book far better than the middle, and it did leave me with a better impression by the end. The character of Kennedy made me so bananas during many parts of the story that it detracted from the overall feel for me.

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