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.
What I Loved
I’m such a sucker for a sentimental Christmas story, and The Santa Suit is all that and more. I loved the whole tone of the story as it made me feel good with every word I read. I’m pretty sure I smiled the entire time I was reading it.
I loved the whole Christmas magic angle. Just mention the word magic, and you grab my attention. How it is used in this tale adds to that beautiful, heart-warming feel of the entire story and brings together all of my favorite things about the holiday – the magic and wonder, the atmosphere of giving, and the love everyone gives to one another. The Santa and Mrs. Claus suits are part of the magic, and they are fun to imagine.
The technical aspects work together to create a beautiful, fast-paced read that leaves the reader with goodwill and warm emotions. The story is told from a third-person omniscient perspective, which adds to the story’s fairytale-like feeling. It is full of natural dialogue that is a treat to read and makes the pages flip quickly. The setting adds to the Christmas feel, as well, because even I have taken my family to the NC mountains around the holidays for the quintessential holiday experience. And, the characters are developed very well for such a short format. They are relatable and imaginable in a small southern town setting.
What I Wish
I wanted the plots threads to be tied up more than they were, even if just lightly. When I finished, I found myself going, “But, what happened to the candy store, what happened with Ivy’s career and the house, and what happened with Ezra and Ivy? So many questions! But, these questions did not detract from the enjoyment of the story after the fact at all. I want to know.
As I just said, all the characters are relatable, especially the main character Ivy Perkins. She bought her fixer-upper farmhouse sight unseen because, after a recent divorce, she needed a change. I can understand that feeling. She tackles challenges rather than be overwhelmed by them, and I liked and respected that in her character.
The support characters are a fun collection of generations. Ivy befriends her real estate agent, Ezra Wheeler, who also becomes a reluctant (on her part) love interest, Phoebe, who is young and involved with a man solely online, and Lawrence, who is an aged man living alone since the death of his wife.
Reminds Me Of
It’s a traditional Christmas story, so it has those Hallmark vibes without the cheesy emphasis on romance, though it does have its budding relationships.
To Read or Not to Read
Wrapped up in the glow of Christmas magic, The Santa Suit proves that the best gifts come in small packages.