Barbara Bretton, Author . Berkley $6.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-425-18987-0

Bretton's newest contemporary romance (after A Soft Place to Fall) is an engrossing tale of hope, promise, heartache and misplaced dreams. Maddy Bainbridge and her headstrong mother, Rose, have never gotten along, but when Maddy's Seattle-based dot-com crashes and her husband divorces her, she has no choice but to return home to Paradise Point, N.J., with her four-year-old daughter Hannah. It's three weeks before Christmas, and Maddy is determined to make a go of it with her mom while attempting to put a little happiness back in her daughter's life by giving her an Aladdin-style 'magic lamp' (actually a teapot) she's found on the Internet. The only problem is that someone is aggressively trying to outbid her. Her adversary, she soon learns, is ex-firefighter Aidan O'Malley, owner of O'Malley's Bar and Grill across town. He's trying to win the teapot for his daughter, Kelly, who believes it to be the one that graced the walls of O'Malley's 50 years earlier. When Maddy scores the winning bid, the sale becomes the catalyst that brings generations of families together, suggesting the teapot may have magic powers after all. While this Christmas tale may seem out of place among the summer season's beach offerings, its uplifting message and smooth storytelling make it a pleasant read any time of year. (May 6)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1207-6
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4362-8368-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 400 pages - 978-1-4362-8496-7
Hardcover - 536 pages - 978-1-58724-492-6
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