Richard Paul Evans, . . Simon & Schuster, $19.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-8703-6
On the night that Mark Smart has decided will be his last, his car dies in a blizzard. He enters a closing coffee shop and finds Macy Wood, who literally offers him a shoulder to cry on. The two forge a deep friendship, and after three weeks, Mark proposes marriage. She declines, but waitress Joette, who has taken care of Macy since she was 13, orchestrates a reunion as Mark tries to smooth over the rifts dividing what remains of his family. Mark's stepfather's advice—"sometimes it's the fight that makes a thing worth having"—serves as the defining aphorism of Evans's yuletide offering.
Reviewed on: 09/04/2006