cover image Dear Santa

Dear Santa

Nancy Naigle. St. Martin’s Griffin, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-18517-4

Naigle (the Boot Creek series) disappoints with this snail-paced homage to You’ve Got Mail. Angela Carson’s long-standing family Christmas store is in trouble, and the profits dwindle even more when Geoff Paisley opens a branch of his own Christmas store chain nearby. Convinced by her seven-year-old niece to use an app to write Jolly Old St. Nick, Angela pours out all her woes and worries, expecting to get an automated reply. Geoff’s life is running his family business, which also owns the Jolly Old St. Nick app. When his mom becomes ill, he agrees to answer the letters for her and is surprised to learn that his favorite pen pal is his feisty competitor, whom he’s admired at a distance. After a very public argument, Geoff extends an olive branch, leading to a chance at love. The small beach town of Pleasant Sands as a setting for successful Christmas stores is hard to believe in, as is the software that picks certain letters to be answered personally. The plot lacks the finesse of the movie, and Angela’s secret identity is so thinly veiled it’s laughable. The story focuses on the protagonists’ individual lives more than their budding relationship, and the mundane dialogue only adds to the disappointment. Readers should look elsewhere for both romance and holiday cheer. [em]Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Oct.) [/em]