cover image Bright Lights, Big Christmas

Bright Lights, Big Christmas

Mary Kay Andrews. St. Martin’s, $23 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-28581-2

Andrews (The Santa Suit) serves up a Christmas treat in this sparkling tale. Kerry Tolliver has just been laid off from her advertising job in Charlotte, N.C., when she hears that her father, Jock, has suffered a heart attack. She joins her brother, Murphy, in New York City to pick up their family business selling Christmas trees. Camped out for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas in their vintage trailer—dubbed “Spammy” for its resemblance to the canned meat tins—the siblings hawk their family’s trees to upscale New Yorkers on a corner in Greenwich Village. Despite a less-than-ideal first meeting, Kerry falls for divorced father Patrick McCaleb and his sweet six-year-old son, Austin. Soon, she’s making new friends in the neighborhood—including a mysterious elderly man, Heinz, who is hiding a significant secret. When the trees are gone, Kerry and Murphy are supposed to head back to North Carolina—but will they? Andrews is skillful at plotting and characterization, and here demonstrates that even major cities can have a small-town neighborhood feel. Exemplary supporting characters—especially the prickly Heinz, gruff but lovable Murphy, and sweet six-year-old Austin—round out the novel. Those looking for sweet and clean holiday stories will be delighted. (Sept.)