The flames of memory always seem to glow a little brighter during the holidays. Perhaps that’s why this time of year is so difficult for airline heiress Ivy Macintosh, as she faces thoughts of yet another festive season alone. Since the plane crash that claimed the lives of her husband and two children eight years ago, she’s been submerged in grief.
When eleven-year-old Holly Greenwood knocks on her door, lost and frightened after a forbidden visit to her singing teacher, Ivy’s self-imposed exile is shattered. Holly has an extraordinary voice, and wants nothing more than to perform in an upcoming Christmas musical. Holly’s father, Daniel, doesn’t allow music in their home, refusing to give a good reason why—just as he refuses to talk about Holly’s mother. Ivy has no idea how closely she and Daniel are linked by their tragic pasts, yet she’s drawn to the warmth she senses beneath his gruff exterior. And as Christmas nears, their shared concern for Holly begins to draw Ivy back into the world again . . . and toward a family who may need her just as much as she needs them . . .
Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between multiple perspectives, but mostly Ivy & Daniel.
While this is partially labeled a romance, I think it’s important to note that there are some heavy topics and situations. The budding romance between Daniel and Ivy is secondary – they don’t even meet until almost half way through – to the pain that they’re each dealing with after losing their spouses. Additionally, Daniel’s strained relationship with his daughter Holly is painful to witness.
Fern Michael’s portrayal of their loss, grief, and poor coping provides a stark contrast when they embrace the opportunity for healing. While I wish that the ending hadn’t felt as rushed as it did, the resolution was satisfyingly sweet. There’s a cute little epilogue.
Brittany Pressley is amazing here. I always love her wide range of character voices and emotions. She especially shines when she’s voicing children – Holly sounds young but appropriate for her age. Perfect narration.
Content Warnings (possible spoilers):
Alcohol abuse, suicidal ideations by an MC, detailed grief, Daniel is at times verbally abusive to Holly
About the author:
Fern Michaels is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over 161 Published Works, 150 million books-in-print, 153 New York Times and USA Today Best Sellers. Her Work Has Been Translated Into 20 Languages. She’s a passionate animal lover and lives in South Carolina, surrounded by her children, grandchildren, dogs, cats, and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret.
You can connect with Fern Michaels here:
About the narrator:
You can connect with Brittany Pressley here:
My Favorite Quotes
“One day, you’re a family, and in a matter of minutes, everything you have planned, worked for, hoped for, is crushed.”
“Maybe it was time to release them, allow herself to feel, and know that whatever emotions she felt, they would propel her forward to a future where new and happy memories could be made as well.”
“It’s only as complicated as you choose to make it.”
“So many years she had dreaded this confrontation with the past, feared the emotions it would stir up.”