I’ve read a lot of Christmas-themed stories lately, and I'd wanted to read more from Sheila Roberts after loving an earlier book of hers, so I was excited to dive into A LITTLE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.
Lexie, a kindergarten teacher, and her six-year-old son, Brock, are still a little new in town, and while Lexie loves their home on a charming cul-de-sac, she’s been disappointed that she hasn't made friends in the neighborhood. Brock’s father has never been around, and while she’s dated some, she’s mostly put romance on the back burner as she and Brock settle into their new home and new school. She’s excited about the holidays, loves to bake, and can’t wait to have a real Christmas tree. Stanley is the curmudgeonly widower next door, still grieving for the wife he lost three years ago, and determined to live a solitary life without other people around. He doesn’t want anything to do with Lexie and her child, but Brock is oblivious to his irritation, following him around and bombarding him with chitchat, and even calling him Grandpa Stanley.
Some of my favorite parts of the book were the chapters that take us back in time, where we watch Stanley and his wife Carol meet and fall in love, experience the heartbreak of not being able to have children, and getting a peek at other moments in their lives together. Carol was such a vibrant character, who truly brought out the best in Stanley, and his love for her shines off the pages. But now, three years after her death, she’s haunting him, floating around the room and having conversations with him, nudging and pushing and demanding him to be sociable with his new neighbors, who he refers to as the pests. I expected to be drawn to Lexie and Brock, as I love stories with a single parent, but Stanley was the one who really drew me in. My heart ached for him, and I loved watching him come out of his shell and begin to find some joy in life again. Not to mention how he grudgingly took in a stray dog, insisting it’s just temporary but not wanting to leave her at a shelter, and wondering why the signs he posted did not bring her owners around to claim her. Of course, I suspected she was there to stay, and the first time he gave in and allowed her to sleep on his bed I smiled with a happy little sigh. Actually, I smiled quite a bit while reading this book.
There are other characters, of course. Lexie has become good friends with another teacher, and she worries a lot about her widowed mother. There is eventually a little romance for Lexie, though not until quite a ways into the story. But the heart of the story was the friendship that grew between Lexie and Stanley.
The holiday season can be hard when you’re not surrounded by family or loved ones, but if you open your heart, the people that are around you can become family. A LITTLE CHRISTMAS SPIRITby Sheila Roberts is a heartwarming and wonderful story about family and friendship, grief and loss, and learning to enjoy life again.
The best Christmas gifts—family, friendship and second chances—are all waiting to be unwrapped in this sparkling new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts.
Single mom Lexie Bell hopes to make this first Christmas in their new home special for her six-year-old son, Brock. Festive lights and homemade fudge, check. Friendly neighbors? Uh, no. The reclusive widower next door is more grinchy than nice. But maybe he just needs a reminder of what matters most. At least sharing some holiday cheer with him will distract her from her own lack of romance…
Stanley Mann lost his Christmas spirit when he lost his wife and he sees no point in looking for it. Until she shows up in his dreams and informs him it’s time to ditch his scroogey attitude. Stanley digs in his heels, but she’s determined to haunt him until he wakes up and rediscovers the joys of the season. He can start by being a little more neighborly to the single mom next door. In spite of his protests, he’s soon making snowmen and decorating Christmas trees. How will it all end?
Merrily, of course. A certain Christmas ghost is going to make sure of that!