Holiday decorations are beginning to appear in stores, so why not start enjoying some Christmas-themed books? If that thought makes you smile, read on for more about Christmas on Ocracoke, a small-town holiday novella by Christina Sinisi.
Back cover copy: Reeling from the upheaval of a failed marriage, Annie Hanahan is desperate for a new start — and when she inherits a cottage on Ocracoke Island, she may finally get it. Without a second thought, she packs up and leaves everything behind: her first name, her job, and her ex-husband, because more than anything, she wants to get her son away from his father’s partying and neglectful ways. But when she arrives in the Outer Banks, she finds the island — and her promised refuge — ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.
When their parents died in a tragic car accident, Trey Kingsley dropped out of college to raise his sister. Now that she’s grown and moved away, it’s his turn to find a life of his own. As a contractor who has given so much of his time to helping Ocracoke recover from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, it surprises no one when he offers to help the beautiful newcomer, but something is holding her back. Life keeps throwing them together, though, or perhaps God’s hand is giving them a nudge. Will a little bit of divine intervention be enough for a Merry Christmas on Ocracoke?
My review: Christmas on Ocracoke is a sweet romance that doesn’t have multiple plot lines or loads of backstory on characters, but that’s to be expected in a novella. Even so, Annie and Trey are developed enough that I had a good sense of their backgrounds and what led to their current situations and perspectives about themselves and the people around them. I enjoy stories set in small towns, and Christmas on Ocracoke definitely delivered on that front. Having grown up in a small town myself, I could easily picture people and places that fit the characters and descriptions. I loved how the people were such a tight-knit community but also welcomed Annie and James into their midst — because that how life in small towns often is.
Annie is very new in her faith. That shows through some of her actions and mindsets, but even those of us who have been Christ followers for years can still fall into the same traps. Her struggles were relatable and a reminder that we can all learn things and grow in our relationship with God (and the people around us). I liked that you could see Annie’s growth in multiple areas (her faith, her willingness to accept help, her learning to forgive). That’s not always the case in novellas because the word count is so much shorter than a full-length novel, so big kudos to Sinisi for managing to work all that into the story. My only wish would be that the book was a bit longer so the relationship between Annie and Trey could develop a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with how the story is, I was just enjoying how the pieces came together and would have liked to follow it through further.
Who should read it: Christmas on Ocracoke is a good choice for anyone looking for a sweet Christmas romance. It’s perfectly appropriate for teens or young adults, but an older audience will probably enjoy it more because of the characters’ ages and Annie’s status as a single mom of a toddler.
Book details: Christmas on Ocracoke
Author: Christina Sinisi
Genre: Christmas novella
Publisher: Anaiah Press
Publish date: November 2020