Let It Snow: A Novel
“a charming holiday read.”
Christina Antonioni, a native to the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, runs a toy shop in one of the unwinterized sheds situated on the ferry dock that extends out over the ocean.
She and three other business owners who call themselves the "Shedders" brave the conditions in the drafty cottages where their only convenience is electricity. Christina, Jacob Greenwood, and Harriet Colby eat lunch at Mimi Mattes shed, which is the biggest one.
One day before lunch, Christina catches a young girl shoplifting.
"Christina bent down to put something in her glass display case. Through the glass, she saw the girl swiftly slide a small mermaid sticker book into the pocket of her jeans.
"It was only a five-dollar item. She wanted to let her have it, poor child.
"But children should be taught not to steal.
"'Please put the sticker book back,' Christina ordered in a firm voice.
"The girl jumped. She glared at Christina with her mouth bunched up in defiance. Then, to Christina's chagrin, her face turned red, and she burst into tears.
"'It's not fair! She wailed. 'I only took a little thing.'
"'It's still stealing,' she quietly reminded the child.
"'It's Christmas!' The girl blubbered. 'My parents are getting divorced, and my mom and I are staying with my grandfather, and I don't have any toys or dolls here, and we don't even have a Christmas tree! I just want something!'”
Christina feels bad for the little girl and offers a job. This way she can pay her for helping her unload boxes and give her a discount on anything she wants. The girl is surprised, leaving Christina wondering if she'll return. While eating, Christina tells her colleagues about the incident, and Jacob suggests they each give the girl something from their shop.
Winifred "Wink" Bittlesman is the thief, and the granddaughter of wealthy Oscar Bittlesman, the landlord of the sheds and now a permanent resident of Nantucket. Wink can well afford to purchase anything, so why is she stealing? Is the nine year old doing this for attention?
Wink does return to help Christina, and they get to know each other better. Even though she only works 15 minutes, Christina gives her $5 as payment along with the gift bag with items from her friends. There is something about this girl that tugs at Christina's heart, making this the beginning of a special friendship.
When Christina is closing for the day, a woman enters with a scowl on her face. She says she is Delia, Wink's mother, and empties the gifts given to her daughter on the counter. With her haughty disposition, she insists upon returning them, stating they should go to a more needy child.
Accompanying Delia is a shockingly handsome man Christina assumes is her husband, but in fact, is her brother Andy. He apologizes for Delia's rudeness and explains that Wink is on the island for Christmas while her parents are fighting their legal battle. Christina informs him of the different activities Wink can attend, and he shocks her by asking her to dinner.
"Christina felt herself blush. She'd never been so instantly attracted to anyone since . . . well, she'd never been so instantly attracted to anyone. It was terrifying."
One would think this may be the start of an exciting relationship, but when the "Shedders" receive notice that Oscar is raising their rent starting in February, Christina realizes she cannot get involved with Andy. It wouldn't be right seeing his father is putting such high demands on their meager earnings, and it would be a conflict of interest if she were to get involved with Andy. If Oscar goes ahead with his threat, Christina and the others, too, would not be able to keep their businesses open.
Distraught about any possibility of a love life and the loss of her livelihood Christina is immensely confused. Is there a way she can change Oscar's mind, and if so, could she ever anticipate a relationship with Andy who is so far above her socially and financially?
Nancy Thayer, well-known author of beach novels, takes this one step further with, Let it Snow, a wonderful, descriptive tale of romance and the harsh, cold winters that shows Nantucket in a completely different light than that of the summer months. One can sense the chilling, blustery winds, and pungent scent of the air, yet feel the warmth of love and friendship that make this a charming holiday read.