I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Christmas on Chestnut Street by Nancy Thayer
Published by Random House LLC on October 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Sagas
In this enchanting holiday novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer, family and friends gather on Nantucket for a gorgeous winter wedding with plenty of merry surprises in store. As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker. As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.
Christmas on Chestnut Street by Nancy Thayer starts when Felicia returns to her family home for the holiday season with plans to marry her fiancé Archie. Almost immediately, you can sense the tension in the family as Archie did not fit the expected mold of the family. He is not prim and proper but is instead an adventurer and an outdoors man. Felicia’s mother, Jilly does not know how to accept this, and instead begins plotting of ways to make Felicia see that Archie is not the man for her.
If I’m honest, there were times when Jilly really grated on me. I felt that she was an unbalanced character. I didn’t feel enough development to really understand her motives to break up her daughter’s relationship. All of her actions felt very forced or unnatural to the character and because of that she was unable to gain any sympathy from me for her actions. I also felt that there was some obvious favoritism in terms of the two daughters. Jilly related more to her daughter Lauren in comparison to Felicia, and this favoritism is felt throughout the novel as Felicia tries to prove herself and the value of her relationship to Jilly.
Luckily, there was a cat in the story who helped add some calm to every situation. The cat’s name was Rex, and it was like he had his own personality to the story. He added humor to the story, and added to the chaos of the family in his own way (think young children and a cat at Christmas time). Having Rex in the story worked really nicely, and he helped calm down Jilly to the point where she wasn’t scheming as much which was good. He was a highlight of the story for me, and actually may have helped me gloss over some of the unevenness of the story as a whole.
The setting for Christmas on Chestnut Street also worked well with the story. It was set in Nantucket which was brought to life in terms of all the Christmas magic. Bringing families together around the holiday season is always an interesting experience, and I think that Nancy Thayer captures it well within her story. She used all the different personalities of the family to create an atmosphere unique to the family which was enjoyable even if Jilly did grate on me from time to time. Overall, the story reminds us of the importance of accepting your family for who they are, and being open to meeting new people and accepting them for who they are. In a way, it encompasses what the Christmas spirit is supposed to be all about. I just wish I had been more invested in the story.