Mary Kay Andrews
Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen after her divorce. Upon arriving at her new home, she discovers that the last family left all of their things, including a Santa suit complete with a Dear Santa letter in the pocket. Ivy takes it upon herself to figure out the mystery behind the letter as she acclimates to her new small town life.
When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?
Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
The Santa Suit is a Hallmark movie in novella form. I know I just said this about The Holiday Swap, but it is even more true for The Santa Suit. You know the plot, just exchange firefighter with real estate agent.
Mary Kay Andrews tries to include not just romance but an uplifting, heart-warming storyline. Unfortunately, The Santa Suit is not so heart-warming and even less romantic. Instead, it is a shallow story filled with convenient coincidences, overly helpful neighbors, and people who seem to never work.
The Santa Suit is more contemporary fiction than romance. The romance was as nonexistent as the main character’s heating. (Ivy was apparently not as concerned about the freezing temperatures and heating in her house as she was with a random letter she found written 20+ years ago.) There was no chemistry, no courting, just all of a sudden kissing. She could have just tripped into his arms and melted into a kiss, and it would have been about the same. We all knew it was going to happen; I just wanted some chemistry and actual rapport built before it did.
I realize I sound a bit like a Scrooge, but this book has such high ratings. I was hoping for a bit more holiday magic and depth and a bit less luck. Ultimately, I found that That Santa Suit had nothing of substance within its 224 pages. It could have benefitted from at least 100 additional pages and some more descriptive writing. I am not a fan of super descriptive writing, but Andrew’s writing in this book was similar to if I was trying to write an unbiased, fact-based report for Congress. I have never read anything like it within the pages of something fictitious. If you told me that The Santa Suit had been rushed to publication, I would not be the least bit surprised.
Overall, The Santa Suit was a disappointing read that was meh at best. I think it has potential, but that potential was left unfulfilled. I do not see myself recommending this to anyone unless they need something super shallow filled with rainbows and Santa and luck.
The Santa Suit
September 28, 2021
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.