ABOUT the BOOK
Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor’s yellow Lab—since a dog topped the boys’ wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love.
Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson, the novella’s key characters, are single mothers of Bobby and Harry, both five years old. They are also immigrants in postwar America in 1951.
The narrative begins 20 days before Christmas, when the two boys come across a Christmas catalog that contains more gifts than they could possibly imagine. They can’t wait to get home from kindergarten each day, until right before Christmas, to go through the catalog choosing every present they could possibly want.
The mothers, in an effort to teach the young boys that there is more to Christmas than presents, set out to explain the true meaning of Christmas.
The story is charming and endearing. Along with rooting for the mothers, the reader can’t help but be swept up in the boy’s joy, excitement and wonder at the prospect of Christmas.
The Wish Book Christmas is a novella sequel to Lynn Austin’s novel If I Were You. Because I was unaware of this, I was occasionally perplexed when references to the preceding book were made. However, The Wish Book Christmas, with a few minor exceptions, may be read as a stand-alone story.
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.