Thursday, January 6, 2011

The 12th Day of Christmas--Whew!! It's Finally All Over . . . But Wait . . . 'Twas The Night by Sandra Hill, Kate Holmes, & Trish Jensen

Three irresistible guys are trying to get home for Christmas across the snowbound northeast roads. The last chartered bus out of Philadelphia is full of rambunctious senior citizens who call themselves the Santa Brigade. Their fearless driver, a woman, is a former Marine and NASCAR driver.

Having no choice, our heroes hop a ride with the Brigade and immediately (Christmas magic?) they collide with three fellow hitchhikers who are women from their past. These gorgeous gals have neither forgotten or forgiven old heartaches, and so it's going to be a very long night on the bus . . .

This is not really an anthology in any sense of the word. It is a novel that came about through the combined efforts of three very good writers and the resulting work is not only beautifully written but is one of the best holiday novels I have ever read! Here we meet Samuel Merrick, a Navy commander and member of the famous Blue Angels; we are introduced to Kevin Wilder, a well-known private investigator, former law enforcement officer, and soon-to-be attorney; and we become acquainted with Stanly Kijewski, former NFL quarterback. All three are former residents of Snowdon, Maine; all three were raised in its orphanage for boys, and all three owe their successful adult lives to one man who is being married on Christmas Day and who has insisted they all be present at his wedding. Only one problem . . . no planes, no buses, no trains, no cars for hire . . . zip, none, nada. So over their loud and repeated protestations, these three old friends--and they have always been best friends--reunite on a bus full of some of the funniest, zaniest, strangest, senior citizens, on the only bus making its way north. But the fun has only begun. Traveling along with these three are three other people bound for Snowdon and the wedding--and these three women along with the curious group of senior "santas" manage to turn Sam, Kevin, and Stan upside down and inside out.

The three friends are not really prepared for the whirl of giving and caring the Santa Brigade is all about. All along the road to Snowdon, this group of talented and zaney seniors put on shows, feed snacks, and bring gifts to homeless families, many of whom are stuck at difficult places in their lives or have been abandoned by their loved ones. In their slow progress north, each of these men must face up to their past, deal with the old feelings they still harbored about the community and in some cases, about the very people who are on the bus. Thinking they have nothing to contibute to the "show" they discover that just being themselves and sharing themselves brings joy to the families and children in the shelters. Add in the attraction that springs up between these six "hitchhikers" and you have a wonderful holiday story.

It is to be expected that these "hitchhikers" would pair off and that there would develop some form of relationship. However, the funniest part of this story are the sexy and witty seniors--sharing their life philosophies, giving advice on love and sex, and themselves pairing up in some fascinating twosomes. It was almost a continual chuckle for me. The dialogue was sparkling and the characters were so well-developed that even in this tightly packed grouping it was possible to recognize each one when they entered a scene.

So even though the holiday season is now just about officially over, you need to read this humorous, heart-warming novel. It is truly one of the best I have encountered and I highly recommend it as a great way to complete the holiday season. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

This book was released by Bell Book Publishers in November, 2010.

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