In A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson, Wendy Harper and her son, Jackson, are in the midst of hard times. Wendy’s husband passed away, and she is left with a mountain of medical bills.
Then she learns that she has inherited her grandparents’ cottage by the sea. She had visited them several summers as she grew up. Though she loves the cottage, she knows she has to sell it to get back on her feet financially. So she and Jackson drive down to spend a few days fixing the cottage up.
Jackson, who has been having a hard time since his father died, is renewed by the town and the cottage. He thinks they are going to stay. Wendy doesn’t want to disappoint him, so she puts off telling him that they have to sell the place.
When Wendy goes shopping for supplies, she meets a helpful man, Caleb, who she takes to be store employee. Later she discovers he is a local craftsman who owns his own store, while his mother owns the tourist shop Wendy remembers from her childhood.
Wendy faces challenges in her renovations, her need to tell Jackson her plans for the house, her deciding what to do next in life, and her growing relationship with Caleb.
I loved the nontraditional setting for a Christmas story. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up on the coast of southern Texas, so my early Christmases didn’t contain snow and sledding and such.
My one complaint is that the story wrapped up awfully quickly and a bit unrealistically. But otherwise, I thought it was a nice book.