A special thank you to the publisher and publicist for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Mesmerizing.
Magical. Quintessential New England style. A beautiful Christmas love story of second chances. Loved it! Talented storyteller, Joanne DeMaio
invites you into a stunning New England picture-perfect setting- from pumpkins, cozy autumn golden leaves, to a “Jane March” post-card wintry Christmas holiday. SNOW DEER AND COCOA CHEER
--- a magical story filled with humor, which will warm your heart; where old-fashioned nostalgia, meets contemporary enchanting-- setting the mood for an unforgettable winter wonderland love story, second chances, and special holiday wishes. Would make for a great Hallmark Christmas movie, as well as her entire backlist of books.Jane March,
single, age 33-- has lost her jingle. A greeting card designer for New England’s Cobblestone Cards, she has a broken arm, at the worst possible time, as the holidays are approaching. She returns to recuperate at her mom Lillian’s farmhouse in Addison. (an artist).
She has set up an office at her mom’s house, and is not finding what she needs to begin a new line of this season’s cards. No inspiration. She is fresh out of ideas, and worries she may lose her job. Her boss has agreed to allow her to work from home; however, he is expecting new and exciting. Then one day
she finds an old box of charming wintry watercolors from her mom’s collection, adding snow and balsam garland and twinkly lights to the white picket fence, and other details on her computer generated enhance program, adds a few jingles, and she begins to feel a spark. She sends off the samples to her boss and he loves it. Now he wants more. What now? Try coming up with jingles after you have designed thousands of greeting cards, while a boss is pressuring, for fresh ideas.
When complaining to Lillian, she leaves her an “I INSIST List”.
She tells her daughter she needs to get out of the house and visit places within the quaint small town. Every canvas of hers was painted straight from her heart, living each one, experienced with Edward her late husband (Jane’s dad), Chloe (Jane’s sister), and Jane. Experience the setting, memories, the people, nature, and inspiration will come. She has to LIVE IT! The roots of Christmas.
Jane wonders: How do I capture the magic of the heart- an old fashioned Christmas? Her mom seems to think if she immerses herself in the season in their little town of Addison it will come. OK, she decides to give it a whirl. The first item is to feed the Cardinals. Now she has to find feed. Of course, Jane is not so sure. She is unable to drive and difficult to get around without the use of her arm still in a sling. It starts with the postman. She needs the postman to deliver her work to the door versus walking to the mailbox. Of course, he is not so friendly, or accommodating. Wes Davis,
the postman is not happy. He was engaged to be married to Shelia, and she backed out and moved back to Indiana, a few days before the wedding. Now he has lost his apartment, and moves home to Addison, to live with his dad in the old Victorian family home. He dreads all the small town people and sympathy. He has to hear all the “I’m sorry” sympathy looks, and regrets from everyone on his mail route, plus everywhere he goes. He wants to run and hide from everyone he knows. His dad, Pete,
also a postman, as was his grandfather. Third generation. His mom died years earlier and his dad has a wood carving business on the side. He whittles in his workshop, making deer, and seems happy, working every night with an online business. He and Wes have lunch everyday on their postal route. Wes sees himself in this role and it scares him to death- the boring routine. He has lived in this town all his life. He wants nothing more than to escape the upcoming family holidays and experience life, somewhere besides this town. He cannot bear to hear anymore sympathies—he is bitter, unhappy, and feels like a loser. He has to escape the wedding details and all the questions. Wes has decided
to swap his honeymoon airline ticket to take the opportunity to get away to California, to visit a college friend over the holidays. He plans to stay a week. he can avoid family, and maybe get away for good, while seeking new job opportunities. He does not want to turn into his dad. Of course, Pete would love nothing more, as he needs an apprentice; someone to help him with his online business which his growing. He even brings home a dog (Comet) for him, to keep him company.
Wes is counting down the days for his trip. Nothing will stand in his way. Cynical, and not in the Christmas holiday spirit. He also has to deal with his brother, Greg--the guy who gets all the dates and the local doctor. (Also Jane’s doctor). When Jane requests
Wes bring the mail to the door, he is initially put off, until he realizes she has a broken arm. They begin to communicate by leaving one another notes in the mail box. If she needs a ride, or a desperate trip into town for bird feed, or other things on her mom’s list, she leaves a desperate note and puts up the red flag.
They soon look forward to packages, and special notes from one another. Every day is filled with anticipation--- it could be a word, a trinket, one line, a note, or a question about an upcoming date. It is all about the red flag.
Soon Wes lets down his guard, as Jane eyes are dazzling--always a winning smile. She gets excited about all the things on her mom’s list which gives her inspiration. She is also thinking about the carriage house of her mom’s which is about to go up for rent. Working from this special magical town and this list is working magic for her, and then there is Wes. She encourages him, gets him involved with her list of things to do and see. Jane also helps Wes’ dad Pete with ideas for the deer, and marketing for his website. Wes and Jane
continue communicating through the mail box and the red flag. They do not use email or cell to speak with one another. However, as they get closer, Wes is determined not to allow anything to get in his way from making his trip out of town. He cannot trust love as he has failed once, and cannot put himself through this again.When a possible exciting job offer
comes from his friend, Wes is torn between the girl, who may have stolen his heart, and his new dog Comet, the magical town, to the pull of escaping this town for new opportunities.Down to a few days
of Wes’ Christmas Eve departure, Jane has to come up with a desperate plan to keep Wes in town and seeks Pete and Lillian’s assistance, as well as the entire community on Old Willow Road. Will Wes choose to stay, and allow his heart to be open to a relationship with Jane and new love? Or will he go to California without knowing what could develop with one special woman, who came into his life as quickly, as the other one vanished. A long-time fan of the author,
having read all her books, I anxiously await the next, as each is unique and charming as the previous. Joanne writes with such vivid settings and descriptions, drawing you into this snowflakes winter wonderland ambiance with crafts, Christmas tree farms, first snows, cozy fires, twinkling lights, coffee shops, festive boat parades, hot cocoa, pinecones, homemade goodies, flickering lanterns, babbling brooks, scents, red covered bridge, white picket fences, vintage ornaments, jingles and rhymes, sleighs, silver bells, snowmen, balsam, reindeer, cardinals, farmhouses, special kisses, and beautiful memories to warm your heart for special holiday wishes.I loved the mail box and red flag!
Refreshing. In today’s world of social media, where everything is digital, we lose the intimacy of handwritten notes, and nothing better than an old fashioned mail box with special deliveries. Even my grandchildren in the Carolinas, get excited when they receive mail from Nana J in South Florida. Their eyes light up at the mail box. Especially at Christmas, it is magical. Loved Wes’ dog, Comet, helping him deliver mail, as he talked to him on his route.
While living in South Florida, we live vicariously through books, such as this to get us in the Christmas spirit, when we have sun, sand, and palm trees. We either travel north, or read. The deer so reminded me of my days living in Big Canoe, GA (north Georgia Mountains) in a log cabin. Miss those days, when arriving home from work, the deer there to greet you, running along beside you up the driveway.
If you read only one Christmas book this season, SNOW DEER AND COCOA CHEER,
is the book to read, and give as a treasured gift to your loved one or special friend. Assured to bring a smile to all, with a sprinkle of magic. You will never look at mail box red flag the same, without thinking of Jane and Wes. Joanne is a master at weaving tales
of friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. You will love the characters, and re-visiting with mentions of places and special people from her prior books. Cleverly crafted with warmth and comfort from autumn to winter in New England-- with its own special unique beauty, the author captures it perfectly. My favorite Christmas Book.
Fans of Richard Paul Evans'
Christmas stories will treasure this one. With a dusting of snow
and the scent of pine needles wafting through the air, and a charming town, with family and new friends that seem to have stepped out of the pages of a storybook– Romantic, Magical, and Whimsical. Where special treasures await.
If you have not read, Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes
another enchanting novel about love, family, and the delicate power of snowflakes.