Title: The Christmas Wishing Tree
Author: Emily March
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: September 2018
Length: 320 pages
Series?: Eternity Springs #15
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.
Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications –until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…
Jenna, a sweet but hard-worked mother, has been plagued by a stalker. And it’s not stopping, despite moves to other states, changed phone numbers, and other precautions.
Her son, though, is also hurting. But in a different way. His most feverent Christmas wish is to get a father for Christmas. After receiving a card at an outing, he calls the number to reach Santa Claus. Devin, from Australia, answers. They have a great little talk, and at that moment I was so endeared by Devin. He does try to get in tough with Reilly’s mom multiple times, but she never returns his calls.
But Reilly keeps calling “Santa”.
Devin is given a phone by the mystical and magical Celeste in Eternity Springs while he’s visiting his family for the holidays. It is the number that Reilly is calling. Devin has his own family struggles, torn between coming home to Eternity Springs where his family is and returning to his life in Australia and his sea-faring ways.
Finally, Devin is able to connect with Jenna. They set up a plan for future phone calls and one final call before he returns to Australia, when the phone will no longer work.
Except the call never comes. The stalker isn’t relenting, and this time law enforcement is involved – and not to assist Jenna.
Jenna and Reilly decide to go “off grid”. They travel the national and state parks and by happenstance wind up in Eternity Springs. It wasn’t the plan. They weren’t going to stay. They weren’t going to connect with anyone. But Eternity Springs is a little bit of a different place, full of loving, welcoming, and helpful characters.
I loved Devin’s character. He has such heart and genuine concern and care for Reilly, a kid he had never met. Reilly is also a little cutie! He and Jenna experience Celeste’s “Wishing Tree” tradition and carry it on for themselves. I loved that part!
This was a great angsty and suspenseful, but feel-good read. I also found out after reading that it was a series, but it reads like a stand alone.