Ms. Craig has written what seems to be a sweet, enchanting and inspirational story full of the magic of Christmas and the wonder of love. The only flaw in the matchmaker who has the lovers acting like puppets on strings. Bringing couples together is one thing, but freezing time to heal the characters is cheating.
All Noah Partridge wants for Christmas is to be left alone. He moves to New Mexico Territory to find a piece of land as hard and haggard as his soul. The last thing he wants is a five-year-old pixie and her beautiful mother trying to drag him out of his self-imposed isolation.
Their hospitality comes to a halt when he tries to buy their land. Grace Richardson repeatedly turns down Noah's generous offers, and so their battle of wills begins.
Noah is obsessed with owning her land, which he sees as the beginning of a new life. For Grace, the land is the only thing she has left of her husband and it is her daughter's legacy.
They are at each others throats when a match-making godfather (aka wizard) steps in and magically calms their tempers. The truce is brief as Noah finds a way to buy the land from under Grace, but can he go through with his plan when she is the only woman who believes in him?
(Dec., 400 pp., $5.99)