BOOK REVIEW: 'An Island Christmas': The Best Laid Plans…You Know the Rest!

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen

Jilly Gordon may be the most organized woman on Nantucket Island. One of the main characters in Nancy Thayer's "An Island Christmas" (Ballantine Books, 224 pages, $18.00) she's getting her already picture-perfect house in downtown Nantucket ready for the arrival of her younger daughter Felicia and Felicia's fiancé Archie Galloway for their Christmas Day wedding.

Also present will be Lauren, Jilly and George Gordon's older, married daughter, her husband Porter and their two young children Portia and Lawrence.

BOOK REVIEW: 'An Island Christmas': The Best Laid Plans…You Know the Rest!


Felicia and Archie are an adventurous couple who enjoy their occupation as whitewater rafting guides -- and just about anything involving the outdoors. They live in a tiny apartment above a bookstore in Moab, Utah. 

Lauren, who's taken over many of the aspects of the forthcoming wedding, including making a wedding gown for her sister, lives in a large "faux colonial home" on two acres in suburban Boston. The two women couldn't be more different -- and Jilly wishes Felicia were more like Lauren.  To please her mom,  Felicia goes along with the elaborate wedding. She also is looking forward to meeting Archie's mom, Pat Galloway, who will be the only member of his family in attendance. Pat has arrived from her Florida home and is staying at a hotel.

Jilly is plotting with her best friend Nicole Somerset to get Felicia interested in next-door neighbor Steven Hardy, who was Felicia's senior prom date in high school. He's a handsome, well-off stockbroker who's decided to live year-round in Nantucket.  To Jilly, Archie is a scruffy Gerard Butler, while Steven is a sophisticated Pierce Brosnan. She met Archie on a trip to Utah she and George made the year before.

Last year's Nancy Thayer Christmas novel, "A Nantucket Christmas," features a dog, so it's only fair that "An Island Christmas" should have a cat character. And what a character Rex is! He's a rescued feral cat who quickly becomes a calming influence in Jilly's increasingly fast-paced life.

In one of my reviews of a previous Thayer novel, I mentioned that you can learn a lot about interpersonal relationships from her books. This is certainly true of "An Island Christmas" which I read in one sitting. Here's my quote from the review mentioned above:

As I noted in my June 5, 2012 review of Thayer's  novel "Summer Breeze" (link:   
Whenever I feel the urge to delve into a self-help book for ideas on how to cope with a problem, I stop myself and instead reach for a Nancy Thayer novel! Thayer's people have problems, but they always seem to resolve them -- sooner or later.

That was the case with her 2011 novel "Heat Wave", set on Nantucket Island, where transplanted Midwesterner Thayer lives and writes (link to my review: and that's certainly the situation in "Summer Breeze." 



Nancy Thayer
Nancy Thayer

About the author

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Heat Wave, Beachcombers, Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, Summer Breeze, Heat Wave, and The Hot Flash Club. She lives in Nantucket with her husband, Charley Walters. Her website:

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