Real Santa by William Hazelgrove
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We expect feel-good books at Christmas. No one wants to read a downer of a story. Heck, even A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens has a happy ending. So does REAL SANTA by William Hazelgrove.
Take one father who wasn't much of a father beyond being a good provider in his first marriage. Add a second marriage with a young girl who desperately wants to keep believing in the magic of Santa. Add losing a job just before Christmas. And stir in one man's desire to keep the Santa myth alive for at least one more year. And that is REAL SANTA.
Hazelgrove takes the reader back to the intersection of childhood when we could believe in magic and to growing up and out of the wonder of such magic. George decides he can really be Santa for one night. He nearly bankrupts the family trying to fulfill a promise to a child.
With the help of a cast of zany characters, including a frustrated Australian film director who turns the idea into a full-fledged production and a man who raises and leases reindeer. George works night and day to put together the pieces of getting live reindeer up onto his roof and him down the chimney.
The story stands on its own and belongs on the shelf of Christmas stories for decades to come.
I won't be a spoiler, but it does have a happy ending.