by Sandra Hill, Kate Holmes, and Trish Jensen

October 2001
ISBN: 0-8439-4918-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Leisure Books
Mass Market Paperback

Three former orphans, Sam Merrick, Kevin Wilder and Stan Kijewski have promised to make it back to Snowden, Maine for the Christmas Eve wedding of their mentor George Garrison to Mary Oliver. There is only one small problem, the entire east coast has been shut down by a blizzard. Nothing no planes, trains, or automobile are getting through so it's the Santa Brigade to the rescue.

What's the Santa Brigade you may ask? It's a group of senior citizens who dress up as Santa each year and travel the east coast each Christmas season collecting toys and money for underprivileged children of the region. Their mission is to make sure children have a nice Christmas.

Our first hero is Sam Merrick, a Blue Angels pilot. Sam is stranded at the Philadelphia International Airport where all flights are being cancelled because of the poor weather conditions. Sam calls George with the news of his delay. George's fiancÚ Molly has the perfect solution, Sam can hitch a ride on the Santa Brigade as it will be passing through Philly.

Sam says, "No way am I coming on the Santa Brigade". I'll find my own way thanks. Don't rule it out George replies and by the way Reba Anderson is also on that bus. Sam quickly changes his way of thinking because Reba is an old flame and one he wouldn't mind making his current flame. He's convinced that the Santa Brigade might be just the thing after all. He makes arrangements and soon he is part of the Brigade and thinking up ways to become part of Reba's life again.

Sam calls up his friend, Kevin Wilder, a bounty hunter to check on his progress to the wedding. Kevin it seems is stranded in Schenectady. He made a side trip searching for a dress-maker..i.e fashion designer who has skipped town on a subpoena. We'll pick you up on our way through Sam offers. Kevin doesn't really want a ride on the Santa Brigade but since he can't miss George's wedding and he's fresh out of options, he reluctantly agrees to accept a ride. While waiting for the Brigade to arrive he stumbles across the woman he is looking for, Callie Brandt disguised as an Amish woman. What's a good bounty hunter to do when he's found his prey? When the Santa Brigade arrives Kevin kidnaps Callie and takes her with him. She can go with him to the wedding and then he will turn her in.

Our last hero, Stan Kijewski, an ex-NFL football player has promised to pick up Dana Freeman, another of George's "orphan Kids" and give her a ride to the wedding. He didn't count on the fact that she lived out in the middle of nowhere or that the blizzard would come so fast. The Santa Brigade comes to the rescue once again. Soon all of the "couples" are on the bus and headed to the wedding. Is this short bus ride in cramped quarters enough for these couples to discover that true love is right where you least expect it? Well miracles do happen. After all the bus is still moving along through the blizzard that has everything else stalled. There is magic in the Christmas season......everyone knows that.

Here Comes Santa Claus is a very entertaining story. It is an Anthology that is written in a very unique round robin style. Sandra Hill wrote the chapters that feature Sam. Trish Jensen wrote the chapters that feature Kevin and Kate Holmes wrote the chapters that feature Stan.

Although these authors each has a very different writing style they have somehow found a common ground and write in such a way that this book really works. While reading, it is not evident that different people are writing each chapter.

I found this to be a very entertaining and funny book. This is the perfect book to take your mind off the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. After a long day of shopping, pour your favorite drink, find your favorite reading spot, set back and let Sandra, Kate and Trish help you find some romance and laughter in your Christmas season. Come on along and join the Santa Brigade.... you'll soon be singing Here Comes Santa Claus.

Reviewed in November 2001 by Barbara.