It's Christmas, and Indianapolis Sentinel reporter Rebecca Chandler has just been dumped by her boyfriend. Tired of covering the usual seasonal fluff -- and in no mood for warmth and sincerity -- she reluctantly accepts her editor's assignment to travel to nearby Hamden and cover the story of Secret Santa, a benevolent stranger who appears mysteriously every Christmas Eve to bestow a generous gift on someone less fortunate. But Rebecca has ideas of her own. Instead of the life affirming tearjerker her editor wants, she intends to write a hard-edged investigative piece unmasking the good samaritan. "After I'm done with him, he'll be known as the bleeding heart do-gooder, formerly known as Secret Santa."
That's what she thinks. Rebecca didn't count on Hamden, Indiana, a town that claims to live the Christmas spirit all year long. Small-town USA, complete with a main street diner and an Annual Christmas Pageant, Hamden is home to a cast of quirky characters, a handsome millionaire...and the most unlikely Secret Santa of them all. Determined to uncover the identity of the holiday philanthropist, Rebecca quickly learns that things are not always as they appear, and in the process of looking for Santa, Rebecca finds love, the honor of sacrifice...and the true meaning of Christmas.
Giving in its purest form
expects nothing in return.
Just in time for the holidays, here are five hardcover treats at stocking-stuffer prices. SECRET SANTARobert Tate Miller and Beth Polson. Atria, (160p) Although she's not a complete Scrooge, newspaper reporter Rebecca Chandler has lost her holiday spirit and must force herself through the "merry motions." When her two-timing boyfriend abruptly ends their year-and-a-half-long relationship, she accepts a holiday assignment in the backwater hamlet of Hamden, Ind. Her mission: to find the elusive Secret Santa who, each year, surprises a needy soul with a thoughtful gift. Fed up with fluffy features about three-legged Lassies rescuing their masters, Rebecca decides to do a hard-hitting investigative piece to unveil the mysterious country gift giver. Predictably, the eccentric town characters file away Rebecca's hard city edges until her quest for Secret Santa's identity renews her Christmas cheer. Polson and Miller's breezy prose reads like the script of a mildly entertaining, sentimental made-for-TV movie (after all, he's written movies for the small screen and she's produced them) with the classic yuletide message that "giving is its own reward."