Lori Shepherd can hardly wait to celebrate Christmas this year with her husband, Bill, and their twin sons in the beautiful cottage willed to her by Aunt Dimity. But then Lori makes a disturbing discovery beneath the cottage's snow-covered lilac bushes -- the body of a mysterious stranger, barely alive. Lori puts her plans on hold to team up with Julian Bright -- a devilishly attractive Roman Catholic priest -- and seek out the tramp's identity. Their adventure takes Lori and Julian from abandoned World War II airfields to homeless shelters -- places where the Christmas star shines dimly, if at all. With Aunt Dimity's ghostly guidance, Lori unveils the tragic secret that led the stranger to her door, and must confront painful truths about herself and the true meaning of a perfect family Christmas.
Once again I must sing Nancy Atheron's praises with her Aunt Dimity series. The way she crafts a mystery, it's so much more than just figuring out the answer, it's the journey of self-discovery at the same time. In this case a reminder of the true spirit of Christmas, which we ALL need as we run that race to get it all done in time.
Lori wants to uphold all the traditions that makes it feel like the holidays to her, but instead finds herself involved in discovering the identity of the tramp, after a little prodding from Aunt Dimity. The village Nativity Play seems like a ship out of control as well when Lori's father-in-law must step in to fill Bill's place while he is gone and everyone has their own interpretation of how things should go. Personalities clash, and the worst comes out in everyone, until they are reminded of what's really important, not the trappings of the season, but the spirit of giving and love. Then, like most of us when shown how selfish we were being without even realizing it, they step up to the plate in a big way, and somehow everything works out. We also get to meet another of Reginald's "cousins" which is always a poignant treat.
I can't recommend this series enough, I feel like Finch is just right around the corner and waiting for me to visit! Check out the Aunt Dimity's World Website for more info. I'm so glad I have so many more books to look forward to!