Maudlin tale of a tragic accident on Christmas Eve. Years haven’t dimmed the memory of that awful night for Terry McQuinn, a handyman’s son from a small island off the coast of Maine. He’s never forgotten his humble origins, either, even though he’s now a million-dollar dealmaker in Hollywood. As a boy, he often helped his dad open up the vacation houses of the wealthy summer people. And one fateful winter afternoon, he went with rich Mr. Halworth and his daughter Katherine on a ride to the hospital. Mr. Halworth liked to dress up as Santa for the sick kids, dabbing whipped cream on their noses and telling a few jokes. But he lost control of his Cadillac on the ice, striking and killing a young woman and her baby. The memory haunts Terry still. And whatever happened to Katherine? He finds out when he comes back to Maine after his father’s death. It turns out that Mr. Halworth was a simple man at heart; in fact, what he really wanted was just to be a carpenter like Terry’s dad—a notion the ambitious, social-climbing Mrs. Halworth detested. The Halworths divorced after the accident and Mr. Halworth disappeared. Terry moved up in the world, though he’s still a thoughtful soul, given to musing on the meaning of it all. When he encounters Katherine (who is brave) and her adopted daughter Olivia (who is blind) out by the old house she’s inherited, he’s immediately smitten. There must be something he can do for this lovely single mother . . . . Hey, how about finding her long-lost father? Even though Mr. Halworth is homeless and living on the streets of Boston, his sanity shattered, Terry manages to get him back to Maine just in time, saving daughter and granddaughter from the teeth of a terrible gale. Happiness of a sort awaits all . . . .
Melancholy soap from the author of Night Crossing (2001), etc., fraught with coincidence and banal philosophizing about nothing much.