The publisher's description of For the Love of St. Nick:
Two California boys, coping with the loss of their mother, find themselves uprooted when their father, a Navy Commander, is transferred to a base in northern Michigan. With the youngest boy continuously sick the family must survive military life and the northern elements as they dwell in their little hunter's cabin on Lake Huron. When the boy's father, the commander, must leave prior to Christmas to fulfill his secret mission for the United States Military, the boys are surprised by a chance encounter that saves a life, and reunites a family.
I enjoyed the sentimental reminiscences of their mother the boys, Johnny and Tiger, share and the descriptions of their winter excursions--hockey on the pond, snowmobiling, and hikes in the woods. Canadians will also appreciate these passages:
Hockey became our life. Johnny and I couldn't wait to feel the ice under our skates. Pete, Sammy, Alex, and Cooper, whose fathers also worked at the base, greeted us enthusiastically, smacking their sticks against our pads or giving us high fives. We played for hours in one pickup game after another, acting like John Ogrodnick of the Red Wings or Wayne Gretzky, "The Great One", from the Edmonton Oilers. For his age, Johnny was one of the best skaters on the lake. (Maccagnone 2008:16)
I am not particularly taken by the religious sentimentality but can definitely appreciate the magic and miracles of the holidays and the hope For the Love of St. Nick evokes. This is a book I think appeals to all ages and I'm sure my 9 year old son will appreciate it as I now place it on his bookshelf of holiday reading!