Several weeks before Christmas, tension is rising in Miramar Bay along the California coast as wildfires threaten outlying homes and the town itself. Ryan Eames is a police officer and single mother of 11-year-old Liam, a very quiet, extraordinarily gifted artist who struggles with delicate health and the derision of his peers.
The pandemonium caused by the unpredictable fires draws Ryan into dangerous circumstances as the police force supports firefighters in evacuating people from their homes. When Ryan assists in the rescue of Ethan Lange minutes before his house explodes into flames, she has no way of knowing how that chance encounter will change Liam’s and her life forever.
Divorced six years ago and still burdened by betrayal and pain, Ethan now also grapples with the loss of all he owned in the fire. A banker and Claymation artist with miniatures, Ethan is drawn into Ryan’s life through mutual friends. Ethan joins Ryan on patrol when he is deputized to help her with securing the valuables in homes threatened by fire and to rescue animals escaping the scorched chaos. Ethan soon meets Liam and feels an instant kinship with the boy, so like himself. As Ethan draws Liam out in ways no other adult besides Ryan has been able to do, their trust and affection for each other grows, and Ethan gives Liam an unthreatening opportunity to showcase his work.
As well, Liam draws Ethan—and eventually the entire community—into a hummingbird rescue operation. As the miniature birds flee the fire and find a welcome in Miramar Bay, they become symbols of winged hope in a situation where courage and optimism are threatened daily.
Humorous, tender, and emotionally satisfying—without being overly sentimental—this novel for adults, though not focusing on the biblical “reason for the season” in Jesus’ birth, nevertheless offers a gratifying picture of shalom, where people with broken hearts discover new love, and where neighbors come together for the good of their community and God’s creation.