Beth Carpenter grew up on a farm reading everything she could get her hands on, from cereal boxes to the encyclopedia. Saturday visits to the library were the highlight of her week. Due to motion sickness, she couldn't read on the school bus so she made up her own stories instead.
She still consumes books like popcorn and loves to create happy endings for her imaginary friends. She believes dogs, books, and laughter are key to happiness. And dark chocolate. And love.
Now her granddaughter, Gwen Heatherton, has inherited the farm, and Luke wants nothing to do with a woman so self-centered she wouldn’t even visit her dying grandmother. But when Gwen requests his expertise to restore Christmas Town’s carousel in time to celebrate the anniversary of her grandmother’s friends, he agrees to help. For her grandmother’s sake.
As he works alongside Gwen in the carousel restoration, Luke discovers she’s not the selfish person he thought she was. If anything, she’s too generous with her time and energy, constantly volunteering for whatever needs doing, and in Christmas Town in December, that’s a lot. When Luke gets saddled with a canine escape artist, Gwen is there to help with that too.
The more time he spends with Gwen, the more Luke grows to admire her. He slowly learns to trust again. But Gwen has a secret that involves Luke. If he finds out, the foundation of trust they’ve built may be destroyed. And trust isn’t something that’s easy to restore.
Toiling away amid the looming palm trees and decaying bungalows, a struggling young writer (who bears a resemblance to the author) spins fantastic stories from his fertile imagination upon his clacking typewriter. Trying not to miss his girlfriend (away studying in Mexico), the nameless writer steadily crafts his literary effort--until strange things begin happening around him.
Starting with a series of peculiar phone calls, the writer then finds clumps of seaweed on his doorstep. But as the incidents escalate, his friends fall victim to a series of mysterious "accidents"--some of them fatal. Aided by Elmo Crumley, a savvy, street-smart detective, and a reclusive actress of yesteryear with an intense hunger for life, the wordsmith sets out to find the connection between the bizarre events, and in doing so, uncovers the truth about his own creative abilities.