I loved this book, I loved the characters they seemed very real. Vic Carponti is about to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan as part of ” The Surge.” He will be gone for a year and of course that means he will miss Christmas. His wife Nicole is used to his deployments this is not his first and it will not be his last. The unit relies on Vic for his sense of humor and his ability to diffuse situations, and he loves his job and his unit so where they go he goes. This deployment feels different to every one involved from the start and once the unit is over seas that feeling only intensifies. Nicole is not only facing the holidays without Vic but it will the first Christmas without her father as well, but she does her best to keep busy and not let it bother her and Vic who is torn between wanting to stay with his unit on Christmas and wanting to make a hard holiday better for her especially since he admits he “misses a lot of them” tries to find a way to make everyone happy until events move out of his control and show them both the spirit of hoe and renewal that is so much a part of the holidays and a part of their lives. The novel has a good pace and rhythm to it as it switches between life in the states and the deployment. I loved some of the small details that are woven into the story such as the gnome that Nicole debates buying for Vic and the fact that she forces herself to buy a tree and put it up but it never seems to get decorated. The story is full of little details that make it seem all the more real. I also loved Jessica’s biography at the end. This is the first Jessica Scott book i have read, but I plan to read her others.