In 1969, William Foster, Sr., a thirty-three-year-old army reserve soldier, is lost in action in Vietnam. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Sarah Ann; a six-year-old daughter, Lila; and a thirteen-year-old son, Will, Jr. They live in a trailer on the coast of Maine, and parked beside the trailer is their father’s beautiful but unreliable lobster boat, the Sarah Ann. The boat’s graceful curves and beautiful wood are a painful daily reminder of Will Sr.’s plans and dreams — dreams now lost with him.

The December afternoons are lonely and dark for Lila and Will, who must come home alone from school while their mother works. They get scared when they find evidence that someone has been visiting the trailer, and when they come home to find a rugged, cantankerous, somewhat smelly old man watching TV, it takes them a while to realize he’s…Santa Claus.

What Santa does with the lobster boat and how he handles Will’s one and only Christmas dream — to have his dad back — is the story of THE BOAT OF DREAMS. It brings laughter, surprises, and tears and tells through an unforgettable story how love is the one power that can overcome all.


Richard Preston is a writer for The New Yorker and bestselling author who has written books about infectious disease, bioterrorism, redwoods and other subjects, as well as fiction. His writings include THE HOT ZONE, which was a # 1 New York Times bestseller, THE DEMON IN THE FREEZER, and the novel THE COBRA EVENT, both of which were also New York Times bestsellers. Preston won the American Institute of Physics Award for his book about astronomy, FIRST LIGHT, and he is the only non-medical doctor ever to win the CDC’s Champion of Prevention Award. He lives with his wife on a farm in New Jersey.