From a nice Jewish girl, Christmas book reviews, day 1.
From the publisher:
“[Debbie] Macomber brings her signature charm to this appealing tale of an aspiring chef. . . . This charmer will please Macomber fans and newcomers alike.”—Publishers Weekly
Debbie Macomber brings us to the Alaskan wilderness for a magical Christmas tale about finding love where it’s least expected.
Before beginning her dream job as sous chef in one of Seattle’s hottest new restaurants, Josie Avery takes a summer position cooking at a lakeside lodge in the remote Alaskan town of Ponder. Josie falls for the rustic charms of the local community—including Jack Corcoran, the crotchety keeper of Ponder’s famed sourdough starter, and, in particular, the quiet and intense Palmer Saxon, a famed master swordsmith.
Josie and Palmer become close during the long Alaskan summer days, but Josie knows that, come fall, she’ll be returning to reality and the career she’s worked so hard for. Palmer, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to make Josie his wife and to keep her in Ponder. But Josie can’t imagine abandoning her mother back in the Emerald City and sacrificing her career to stay in this isolated town—not even for a man she’s quickly coming to love.
Fate has other plans. Josie misses the last boat out of town before winter sets in, stranding her in Ponder and putting her dream job at risk. As the holidays approach, Josie and Palmer must grapple with the complications that arise when dreams confront reality, and the Christmas magic that can happen when they put their faith in love.
Debbie Macomber is at her best in this beautiful holiday story about the far journeys we travel to find a place to call home.
I was really excited about this book. I love Christmas books, and have really enjoyed most of Macomber’s. I also love any book set in Alaska; living in Florida, it is like another world to me. And I’m a foodie, so any book with a chef as the main character automatically grabs my interest.
While I enjoyed this, it did not live up to my expectations. I actually put it down a couple of times to read other books, then came back and eventually finished it. I know that when that happens, it means the book is not holding my attention as well as it should. I didn’t get lost in the story, and I was kinda bored through much of it.
The plot was a geographic love problem; Palmer lives in such a small town that when winter comes, it can take weeks to get out and there’s no mail service. Josie is from Seattle, and loves living in that city. They fall in love but never tell each other and of course, this being a Debbie Macomber book, their physical relationship is limited to kissing. I can live with that, I know what to expect. But every obstacle was easily anticipated and worse, there were no real surprises and dammit, I want to be surprised sometimes.
I did like these characters and that helped me keep reading because I wanted them to get their happy ending. The secondary characters were not developed at all, they were just used as a way to move the plot on occasion.
Maybe the Hallmark movie will be better. I’m assuming there will be one, I think they have made movies from her last several Christmas books. I’ll wait and see.
10/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
ALASKAN HOLIDAY by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine Books (October 2, 2018). ISBN 978-0399181283. 256p.