by Debbie Macomber
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.
My thoughts on this book:
Josie takes a temporary job position in Ponder, Alaska, with plans to return home to Seattle in six months once fall returns. She’s looks forward to starting a new job at a fancy restaurant while working alongside a renowned chef. It’s a huge opportunity and Josie can’t wait. The issue is that since she’s been in Ponder, she’s grown quite fond of the place. She’s also been spending time with a local man named Palmer and she really cares for him. Josie doesn’t want to leave him and he’s ready to marry her, but she can’t just pass up this job opportunity of a lifetime. She looks forward to heading back home where her mom is, but she’s torn between two worlds. Josie isn’t positive if living a remote life in Ponder will be fulfilling enough for her, while Palmer knows that Ponder is where his life is, and it’s where he wants to stay. Time passes quickly and Josie misses her chance to leave on the last ferry before traveling stops for the winter. Will she find a way back to Seattle, or will Palmer find a way to coax her to stay in Ponder so they can start a life together?
I’d excepted early on that a long-term relationship with him would be problematic. Repeatedly I’d told myself that once I was back in Seattle, I’d be able to forget him. Now I wasn’t so sure I could make that happen.
I really enjoy reading Debbie Macomber books, especially her Christmas stories. Although this one isn’t as Christmassy as I expected, it’s still a perfect holiday read for this time of year. I fell in love with the cold and snowy setting as they’re just heading into the winter season in Alaska. Plus, all the talk about food made me hungry for a hot meal on a cold day!
“You baked bread today?” he asked, sitting on a stool inside the lodge kitchen while I browned the meat and sautéed the onions for his dinner.
“I baked bread yesterday,” I reminded him.
“Two loaves?” The man ate more than anyone I’d ever known.
“I gave one loaf to Palmer,” he told me. “He was glad to get it, too.”
I thought the plot and characters were both interesting. I fell in love with Palmer’s character and appreciated all of his patience and perseverance with their relationship. He’s willing to give Josie the time that she needs while still hoping to make things work no matter what, but he was never overbearing. I thought Jack was a nice additional character. He was funny and someone I think I would enjoy sitting down and having a meal with. I loved the support he offered Palmer too. I was a little confused with Josie at times because it didn’t seem like she was willing to give her all toward the relationship, but obviously her focus was starting her new career.
I didn’t find the story too predictable and it was quite twisty. The book didn’t end how I expected it to either, which was nice. Overall, this is a heartwarming, short and sweet read for the holidays.
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 2, 2018)
Thanks for reading my review. What are you reading during the holiday season? Are there any Christmas books you’d like to recommend? Feel free to share your thoughts below!