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.
Pretty classic Debbie Macomber –a swoon-worthy hero (even if he isn’t the most romantic) and independent yet vulnerable heroine. This story, however, starts after Palmer and Josie have already started dating and the conflict really isn’t whether or not they’ll get together, it’s really about what the characters are willing to sacrifice for each other and for their relationship. I would have enjoyed a little more action and less introspection, but the story is very much what you expect from Macomber — sweetness, some struggles, and a happily ever after.
NOTE: I listened to this on audio and I could NOT stand the male narrator. It sounded more like Fargo than Alaska, and he made Jack sound like some uncivilized 80-year-old hillbilly. The female narrator did a better job (in my opinion) of making him sound like the 50-something hunting guide he’s described as. If I hadn’t been traveling, I would have tried to find the written book so as not to have to listen to the rest of it, but I wanted to know how the story ended so I was stuck.