TITLE: CHRISTMAS IN ALASKA
AUTHOR: DEBBIE MACOMBER
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Books
RELEASE DATE: 2016
GENRE: Fiction, romantic comedy.
FORMAT: Paperback, 394 pages.
#1 = MAIL ORDER BRIDE
(Orig. 1987, revised/refreshed 2016)
#2 = THE SNOW BRIDE
IDENTIFICATION: ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1913-9
MY REVIEW: 5 Stars out of 5
“TWO WINTERTIME ROMANTIC COMEDIES LEAVE THE READER LAUGHING ALL SEASON LONG!”
#1 – MAIL ORDER BRIDE
Being jilted by her fiancé is just the beginning of chaos for Caroline Myers. Her two well-meaning match-making elderly aunts are determined to heal her heart and to do that they’ll have to be very crafty with a plan that’s sure to guarantee a husband for their niece. They’ll have to depend on the family’s “special recipe” to help their niece be “agreeable” as the plan unfolds on an Alaska vacation they’ve gifted to Caroline.
Upon arrival in Alaska, Caroline assumes her numerous eager greeters to be a welcoming party for all tourists. Likewise, she perceives her tour guide to be very handsome and unusually attentive. However, her perceptions are a bit tainted from the influence of the aunts’ spiked hot tea sent along to help keep her warm. What appears to be an indigenous Alaskan welcoming ceremony is a wedding ceremony, but Caroline doesn’t fully understand that until the following morning. The tour guide, a.k.a. husband Paul Trevor is under the impression that Caroline has agreed to come to Alaska to marry him because of their correspondence. But he doesn’t realize he’s been corresponding with Caroline’s elderly aunts who have responded to his advertisement for a mail order bride, including submitting a photo of Caroline as part of that effort.
A comedy of errors, confrontations, and challenges continues throughout the novel. Caroline is deeply involved in the adventure of her life in the remote wild Alaska, all the while trying to reverse the marriage contract and hopefully return home. Husband Paul Trevor tries to be patient but doesn’t want to give up his wife, hoping that he’ll eventually be a legitimate husband and that Caroline will be his agreeable wife.
Amidst all the mix-up and difficulty, Caroline learns what it means to survive and thrive in remote Alaska. She learns to love the indigenous people, and she gains respect for their way of life. Both Caroline and Paul are at a critical crossroad in their life, and the decisions they make will last a lifetime. Both of them need to exercise caution and care, and a bit of sacrifice as well as honesty, if they can hope for a good outcome of their unusual contractual relationship, albeit a legally binding mess.
#2 – THE SNOW BRIDE
Jenna Walsh is destined to be a modern-day mail-order bride, an e-mail-order bride. She bids farewell to her successful career and her five-times-married mother as she heads to Alaska to meet her intended husband.
Her flight’s seat companion, Reid Kenner, is not impressed with her prissy nature and even less by her plan. Upon arrival at the rendezvous point in Fairbanks, Jenna’s e-mail Romeo is a no-show. Excusing his absence, Jenna is sure he’s encountered a problem, and she tries to enlist transportation to go to where he resides. To help Jenna reach her destination, Reid Kenner agrees to fly her in his four-seater aircraft to a community located on the way to his home destination. Upon mid-air discovery of the identity of Jenna’s e-mail Romeo, Reid abruptly refuses to follow-through with that effort and tries to convince her that the man has lied to her; Reid is well-acquainted with the man and knows he’s very different from how he presented himself to Jenna over the computer. After abruptly altering his flight pattern, Reid flies her to his remote tundra town in hopes of his sister convincing Jenna of the true character of the falsely portrayed Romeo. Unfortunately, upon landing, they discover that Reid’s sister is out-of-town. Feeling kidnapped, Jenna is confined to the sparsely populated snowbound outpost until the weather improves and that could be quite some time. To make matters worse, Reid’s sister is the only woman in town, and with her being out-of-town, that makes Jenna the only woman in town, and Jenna is concerned about that status.
A small cast of colorful characters brings abundant laughs to this romantic comedy. The future of every person in town is affected by Jenna’s arrival, her life’s choices, and her relationship with her mother. As truths emerge, survival skills expand, misunderstandings fire up, and musical entertainments of the remote tundra town come out, the sleepy Alaskan outpost becomes ignited with the prospect of more women among its residents. Jenna finds herself admired by more men than she ever dared think possible and laughs for the reader abound.
Testosterone launches into overdrive, and a lively confrontation between the e-mail Romeo and the tundra kidnapper heightens with the unexpected arrival of guests from Jenna’s past in search of her. Jenna must sift through the accusations, declarations, and make one of the most important decisions of her life, all the while the reader is sitting on the edge of their seat wondering what could happen next and laughing so hard that their side hurts.
Both of these romantic comedies now hold a reserved place of “favorite wintertime reads” for me, and each delivers a very satisfying conclusion. Debbie Macomber crafts a very believable frozen Alaska; the remoteness and sense of isolation and fragility of life in the tundra are undeniable. In contrast, and in complement, the comedy is each story is not on the short side, especially in SNOW BRIDE. I will forever have an image engraved in my mind about a musical saw and the entertaining evening provided by the bachelor men of the tundra. Numerous times while reading both of these stories, I found myself laughing out loud as I turned the pages eager to discover what would happen next. This special edition novel was a delightful winter holiday read for me, and it was very entertaining. I believe it would be highly entertaining to read this special edition novel at any time of the year, but especially during the winter months.
CHRISTMAS IN ALASKA, comprised of MAIL-ORDER BRIDE and THE SNOW BRIDE, receives a huge YES on my recommendation to read.
ALICE M. BATZEL
Published Playwright, Journalist, Freelance Writer
Review posted (3/6/2017) on:
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Review posted (4/20/2017) on: