Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story

Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story

4.2 111
by Debbie Macomber
     
 

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In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber rings in the season with laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.
 
Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially not during such a wondrous time as New Year’s Eve. With an apprenticeSee more details below

Overview

In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber rings in the season with laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.
 
Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially not during such a wondrous time as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.      
 
Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.
 
A year later, Lucie is the head chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The bumbling but well-meaning angels Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy are back, along with their apprentice, Will (Where Angels Go). During an unauthorized trip to Earth to see Times Square on New Year's Eve, Will causes two lonely strangers to bump into each other and connect. Unfortunately, the timing is wrong, and now 11 months later the angels have to fix the mess they've made with Lucie and Aren. Lucie is busy running her new restaurant, and Aren is a food critic. The angels' "help" leads to a bad review for the restaurant, and the chances of a match between Lucie and Aren grow slimmer. A little more divine help, though, will reunite them in time for a memorable Christmas. VERDICT Best-selling Macomber (The Inn at Rose Harbor) spins another sweetly charming holiday romance that will please her many fans. [Library marketing; see Prepub Alert, 5/20/12.]
Kirkus Reviews
Four well-intentioned angels step in where they should not tread, and send a destined romance into messy territory, then must figure out how to make it right. On New Year's Eve in Times Square, angels Shirley, Goodness and Mercy decide to take their apprentice, Will, on an excursion to mingle with humans. But Goodness is distracted by the bright lights, and the friends get separated in the crowd. Will can't help himself and pushes two lonely strangers to notice each another. Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild connect like magnets, but both are starting new careers--Lucie as a restaurant owner and Aren as an undercover restaurant critic--and neither really has time for a romance. Aren, determined to see Lucie again, sets up another meeting in a week's time at the top of the Empire State Building. It doesn't work, and without any other way to get in touch, the relationship fails to get started. In heaven, though, the angels are in trouble. Aren and Lucie were meant to be together and were scheduled to meet at a later date. Having previously interfered, it's now their responsibility to make sure the two have a chance at love, but the more they try to force a romance, the more trouble they cause--and get themselves into. Nearly a year later, during the Christmas season, when wishes are met and prayers answered, Lucie and Aren might just find their happily-ever-after, with a little heavenly help. Macomber is practically a Christmas staple, and this short, sweet holiday story is like a quick kiss under the mistletoe after a hectic day. Macomber brings back the popular trio of Christmas angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy (introduced in A Season of Angels, 1993) and lets them loose again on the streets of New York. Not Macomber at her best--there are a number of details that stretch the reader's credulity even beyond the normal Christmas miracle storyline, and the characters aren't quite as well-drawn or textured as usual--but likely good enough for her many devoted fans. A fluffy confection that rings in Christmas in tried-and-true Macomber style, with romance and a touch of heavenly magic.
From the Publisher
“This delightful mix of romance, humor, hope and happenstance is the perfect recipe for holiday cheer.”—Examiner.com
 
“Rings in Christmas in tried-and-true Macomber style, with romance and a touch of heavenly magic.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“The angels’ antics are a hugely hilarious and entertaining bonus to a warm love story.”—Bookreporter
 
“[A] sweetly charming holiday romance.”—Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345528872
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/23/2012
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 7.36(h) x 0.82(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“This is really Earth?” Will, the apprentice angel, asked, lying on his stomach on a low-­flying cloud with his three mentors. His eyes widened as he gazed down on the crazed activity below.

“This is Earth,” Mercy informed their young charge with a tinge of pride. For all its problems, Earth was a fascinating place to visit with the tall buildings that butted up against the sky and people milling about with such purpose, most of them unaware of the spiritual world that surrounded them. More times than she could remember Mercy had lost patience with humans. Those who were considered the apex of God’s creations appeared to be slow-­witted and spiritually dull. Yet she loved them and treasured her Earthly assignments.

“It’s New York,” Shirley added, resting her chin in her hands as she gazed longingly below. “Oh, I do so love this city.”

“Manhattan, to be more precise,” Goodness clarified and ended with a little sigh, indicating that she, too, had missed visiting Earth.

The four hovered near Times Square, watching the clamoring crowds jockeying for space on New Year’s Eve.

Will’s eyes widened as he intently studied the scene taking place in the streets below. “Is it always like this—­so busy and crowded, I mean?”

“No, no, this is a special night. The people are gathering together to usher in the New Year.” Time was a concept reserved for Earth. In heaven it was much different. Consequently, the time restriction placed on the three Prayer Ambassadors when given Earthly assignments had caused more than one problem.

“Did Gabriel want us—­”

“Gabriel,” Shirley gasped, and quickly cut him off. “He doesn’t exactly know that we’ve brought you here. It would probably be best if you didn’t mention this short visit to him, okay?”

“Yes, please, it would be best not to let anyone know we’ve shown you Earth.” It went without saying they’d be in all kinds of trouble if Gabriel learned what they’d been up to.

“Gabriel means well but he tends to get a little prickly about these things,” Goodness explained to their young charge.

“Why is that?” Will stared at all three of them.

“Well, you see, we . . . the three of us . . . thought we should give you a bird’s-­eye view of Earth and these people God loves so much—­strictly for training purposes.” Mercy looked to her friends to expound upon their intentions, which were honorable if not a tad bit sneaky.

This Earthly visitation had been a spur-­of-­the-­moment decision. Mercy had been the one to suggest it. Naturally, Goodness was quick to agree, and after some discussion Shirley had seen the light as well.

Will, an apprentice angel, had been placed under their charge, and given this honor, it was only right that he get a glimpse of the trials and tribulations that awaited him once he started working as a Prayer Ambassador. The job could be a bit tricky, and the more Will understood the idiosyncrasies of humans, the better he would do once given an assignment from Gabriel.

Mercy was certain that under their tutorship, Will would make a fine Prayer Ambassador one day. He was young and enthusiastic, eager to learn about Earth and the role he would play.

As Mercy, who had falsely been labeled a troublemaker, had pointed out, theirs was a duty that required serious dedication. She wasn’t alone in believing this. Goodness—­oh, poor Goodness—­had gotten something of a reputation, too, and Mercy felt partially to blame, but that was another story entirely. Shirley tended to be a bit more on the straight-­and-­narrow path and had worked hard to reform her friends. In fact, Shirley, a former Guardian Angel, had done such a marvelous job, Gabriel had offered to let them train the promising young angel who was with them now.

Naturally, it was understood that if the three of them accepted this assignment training Will, then of course there would be no hanky-­panky, no tricks, no nothing. All three had agreed. This was a high honor indeed and their intentions were good.

Now here they were, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, in one of the most amazing cities on Earth. Mercy breathed in deeply, savoring the moment. Bringing Will had been a good excuse, but the fact of the matter was that she had missed visiting Earth. It’d been a good long while since their last assignment, and she missed the razzle-­dazzle of the big city.

“Isn’t Earth just marvelous?” Goodness said, her huge wings fluttering with delight. “Just look at all those neon lights. I’ve always been especially fond of light.”

“As we all are,” Shirley reminded them.

“Can we go down there with the people?” Will asked.

“Absolutely not.” Shirley’s loud protest was instantaneous.

“I don’t think it would hurt anything,” Goodness countered, her gaze still fixed on the bright lights of the city below.

Will glanced from one to the other.

“How will he ever learn about humans if he doesn’t have the opportunity to mingle with them?” Mercy asked, siding with her dearest friend. Shirley could be such a stickler for rules. Okay, so they’d originally promised not to get anywhere close to humans, but this would be a good teaching moment for Will.

“How will he ever learn how to work as a Prayer Ambassador if he doesn’t become familiar with humans?” Goodness protested.

Shirley wavered. While she might be opinionated on a number of topics, she could be easily swayed, which was the best part of working with her, Mercy felt.

“Well . . .”

“Do we hear the humans’ prayers?” Will asked.

“Oh, no,” Shirley explained. “Only God hears their prayers, and then He talks matters over with Gabriel and then . . .”

“Then Gabriel passes along those requests to us.”

“And we assist in answering them.”

“One of our roles is to help humans realize how much they can do for themselves with God’s help,” Goodness clarified.

“We try as best we can without interfering in their lives,” Shirley added quickly, glaring at Goodness and Mercy.

This was a warning and Mercy recognized it the instant her friend spoke.

“But first, and this is the most important part,” Goodness emphasized, “it’s our duty to teach these humans a lesson. Then and only then are we able to help them with their troubles.

“The real difficulty comes when they don’t want to learn.” Goodness shook her head because this aspect of the job was often a challenge. “Some people seem to want God to step in and do as they ask without making a single contribution to the effort.”

“It doesn’t work like that,” Mercy said, although she’d done a fair bit of finagling to help these poor witless souls. In theory, answering prayers didn’t sound the least bit difficult. Unfortunately, humans were sometimes completely dense.

“They can be so stubborn,” Goodness said, shaking her head again.

“Strong willed,” Shirley agreed.

“Oh, yes, and once—­” Mercy snapped her mouth closed. It was best not to reveal their past antics for fear it would mislead their young charge into thinking that perhaps he should follow in their footsteps. Gabriel would take exception to that.

“Once?” Will pressed. “What happened?”

“Never mind,” Shirley said, reading the situation perfectly. “Some things are best laid to rest and not discussed.”

“Can I go down and be with the crowd?” Will asked again. “I won’t say anything to Gabriel.”

“He isn’t the only one,” Shirley blurted out. “I mean, we shouldn’t mutter a word of this to anyone in heaven.”

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“This delightful mix of romance, humor, hope and happenstance is the perfect recipe for holiday cheer.”—Examiner.com
 
“Rings in Christmas in tried-and-true Macomber style, with romance and a touch of heavenly magic.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“The angels’ antics are a hugely hilarious and entertaining bonus to a warm love story.”—Bookreporter
 
“[A] sweetly charming holiday romance.”—Library Journal

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