Christmas in Cedar Cove: 5-B Poppy Lane/A Cedar Cove Christmas
  • Christmas in Cedar Cove: 5-B Poppy Lane/A Cedar Cove Christmas
  • Christmas in Cedar Cove: 5-B Poppy Lane/A Cedar Cove Christmas

Christmas in Cedar Cove: 5-B Poppy Lane/A Cedar Cove Christmas

3.8 149
by Debbie Macomber

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First, drop in at 5-B Poppy Lane, where you'll get a chance to visit with Helen Shelton, her granddaughter Ruth and Ruth's husband, Paul. They'll offer you a cup of mulled cider and the story of how they met—and they'll share Helen's breathtaking adventures during the Second World War.

Then drive out to Grace and Cliff

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First, drop in at 5-B Poppy Lane, where you'll get a chance to visit with Helen Shelton, her granddaughter Ruth and Ruth's husband, Paul. They'll offer you a cup of mulled cider and the story of how they met—and they'll share Helen's breathtaking adventures during the Second World War.

Then drive out to Grace and Cliff Harding's place. They have a small horse ranch not far from Cedar Cove. Mary Jo Wyse and her little girl, Noelle, will be there, too. Join them in reliving their memories of the Christmas Mary Jo came to Cedar Cove, pregnant and alone, and had her baby in the Hardings' stable (well, actually the apartment above it). That's the night firefighter Mack McAfee began to fall for Mary Jo and the idea of a family—with her.

Product Details

Publication date:
Cedar Cove Series
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 11.82(h) x 0.77(d)

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Ruth Shelton hurried out of her classroom-management lecture at the University of Washington, where she was completing her master's of education degree. Clutching her books, she dashed across campus, in a rush to get home. By now the mail would have been delivered to her small rental house three blocks from the school.

"Ruth," Tina Dupont called, stopping her in midflight. "There's another antiwar rally this afternoon at—"

"Sorry, I've got to run," Ruth said, jogging past her friend and feeling more than a little guilty. Other students cleared a path for her; wherever she was headed must have seemed urgent—and it was, but only to her. Since Christmas, four months ago, she'd been corresponding with Sergeant Paul Gordon, USMC, who was stationed in Afghanistan. There'd been recent reports of fighting, and she hadn't received a letter or an email from Paul in three days. Three interminable days. Not since they'd initially begun their correspondence had there been such a lapse. Paul usually wrote every day and she did, too. They emailed as often as possible. Ruth had strong feelings about the war in Iraq, although her opinions didn't match those of her parents.

Earlier in the school year, Ruth had been part of a protest rally on campus. But no matter what her political views on the subject, she felt it was important to support American troops wherever they might be serving. In an effort to do that, Ruth had voluntarily mailed a Christmas card and letter to a nameless soldier.

Paul Gordon was the young man who'd received that Christmas card, and to Ruth's surprise he'd written her back and enclosed his photograph. Paul was from Seattle and he'd chosen her card because of the Seattle postmark. He'd asked her lots of questions—about her history, her family, her interests—and closed with a postscript that said he hoped to hear from her again.

When she first got his letter, Ruth had hesitated. She felt she'd done her duty, supported the armed services in a way she was comfortable doing. This man she'd never met was asking her to continue corresponding with him. She wasn't sure she wanted to become that involved. Feeling uncertain, she'd waited a few days before deciding.

During that time, Ruth had read and reread his letter and studied the head shot of the clean-cut handsome marine sergeant in dress uniform. His dark brown eyes had seemed to stare straight through her—and directly into her heart. After two days, she answered his letter with a short one of her own and added her email address at the bottom of the page. Ruth had a few concerns she wanted him to address before she could commit herself to beginning this correspondence. Being as straightforward and honest as possible, she explained her objections to the war in Iraq. She felt there was a more legitimate reason for troops to be in Afghanistan and wanted to know his stand. A few days later he emailed her. Paul didn't mince words. He told her he believed the United States had done the right thing in entering Iraq and gave his reasons. He left it up to her to decide if she wanted to continue their correspondence. Ruth emailed him back and once again listed her objections to the American presence in the Middle East. His response came a day later, suggesting they "agree to disagree." He ended the email with the same question he'd asked her earlier. Would she write him?

At first, Ruth wasn't going to. They were diametrically opposed in their political views. But in the end, even recognizing the conflict between their opinions, she did write. Their correspondence started slowly. She enjoyed his wry wit and his unflinching determination to make a difference in the world. His father had fought in Vietnam, he said, and in some ways the war in Afghanistan seemed similar—the hostile terrain, the unpredictability of the enemy, the difficult conditions. For her part, she mentioned that at twenty-five she'd returned to school to obtain her master's of education degree. Then, gradually, without being fully aware of how it had happened, Ruth found herself spending part of every day writing or emailing Paul. Despite the instant nature of email, and its convenience, they both enjoyed interspersing their online messages with more formal letters. There was something so…permanent about a real letter. As well, depending on his duty assignment, Paul didn't always have computer access.

After they'd been corresponding regularly for a couple of months, Paul asked for her picture. Eventually she'd mailed him her photograph, but only after she'd had her hair and makeup done at one of those "glamour" studios. Although she wasn't fashion-model beautiful, she considered herself fairly attractive and wanted to look her absolute best for Paul, although she didn't entirely understand why it mattered so much. For years, she'd been resigned to the fact that she wasn't much good at relationships. In high school she'd been shy, and while she was an undergraduate, she'd dated a little but tended to be reserved and studious. Her quiet manner didn't seem to appeal to the guys she met. It was only when she stepped in front of a classroom that she truly became herself. She loved teaching, every single aspect of it. In the process, Ruth lost her hesitation and her restraint, and to her astonishment discovered that this enthusiasm had begun to spill over into the rest of her life. Suddenly men started to notice her. She enjoyed the attention—who wouldn't?—and had dated more in the past few months than in the preceding four years.

For the picture, her short brown hair had been styled in loose curls. Her blue eyes were smiling and friendly, which was exactly the impression she hoped to convey. She was a little shocked by the importance of Paul's re-action—by her need that he find her attractive.

She waited impatiently for his response. A week later she received an email. Paul seemed to like what he saw in her photograph and soon they were writing and emailing back and forth at a feverish pace. A day without some form of communication from Paul felt empty now.

Ruth had never had a long-distance relationship before, and the growing intensity of her feelings for this man she'd never met took her by surprise. She wasn't a teenager with a schoolgirl crush. Ruth was a mature, responsible adult. Or at least she had been until she slipped a simple Christmas card into the mailbox—and got a reply from a handsome marine sergeant named Paul Gordon.

Ruth walked quickly to the rental house she shared with Lynn Blumenthal, then ran up the front steps to the porch. Lynn was eighteen and away from home and family for the first time. The arrangement suited both of them, and despite the disparity in their ages and interests, they'd gotten along fairly well. With her heart pounding hard, Ruth forced herself to draw in a deep breath as she started toward the mailbox.

The screen door flew open and Lynn came out. "What are you doing home?" she asked, then shook her head. "Never mind, I already know. You're looking for a letter from soldier boy."

Ruth wasn't going to deny the obvious. "I haven't heard from him in three days."

Lynn rolled her eyes. "I don't understand you."

"I know." Ruth didn't want to get into another discussion with her roommate. Lynn had made her feelings about this relationship known from the outset, although as Ruth had gently tried to tell her, it was none of her business. That didn't prevent the younger woman from expressing her views. Lynn said that Ruth was only setting herself up for heartache. A part of Ruth actually agreed, but by the time she realized what was happening, she was emo tionally involved with Paul.

"You hardly ever see Clay anymore," Lynn chastised, hands on her hips. "He called and asked about you the other night."

Ruth stared at the small black mailbox. "Clay and I are just friends."

"Not according to him."

It was true that they'd been seeing each other quite a bit following a Halloween party last October. Like her, Clay Matthews was obtaining his master's of education, and they seemed to have a lot in common. But her interest in him had started to wane even before she'd mailed that Christmas card to Paul. The problem was, Clay hadn't noticed.

"I'm sorry he's disappointed."

"Clay is decent and hardworking, and the way you've treated him the last few months is…is terrible." Lynn, who at five foot ten stood a good seven inches taller than Ruth, could be intimidating, especially with her mouth twisted in that grimace of disapproval.

Ruth had tried to let Clay down easily, but it hadn't worked. They'd gone to the library together last Thursday. Unfortunately, that had been a mistake. She'd known it almost right away when Clay pressured her to have coffee with him afterward. It would've been better just to end the relationship and forget about staying friends. He was younger, for one thing, and while that hadn't seemed important earlier, it did now. Perhaps it was wrong to compare him to Paul, but Ruth couldn't help it. Measured against Paul, Clay seemed immature, demanding and insecure.

"You said he phoned?" Frowni ng, she glanced at Lynn.

Lynn nodded. "He wants to know what's going on."

Oh, brother! Ruth couldn't have made it plainer had she handed him divorce papers. Unwilling to be cruel, she'd tried to bolster his ego by referring to all the positive aspects of his personality—but apparently, that had only led him to think the opposite of what she was trying to tell him. He'd refused to take her very obvious hints, and in her frustration, she'd bluntly announced that she wasn't interested in seeing him anymore. That seemed pretty explicit to her; how he could be confused about it left Ruth shaking her head.

The fact that he'd phoned and cried on her roommate's shoulder was a good example of what she found adolescent about his behavior. She was absolutely certain Paul would never do that. If he had a problem, he'd take it directly to the source.

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Christmas in Cedar Cove 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 149 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine my disappointment. I had just finished reading 1022 Evergreen Place anxious to read Christmas in Cedar Cove to discover that it's two books I've already read, in 2006 and 2008. If you're a new commer to the series, it's a nice way to get to know the characters. However, if you're a fan and wait each September for the next book in the series, you'll be disappointed. Shame on me for not checking the inside page for the publish dates, shame on you for not being upfront that it's reprinted books with a couple pages of new material.
pugmom1041 More than 1 year ago
This is VERY misleading!! If you have read "A Cedar Cove Christmas" do not buy this book. It is the same story that is at the end of this book, but titled "Christmas in Cedar Cove". I thought this was a continuation of the other story, it's not. Very disappointed and a big waste of money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off let me say I hate having to buy a book twice. I enjoyed reading A Cedar Cove Christmas but I had purchased it by itself as well it should be, not tacked on to some other purchase. As for 5-B Poppy Lane, if I had wanted a history lesson I would go back to school and get my degree. Not enough of a "feel good" story here even with the happy ending.
Snowgypsy More than 1 year ago
I love how Debbie turned the story of Jesus' birth into a real life story of today. Jesus had 3 Wise men...this story has 3 Wyse men....very creative. I love this part of the sequel.
harstan More than 1 year ago
5-B Poppy Lane". In Cedar Cove, Washington, anti-war protester Ruth Shelton has been exchanging letters and email with USMC Sergeant Paul Gordon. However, he is coming home from Afghanistan on leave and wants to meet her in person. She has doubts because of his occupation. Adding a new prologue and epilogue to frame 5-B Poppy Lane (originally part of the Hearts Divided anthology), this is a terrific Washington State novella starring a heroic Marine and a realistic woman with doubts about a relationship with a soldier. "A Cedar Cove Christmas". On Christmas Eve, pregnant Mary Jo Wyse comes to Cedar Cove, Washington seeking the father of her unborn David Rhodes. There are no commercial accommodations available in town, but Grace and Cliff Harding allow Mary Jo to sleep in the loft of their stable. When Mary Jo goes into labor, paramedic Mack McAfee attends to her. The three Wyse men, (bumbling brothers Linc, Mel and Ned) arrive to help their sister. Meanwhile Mary Jo has decided that instead of confronting David, who she has not found, she would prefer to be held by kindhearted Mack. However she doubts even this nice EMT would want to get involved with a woman who has just given birth. A Cedar Cove Christmas is an amusing and angst account of the Christmas saga with Puget Sound serving as the locale instead of Bethlehem; as a stable is a stable when it comes to hospitality for a pregnant woman. The cast is solid but it is the visitor Mary Jo who provides the anxiety, focus and equilibrium to a very Merry Christmas romp. Harriet Klausner
JoyECS More than 1 year ago
Christmas time is my time of reviewing what God has done for me. I am happy that Debbie write these well meaning books.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Igtg soon. Im waiting for the bus rite now. And i hve my instument so that makes it hard. Its kinda weighty.)) She smiled and purred happily. "I always wanted you ya know." She said.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't love this one just because it is mostly excerpts from a couple other books in the series with only a minimal amount of pages of something new ... I just thought it would be its own thing...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed 5-B Poppy Lane. I have always enjoyed stories with history involved because it brings stories to life.
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Nelleput More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting way to introduce someone into the Cedar Cove family. I found the three brothers to be unrealistically bumbling, but the story line was refreshing. This is the way to get two books for one.
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TammyK1 More than 1 year ago
My mom gave me this for Christmas and what a great gift! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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Heart warming as usual.
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