The Christmas Wedding

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Overview

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally...
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The Christmas Wedding

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Overview

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Gaby Summerhill's husband died three years ago and since then, her four children have drifted apart, each preoccupied by their own hectic lives. Now, with Christmas in the air, Gaby announces that she is getting remarried and she has invited her offspring to join the double festivities. None of her children know the identity of the groom, nor can they suspect the other surprises that await them at this unforeseen reunion. A heartwarming James Patterson Christmas story in the spirit of the season.

Brenda Castro
"If you enjoy family stories where the family seems as real as a your next door neighbors, and want to feel a bit of the magic of the holiday season then you're going to want to pick this book up. Normally when I think of James Patterson I think of action packed thrillers, but he can certainly pull of a nice Christmas time family story as well. Highly recommended!"
Pamela Mason
"A heartwarming story of family and love with Christmas cheer as an added bonus. This is a quick storyline that will delight readers with bits of humor and tender moments. A good book to brighten any day."
SocratesBookReviews
"A touching and emotional read. James Patterson is mostly noted for his thrillers, but he knows the romance genre too. Not to mention that he throws in a few twists along the way. The characters feel like real people with real problems. They are people I truly came to care about. The storyline flowed beautifully from page to page. I couldn't put this book down. I wanted to know what would happen next. It's a fast-paced story with realistic characters. I can honestly say I will miss these characters very much."
JustAnotherNewsBlog.com Dina
"A heartwarming story about family, love, and second chances...I enjoyed The Christmas Wedding very much...If you equate his name with thrillers and Alex Cross novels, you are in for a surprise, too."
SteelerGirl83.Blogspot.com
"A story to get you in the Christmas mood with family, snow, weddings and of course love....I kept wondering who the groom was going to be and by the end I was glad she chose who she did...Patterson's ability to weave a story that's centered around true-to-life characters is, I'm sure, one of the reasons why he's a bestselling romance (and suspense!) author."
SocratesBookReviews Yvonne
"A touching and emotional read. James Patterson is mostly noted for his thrillers, but he knows the romance genre too. Not to mention that he throws in a few twists along the way. The characters feel like real people with real problems. They are people I truly came to care about. The storyline flowed beautifully from page to page. I couldn't put this book down. I wanted to know what would happen next. It's a fast-paced story with realistic characters. I can honestly say I will miss these characters very much."
SteelerGirl83.Blogspot.com Renee
"A story to get you in the Christmas mood with family, snow, weddings and of course love....I kept wondering who the groom was going to be and by the end I was glad she chose who she did...Patterson's ability to weave a story that's centered around true-to-life characters is, I'm sure, one of the reasons why he's a bestselling romance (and suspense!) author."
From the Publisher
"If you enjoy family stories where the family seems as real as a your next door neighbors, and want to feel a bit of the magic of the holiday season then you're going to want to pick this book up. Normally when I think of James Patterson I think of action packed thrillers, but he can certainly pull of a nice Christmas time family story as well. Highly recommended!"—Brenda Castro

"A heartwarming story of family and love with Christmas cheer as an added bonus. This is a quick storyline that will delight readers with bits of humor and tender moments. A good book to brighten any day."—Pamela Mason, MasonCanyon.blogspot.com.

"A touching and emotional read. James Patterson is mostly noted for his thrillers, but he knows the romance genre too. Not to mention that he throws in a few twists along the way. The characters feel like real people with real problems. They are people I truly came to care about. The storyline flowed beautifully from page to page. I couldn't put this book down. I wanted to know what would happen next. It's a fast-paced story with realistic characters. I can honestly say I will miss these characters very much."—Yvonne, SocratesBookReviews

"A heartwarming story about family, love, and second chances...I enjoyed The Christmas Wedding very much...If you equate his name with thrillers and Alex Cross novels, you are in for a surprise, too."—Dina, JustAnotherNewsBlog.com

"A story to get you in the Christmas mood with family, snow, weddings and of course love....I kept wondering who the groom was going to be and by the end I was glad she chose who she did...Patterson's ability to weave a story that's centered around true-to-life characters is, I'm sure, one of the reasons why he's a bestselling romance (and suspense!) author."—Renee, SteelerGirl83.Blogspot.com

People
"It's clever, light and as welcoming as an ocean breeze."
Washington Post
"Patterson has hit a home run."
People Magazine
"It's clever, light and as welcoming as an ocean breeze.
Kirkus Reviews

A lighthearted novel about a widow who suddenly decides to re-marry on Christmas Day.

The mystery concerns the bride's choice of a groom. She won't tell her family. She won't even tell her potential husband, one of three suitors who have proposed. Gaby Summerhill, 54, is a teacher, widowed for three years, her treasured husband dead of a heart attack. Gaby has decided she's grieved long enough. And so she makes her decision, and then records a DVD to send to her four children announcing her puzzling plan. The children are scattered, busy with their own lives, and Gaby is certain the mystery will bring them home to Massachusetts for the holiday. Oldest daughter Claire lives with her husband and children in South Carolina, but Hank works rarely and smokes marijuana regularly. Claire's troubles are aggravated by teenager Gus, who's intent on living up to the aphorism "like father, like son." Although Gaby's daughter Lizzie lives nearby, she has been overwhelmed by her husband's critical illness. Emily is an over-stressed, high-powered New York City attorney. Son Seth works in Boston at a temporary job waiting for his novel to be snapped up by a big-name publisher. Patterson and co-author DiLallo unfold the plot with snappy but cliché-littered dialogue. There is minimal character development and only enough back story to knit the tale together. Gaby is an idealized protagonist, the sort who heads a volunteer crew to cook a daily breakfast for the homeless. Her groom might be Tom, a lifelong friend; Jacob, a rabbi; or Martin, her husband's younger brother, all of whom proposed on the same day. The authors maintain the suspense, with Gaby and her brood riding a roller-coaster of family problems, right up to the wedding day.

A perfect plot for a Meryl Streep or Diane Lane happily-ever-after movie.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446571760
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/26/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 34,641
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James Patterson
James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 280 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Mr. Patterson also writes the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels, set in San Francisco, and the top-selling New York detective series of all time, featuring Detective Michael Bennett. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Biography

James Patterson had been working as a very successful advertising copywriter when he decided to put his Masters degree in English to a somewhat different use. Inspired by bestselling hair-raising thrillers like The Day of the Jackal and The Exorcist, Patterson went to work on his first novel. Published in 1976, The Thomas Berryman Number established him as a writer of tightly constructed mysteries that move forward with the velocity of a bullet. For his startling debut, Patterson was awarded the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel—an auspicious beginning to one of the most successful careers in publishing.

A string of gripping standalone mysteries followed, but it was the 1992 release of Along Came a Spider that elevated Patterson to superstar status. Introducing Alex Cross, a brilliant black police detective/forensic psychologist, the novel was the first installment in a series of bestselling thrillers that has proved to be a cash cow for the author and his publisher.

Examining Patterson's track record, it's obvious that he believes one good series deserves another…maybe even a third! In 2001, he debuted the Women's Murder Club with 1st to Die, a fast-paced thriller featuring four female crime fighters living in San Francisco—a homicide detective, a medical examiner, an assistant D.A., and a cub reporter. The successful series has continued with other numerically titled installments. Then, spinning off a set of characters from a previous novel (1998's When the Wind Blows), in 2005 he published Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Featuring a "flock" of genetically engineered flying children, the novel was a huge hit, especially with teen readers, and spawned a series of vastly popular fantasy adventures.

In addition to continuing his bestselling literary franchises, Patterson has also found time to co-author thrillers with other writers—including Peter de Jonge, Andrew Gross, Maxine Paetro, and Howard Roughan—and has even ventured into romance (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, Sam's Letters to Jennifer) and children's literature (santaKid). Writing at an astonishing pace, this prolific author has turned himself into a one-man publishing juggernaut, fulfilling his clearly stated ambition to become "the king of the page-turners."

Good To Know

Patterson's Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas was inspired by a diary his wife kept that tracked the development of their toddler son.

Two of Patterson's Alex Cross mysteries (Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls) have been turned into films starring Morgan Freeman; in 2007, a weekly television series premiered, based on the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels.

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    1. Hometown:
      Palm Beach, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 22, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newburgh, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Christmas Wedding


By Patterson, James

Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2011 Patterson, James
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316097390

The Christmas Wedding

THE INVITATION LIST THE BRIDE

GABY SUMMERHILL, fifty-four, teacher, mother of four, widow for three years, lives in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

GABY’S FAMILY

CLAIRE DONOGHUE, Gaby’s daughter, thirty-five, married, lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

HANK DONOGHUE, Claire’s husband, thirty-four

GUS, their son, fourteen

TOBY and GABRIELLE, their

eleven-year-old twins

EMILY SUMMERHILL, Gaby’s youngest daughter, twenty-nine, lawyer in Manhattan

BART DeFRANCO, Emily’s husband, twenty-nine, resident in neurology

SETH SUMMERHILL, Gaby’s only son, twenty-six, novelist, lives in Boston

ANDIE COLLINS, Seth’s girlfriend, twenty-four, commercial artist

LIZZIE RODGERS, Gaby’s daughter, thirty-four, married, works part time at Walmart, lives near Gaby

MIKE RODGERS, Lizzie’s husband, thirty-six

TALLULAH, their daughter, eight

GABY’S SUITORS

TOM HAYDEN, fifty-four, owns a farm, former pro hockey player, grew up with Gaby

JACOB COLEMAN, fifty-two, rabbi at a temple in Stockbridge

MARTIN SUMMERHILL, fifty-five, Gaby’s brother- ​in-law

PROLOGUE

You’re Invited,
or Else

GABY’S FIRST VIDEO

Only twenty-four days until Christmas, and this Christmas is going to be one you won’t forget.

Need proof? I think I can give you proof.

I want all four of you to take a good, long look at the screen and your mom.

Everybody watching? Emily? Claire? Seth? Lizzie? Emily? You see anything unusual or, well, kind of stunning?

Okay. Let me turn around for you…Turning…​Turning again.

Yes. Your eyes tell the truth. I have lost twelve pounds and several ounces.

Stop, stop! No worries, no frets or fears. No neurotic theories about my health.

I’m not sick or anything like that. Maybe a little sick in the head. As always. Part of my charm.

I just gave up Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the occasional beer before bedtime. And I banished mayonnaise—low-fat or otherwise—from the house. And white bread. Dunkin’ Donuts for sure. It made me somewhat miserable…and hungry. But it also made me thinner. And, I must admit, happier. Yes, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

I needed a big change. Everybody needs a change. If you don’t change, you’re stuck in a rut.

I know that people around here always say, “Oh, Gaby, you lead such an interesting life…You run that farm of yours pretty much by yourself. You write a food blog that isn’t too egotistical or boring. You teach the local kids to read and write.”

Oh, yes, I do…and I love it…but honestly, it just wasn’t enough for me.

I was in a life rut that was only getting deeper. R-u-t. Put on boots and a loden coat the morning after a snowstorm and trudge to the henhouse to collect four eggs. Start adding nutritional facts to the recipes on the blog and people you never even met accuse you of being a nutrition Nazi.

Teach English, or at least try to make the kids love reading. I know this is going to come as a bit of a shock, but most teenagers think that Great Expectations—to use a phrase—“blows,” but that any book with a vampire in it is brilliant. Especially if the vampire is darkly handsome and promises eternal love with every bite. Great Expectations does kind of blow, by the way.

So anyway, I promise you, I’m not going through the dreaded midlife crisis. I’m not even at my midlife.

And, hey, the first one of you who makes a crack about my being way past midlife gets tossed out of the will. I’m serious, kiddies.

I do need some excitement, though. I think the wildest thing I’ve done in the last three years is to ask your kids to call me by my first name. I disliked being called Grandma. Made me itchy all over.

Back to the subject…I’ve lost twelve pounds.

After all…

I want to be able to fit into my wedding gown.

Anyone who’s fainted should please get up off the floor. And don’t start telephoning one another until this video is over.

Yes, you heard right. I said wedding gown. As in wedding. As in bride. As in wedding in our barn.

You’re looking at the bride right now, and she’s actually smiling. She’s happy. Very much so. You know I don’t complain, but there was a long, dark time after your father died and I’m finally out of that black hole.

You’re probably wondering who the lucky groom is. Well, as you used to say when you were just little brats, that’s for me to know and you to find out.

Everybody is coming home to Stockbridge for Christmas. Claire, Emily, Seth, and Lizzie. You and your children, your spouses, your lovers, dogs, cats, whoever and whatever. We haven’t been together as a family since your dad died.

So it’s Christmas in Stockbridge.

Then you’ll find out who the lucky man is. Till then. I love you. And I’m so happy I almost can’t believe it.

See you at Christmas…when all will be revealed.

BOOK ONE

Christmas Dreaming

Chapter 1

CLAIRE AND HANK

Claire Donoghue, Gaby’s eldest daughter, had just finished her mother’s video, and, well, wow. Go, Gaby! For the moment, though, Claire was paying her household bills, and bill paying was kind of like playing “I love you, I love you not” with hand grenades. Sooner or later, Claire knew, one of them was going to blow up in her face. In everybody’s face.

“I love you, South Carolina Electric and Gas,” she said, placing that bill in the stack she intended to pay.

“I love you not, emergency root canal.”

It was as good a system as any for deciding how to parcel out their slim income to pay the usual fat stack of bills. It was only during the luckiest of months that Hank’s money from construction work, and Claire’s income from tutoring, covered most of the bills. This was not one of those months.

Claire sat at a small, wobbly oak table in the chilly sunroom. She wore two Shetland sweaters in two different shades of dark blue, white painter’s pants, and fingerless woolen gloves. She called her style cheap cute. And, in fact, Claire was cute. Even after three kids, she was still holding her own—pug nose rather than spreading pig nose, smattering of freckles, short reddish-brown hair, “girlish” figure.

The truth was, though, she felt anything but cute; she felt tired and run-down. She felt like total crap, and nobody knew it, and nobody much cared.

James Taylor was playing softly on Claire’s laptop. She liked James okay, always had.

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.

Claire knew what he was singing about. She gazed out of the sunroom and although their house was three blocks from the beach, she could see a sliver of the gray December ocean. The sand was cold and the horizon lifeless. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was a summer hot spot, but for Claire and Hank Donoghue it was their year-round home. That meant that when the tourists left and the cheesy concession stands closed down and the splintery boardwalk was deserted—well, that meant that Claire and Hank were left with each other. And that wasn’t always a good thing. Not for the past few years. And definitely not today. Hank just kept getting worse and worse and worse.

“Hey, babe,” she heard him call from his downstairs den. “Can you bring me a big coldy-oldy tea and maybe-baby some Eyetalian crackers?”

Claire knew he was asking for an iced tea and Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. She also realized, from his ridiculous language, that he was stoned out of his mind.

“In a minute,” she called. She did not want a fight today. Or any day, really. She couldn’t stand his blowups, but she didn’t know what to do about them. The kids loved Hank.

She stood up, but she couldn’t stop obsessing about the video from her mom—the one that had knocked the wind out of her. So, Gaby was getting married. That was pretty terrific. But her mom wouldn’t say to whom. Just when and where. Christmas Day back home in Massachusetts at their farm. Gaby loved her mysteries.

“Hey, Claire, where’s the grub?” Hank shouted again.

Claire rolled her eyes and headed for the kitchen. She couldn’t help thinking that her mom would never, ever fetch coldy-oldies for her father—and her father would never have asked, certainly never have shouted up from the basement.

Keep the peace, Claire, she reminded herself. Only twenty-four days until Christmas.

Chapter 2

But this craziness with Hank had to stop real soon, Claire was thinking. She could suck it up until the new year, for better or worse, for poorer or poorer, but then Hank had to get his act together and find a real, full-time job. No more excuses; no more softball games, flag-football games, or golf with his buddies three times a week.

Claire’s overarching worry as she carried the snacks down to the den was that she might get a contact high from inhaling the gauzy clouds of weed that Hank had already generated in there. She also marveled at what a multitasker her husband was. He was resting on a faded foldout couch watching a Falcons-Saints game while listening to Radiohead blasting from speakers on the bookshelf. Oh, yeah, and he was occasionally glancing at an article in Wired.

She studied Hank for a moment, trying to be objective. Talk about cute. In spite of the dirty matted blond hair, the two days of stubble, and the emerging potbelly, you couldn’t miss the handsome farm boy hiding not too far underneath. Even the wardrobe was perfect: worn jeans, work boots, a worn-out blue-and-green-patterned flannel shirt.

“God, Hank, I don’t know what smells more—you or the pot smoke,” she said with a forced smile, setting a bag of Milano cookies and a huge glass of iced tea on the floor next to him.

“I was playing Sunday football, you get…​you know…just get off my ass, will you…​Like…just get…,” he said, working hard to put together a coherent string of words.

“I have some good news,” Claire said.

“You won the South Carolina lottery?”

“No. That’s not it.”

“Then why do I care?”

He was clearly in one of his sonofabitch moods, but she was determined to tell him her news. It had brightened Claire’s day, actually, made her laugh out loud.

“I got one of those videos from my mom…”

Hank immediately began a bad and mean-spirited imitation of Gaby: “Oh, I’m so busy. I’m finding a cure for leukemia. I’m saving the rain forest. Me and my friends are feeding twelve-grain toast to the homeless of western Mass—”

“Stop it. That’s totally unfair,” Claire said. “Can I talk for a second here? Can I talk?

To her surprise, Hank stopped. Maybe she’d confused him by interrupting his rant.

“My mom is getting married.”

Hank chuckled.

“Who’s the lucky fella? I know, what’s-his-name—Mark Harmon, right? Tom Cruise?”

“You’re hilarious. Mom says she’ll tell us at Christmas when we all go up there.”

Hank’s face fell, but not in a funny way.

“Yeah, well, I’m not snowplowing my way up to Massachusetts the day before Christmas,” he said.

“My mom is getting married on Christmas.

“It’s just some trick of hers to get everyone together at her farm. One big happy family.”

“Maybe that is part of the plan. So? It’s been almost three years since my dad died. The family hasn’t been together since the day we buried him. My mother was in a dark place for a few years.”

Hank tried another approach.

“C’mon, if you’re up in Stockbridge for Christmas, who’s going to tutor those colored kids you’re so involved with? The retards that you spend so much time with?”

“First of all, two of the kids are white. Two are black, and those African-American children are classmates of our children, you asshole. I help them because…”

“What did you call me?” he yelled. Then he stood up unsteadily. Claire didn’t like this. His face was so ugly now, and turning red.

“I’m just trying to explain, to get it through your…”

“What did you call me?”

“I called you what you’re acting like—an asshole.”

And suddenly he lifted his right hand and slapped her face hard.

Claire brought her own hand to her cheek. She rubbed the spot where he’d struck her. When she looked at Hank, he looked hurt, as if he had been the one who’d been assaulted. Hank reached out to her.

“Claire, I’m sorry. That was the weed talking…”

She turned away, lowering her head, not wanting him to see her cry.

He tried to touch her.

But Claire hurried toward the door. Before she walked out, she turned and spoke: “You are an asshole.”

Chapter 3

As it turned out, Claire didn’t have time to wrap ice in a dishrag and apply it to her hurt cheek. She didn’t even have time for a few well-deserved tears.

That’s because the phone rang. One of her sisters about Mom? Lizzie, probably. Definitely not Emily calling from New York. Her lawyer sister was probably toiling away in her office, even on the weekend.

“Claire Donoghue?” the voice on the other end asked. Not Lizzie.

“Yes, but whatever you’re selling, we don’t need it. Sorry. I know you’re just trying to make a living.”

“This is Officer Louise Gastineau of the Myrtle Beach Police Department. Are you the mother of August Donoghue?”

Gus! Their fourteen-year-old was supposed to be in his bedroom, grounded for life after having been hauled in by the police for upending the portable potties left at the beach from the Halloween carnival.

“What happened? Is Gus hurt?” Claire asked.

“No,” said the officer. “He’s feeling just fine. In fact, he may be feeling too fine. He seems pretty stoned. So stoned that he’s sleeping on the floor in the mall. Right outside the Hollister store. Near Target.”

“What’s going to happen to him?” Claire asked.

“Nothing much, if you can get down here and get him out of the mall. We didn’t find any pot on him. Must have smoked every grain he had. He’s just sleeping the sleep of the truly happy. Only he has an awful lot of Christmas shoppers stepping over and around him. Including one of his concerned teachers, who saw Gus and called us right away.”

Claire thanked Officer Gastineau, who commiserated with her, adding that she had “three teenagers of my own.” Then Claire called for the eleven-year-old twins, Toby and Gabrielle, to aid in the rescue mission. She couldn’t help thinking of the classic phrase “Like father, like son.” God, she hated that idea.

Claire didn’t even bother telling Hank where she and the twins were headed. Just before she ripped out of the driveway, she looked up at the house and saw him at the window. He was inhaling from a substantial joint and finger-waving bye-bye to her.

She was definitely going to her mother’s for Christmas, with or without Hank. To be honest, she couldn’t wait to go home.

Chapter 4

The sleeping arrangements in Claire’s house that night were highly creative, to say the least, but mostly sad, really sad. Hank slept on the foldout couch that he had occupied most of the day. Gus slept on the kitchen floor because Claire, Toby, and Gabrielle couldn’t carry him another foot.

It worked out, in an oddball sort of way. The kitchen turned out to be a fairly convenient spot for Gus. When he awoke at three in the morning with an advanced case of the munchies, he was where a guy should be to eat an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a half jar of peanut butter, and about a half pound of baking chocolate.

Claire was afraid that when Hank’s weed wore off, he would come upstairs and try to fall asleep next to her.

So she covered herself completely with quilts and blankets and tried to fall asleep on the white wicker sofa in the sunroom.

Of course, she knew she’d never fall asleep there. And she was right. At midnight she sat up and stared out at the small sliver of cold, moonlit beach. Then Claire did what she rarely did. She cried her eyes out. Not for herself. For everybody else in the house. She had a habit of putting herself last, just the way her mother did.

The tears came rushing down her puffy, aching cheek. She finally buried her face in a quilt to keep the noise of her weeping from her sleeping family. But she just couldn’t stop the cascade of tears.

Yes, she thought, I can forgive Gus. He’s a teenager.

What did he do that was so awful? Some mischief with the stupid portable toilets. Then he got stoned like a million other misguided American teenagers. But she could not forgive Hank, not anymore. Damn him. Most husbands were not getting stoned on Sunday afternoons that could be spent with their families; most husbands were not slapping their wives across the face. And if there were other husbands like that, well, Claire didn’t want to be married to any of them either. So now what did she do?

Claire knew she was strong—she’d had the twins via natural childbirth (twenty-six hours of labor), still ran three miles a day—but, shoot, she thought, you can be the strongest person in the world and still make some bad decisions and have a pretty miserable life.

Her cell phone rang. What the? Oh, who else? It was her sister Lizzie, the sister who lived seven miles from Gaby up in Housatonic.

“I wake you?” Lizzie asked.

“No, I’m just sitting up reading. You know me, Lizard. Read till I drop.”

“Nerd. Bookworm. I wanted to call earlier, but Mike was feeling good enough to go out to dinner. So we all stuffed ourselves down at Bub’s Barbecue.”

“How’s Mike doing?”

“Same. Good days and bad. Still telling jokes. He’s really a trouper. I admire him.”

“Well, at least you all had a little fun today. That’s good. I admire you.

“Yeah, thanks,” Lizzie sighed. Then, with enthusiasm, she said, “Anyway, what do you think the story is with Gaby?”

“I think the story is that she’s getting married. To whom—I have no idea. Maybe Tom Hayden?”

“You don’t think she’s telling stories?”

“Mom loves a tease, a good mystery, but no. Anyway, I think it’s great.”

A pause. Claire spoke again.

“I said ‘I think it’s great.’ Don’t you?”

A shorter pause.

“I guess so. I mean, yes. Yes. I think it’s great.”

“What’s the matter, Liz? I need some backstory here.”

“It’s just…I know this is going to sound stupid. I know it’s irrational…but it seems like…I don’t know…I really miss Dad.”

“I hate to say this, Liz. This is tough for me. But do you think it has something to do with the fact that Mike is pretty sick right now?”

Loudly and almost jokingly Lizzie replied, “Well, of course it does, Dr. Phil.”

They both laughed like the good friends and confidantes they’d always been.

“What does Mike think about it?” Claire asked. “The wedding? The mystery groom?”

“He says there’s nothing the Summerhill women can do that would surprise him. Is Hank…somewhat with the program?”

He doesn’t have a fricking clue. “Oh, yeah. Hank’s a worrywart about the weather, but he thinks it will be fun.” Staying in South Carolina and smoking weed until he drops.

Another pause, a chance for Claire to talk her heart out, to spill about Hank the asshole. “So, you guys are good, though?” she asked her sister.

The chance to spill had passed.

“Yeah, we’re good, C. Nothing an extra ten thousand a year wouldn’t make better. But tomorrow I’m headed over to Mom’s house. I’ll get more information out of her. Mom will blab.”

“Forget it. My money’s on Mom,” said Claire. “Gaby wants everybody home for Christmas. And you know what, she’s right. We need to get together. And meet our new dad.”

They said their good-byes. Claire returned to her view of the beach. Why hadn’t she told Lizzie that she wanted to plunge a carving knife through Hank’s heart?

Why? For the same reason Lizzie never complained about having to drive Mike to chemo twice a week or about his being struck by cancer at thirty-six. Why? Because they were Summerhill women. And that’s the way Summerhill women had to be. Strong and tough. Claire and Lizzie and Emily and, of course, the strongest of them all, Gaby.

So who the hell are you marrying, Mom? Why the big secret? Why all the mystery? Claire was betting on Tom Hayden. But maybe it was Jacob Coleman. Jacob was a real cutie.

Chapter 5

EMILY

Emily Summerhill, Gaby’s youngest and, in many ways, most complicated daughter, had this small, muffled voice inside her head, a voice that said over and over again, “Run, Emily, run.”

It was private code for “Succeed, Emily, succeed.”

Run, Emily, run.

So Emily got into Wellesley. Emily got a 3.94 GPA. Then Emily got into Columbia Law School.

Run, Emily, run.

And Emily made Columbia Law Review and published  the forty-page article “Medicaid Fraud: The Conundrum That Defies All Former Legal Precedents.” Alan Dershowitz sent her an e-mail calling it one of the best Review pieces he’d read in years.

Run, Emily, run.

And Emily became a senior associate at Dale, Hardy, Dunwoodie, a law firm responsible for defending major British oil companies against stringent American environmental regulations that weren’t consistently or uniformly enforced.

Run, Emily, run.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Christmas Wedding by Patterson, James Copyright © 2011 by Patterson, James. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 487 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(148)

4 Star

(113)

3 Star

(100)

2 Star

(53)

1 Star

(73)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 487 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Christmas Wedding is an entertaining family affair as the extended Summerhill clan struggle with a myriad of tsuris

    Fiftyish widow schoolteacher Gaby Summerhill's husband died three years ago. Since the family patriarch's death, Gaby's adult children drifted apart while she ate her way through her grief. The thinner Gaby sends a DVD to her four adult children, inviting them, their spouses and her grandchildren to spend Christmas in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and attend her wedding. She coyly refuses to name the groom as three men her age (childhood friend Tom Hayden, Rabbi Jacob Coleman and brother-in-law Martin Summerhill) want to marry her. The four children want to come to Stockbridge, which will be the first time they will be together since they buried their dad.

    In Myrtle Beach, thirty-five year old Claire lives with her pot head abusive slacker husband Hank, their chip off his stoned dad's marihuana teenage son Gus and their tweener twins (Toby and Gabriele) Thirty-four year old Lizzie lives near her mom, but is struggling with her husband Mike's illness while raising their young daughter Tallulah. Twenty-nine years old Manhattan attorney Emily is burned out from over work while her spouse Bart is a neurology resident. Finally the only male offspring twenty-six years old wannabe author Seth lives in Boston with his girlfriend commercial artist Andie.

    The Christmas Wedding is an entertaining family affair as the extended Summerhill clan struggle with a myriad of tsuris. The story line is faster than a sleigh going downhill in the snowy Bronx. However, none of the ensemble cast is fully developed as James Patterson and Richard DiLallo never provide much background to what led the quintet and their retinue to where they are. Still this is a fun holiday tale as Gaby Summerhill invites readers to the wedding of the year.

    Harriet Klausner

    37 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Great book to start off the holiday season. Enjoyed it.

    36 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    ..

    Love all J.P books. Can't wait to read this one.

    31 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Christmas Wedding

    Gaby Summerhill's family hasn't been together for Christmas since her husband Peter died, but that's about to change. You see Gaby has been proposed to by three men, and the thing is she is going to have a Christmas wedding, and she isn't going to to disclose who the groom will be until the wedding.So the only way her children, Emily, Claire Lizzie and Seth will know who she is marrying is to come home for Christmas.
    I loved getting to know Gaby's children. Each of them were dealing with their own issues making this an interesting story. One was having marital troubles, one had a husband fighting cancer, another is a very successful lawyer who is married but puts in way to much time at her job, and finally one is trying to get a book published. Each child's story would have made for an interesting book in itself but roll them together and it made the plot of this book move along nonstop. I loved the plan Gaby came up with to get her children home, an idea that was totally new, hooking me, making me wonder myself who she would marry. There was even a twist thrown in that actually surprised me.

    Overall if you enjoy family stories where the family seems as real as a your next door neighbors, and want to feel a bit of the magic of the holiday season then your going to want to pick this book up. Normally when I think of James Patterson I think of action packed thrillers, but he can certainly pull of a nice Christmas time family story as well. Highly recommended!

    *A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.*

    26 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Get in the Holiday Mood with The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard Dilallo

    The Christmas Wedding is my first James Patterson book and I'm happy to say I enjoyed it. It's definitely a story to get you in the Christmas mood with family, snow, weddings and of course love! Although it's a full-length novel this reads like a novella. Each of Gaby's children are introduced and each have situations and struggles that they face that somehow get resolved right at Christmas so there's not much room for development. The romantic element is a little unbelievable--Gaby strings along three potential grooms and they don't seem to mind or question her, hence the three star review. I definitely kept wondering who the groom was going to be and by the end I was glad she chose who she did. However Patterson's ability to weave a story that's centered around true-to-life characters is, I'm sure, one of the reasons why he's a bestselling romance (and suspense!) author.

    Be warned, there is strong language throughout but The Christmas Wedding is still a pleasant read just in time for the holidays!

    *I received my complimentary ARC from the publisher in exchange for posting my review/opinion of the book.*

    25 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    SADLY DISAPPOINTED

    I READ ALL OF JP'S WORKS, AND WAS SUPER EXCITED ABOUT A LOVE STORY BY HIM. HOWEVER I QUICKLY REALIZED IT WASN'T GOING TO BE WHAT I EXPECTED AT ALL. THERE WASN'T ANY MYSTERY REALLY, I MEAN C'MON NOW WE ALL KNEW WHO GABY WAS GOING TO CHOOSE TO MARRY. AND THE OTHER PLOTS IN THE BOOK WEREN'T REALLY ANYTHING BIG TO DRAW THE READER IN. PLUS IT WAS ONLY 199 PAGES LONG (AND FOR THE PRICE THAT WASN'T WORTH IT TO ME). IF YOU ENJOY READING QUICK SIMPLE LOVE STORIES ABOUT FAMILIES AT CHRISTMAS TIME, THEN SURE THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU. OTHERWISE I'D PASS ON IT....WHICH IS PROBABLY SOMETHING I'D HAVE A HARD TIME DOING TOO WITH ANY PATTERSON BOOK!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Good book

    This was a good book. However, it was a bit pricey considering there's only 199 pages.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Disappointed, but a cute read.

    I was disappointed in this book, it was not like any other James Patterson book. I liked other romantic heartfelt books he has written but this one was boring. It was nice how the whole family got together but there was no BIG mystery. It just was short and boringish. But if you want an easy read this would be it. I would not spend the money on it now though it could wait til it goes on sale.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2011

    Disappointed :(

    I love James Patterson books and was so excited when I saw he had a book coming out called "The Christmas Wedding" but was disappointed after I read it. It's a cure story I guess but I was ready for suspense and love and mystery (a bigger mystery than what the book considered as a mystery). So I was really disappointed. I expected a lot more. Shouldn't have wasted this awesome book title on a boring book.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Is it true that either you change your life or it changes for you?

    Gaby is old enough to have raised her children to an age where she is now a grandmother. Having lost a husband already she knows the depth that loving one person bring to you and she wants to not replace that love but feel it again with someone else. The only hitch is there are three men that want to marry her and devote the rest of their lives to making her happy and she can only have one. What Gaby does is accept all three proposals with the intention announcing her decision on her wedding set for Christmas Day. When you have the world at your feet and a man that adores you, well you make sure you are walking on roses up until you say I Do! With her imperfect family gathering around her for the occasion, Gaby works through the difficulties that your children have after they leave the nest. Everyone is searching for the perfect job, working toward a stable relationship, and trying to get children to cooperate just for one minute of the day. There is no such thing as a normal family just the pretense that you are living as such and embracing your imperfections. The day is here, everyone is seated, and what could have turned into a comical farce becomes a romantic gesture of enormous proportion. The groom is the perfect match for the bride who knows she has chosen her perfect match, for the second time in her life. Even when additional surprises pop up Gaby says yes to everything that comes at her realizing this moment cannot ever be recaptured. Gaby has been everything to everybody and always will be her children¿s cheerleader. Yet with this one life defining decision, she is taking the forward step of being as much to her as she is to others and no woman ever regrets that decision. James Patterson can and does write grand slam hits in every genre. He has so many facets to his talent, but his tales of life always touch me, have me wipe away a tear at the end and sigh with the knowledge that love happens at every age.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Not Impressed

    Quick, short read.
    Not Impressed.
    Enough said.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Disappointing

    I have read many of James Patterson's books and enjoyed them. I was really looking forward to reading this especially since it was about Christmas, but it was a big disappointment, and definately not worth the money.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstandingly entertaining

    My girl and I read this together. We were pulled in from the fist page until the very last. It was entertaining and had an interesting plot, as always-he does it again. We are big fans, so those of you who are amongst the followers, without giving anything away-you will love this newest one. Also recommending The Chateau. Interesting, entertaining, twists turns and surprising ending. You will really not be able to put this one down either.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book

    This was a good story and not at all what I expected of James Patterson. I really enjoyed the characters, and we were kept waiting until the very end to find out who the groom would be. This book is a fairly quick, easy read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    I want it now!!

    I love Patterson

    4 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2011

    Cant wait

    I love it

    4 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    waste of time, I did not care about the unreal characters

    I read the book on Christmas and kept waiting for it to get better or even interesting, but that never happened. I was so looking forward to this book. Really, three hot guys after one woman who plans a wedding without telling them who she will marry. Her kids and their lives are a collection of every lame character that you could think of. This book seemed like it was written by an 8th grader. I wish I could get my money and the time I spent reading this mess back.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2012

    Beyond Hokey

    I am a big Patterson fan of books he writes himself. I will not buy any books he co-writes so I can't explain why I purchased this one. My advice is don't buy, don't read, don't waste your precious time on this one. I kept waiting for the perfectly incredulous plot to somehow wrap up and make some kind of sense. It never made sense, was never plausible and made me think that Patterson thinks his readers are really guillible. For a woman to plan a wedding with 3 possible grooms who all get along and are willing to each stand at the altar while she reveals her choice (rejecting the other 2) just defies explanation. The minor plots involving each of her children are shallow, and in the end, add nothing to the novel except length. This novel is going directly into the recycle bin as that is the best use I can think of for this farce.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    Boring

    I couldn't believe this was a James Patterson book. I tossed it after the first painful 50 pages.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Terrible

    It was so horrible that i had to delete the book off my nook, can you believe it? That horrible

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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