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A Gift to Last: Can This Be Christmas?/Shirley, Goodness and Mercy

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Overview

The best gifts are the ones that don't come wrapped! Gifts of home, of family and friends, of love . . .

Can this be Christmas?

On December 24, a crowded train is taking holiday travelers home for Christmas. But because of a snowstorm, this group of strangers ends up spending Christmas Eve together, stranded in a small New Hampshire station. Despite the cold and discomfort, ...

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Overview

The best gifts are the ones that don't come wrapped! Gifts of home, of family and friends, of love . . .

Can this be Christmas?

On December 24, a crowded train is taking holiday travelers home for Christmas. But because of a snowstorm, this group of strangers ends up spending Christmas Eve together, stranded in a small New Hampshire station. Despite the cold and discomfort, they create an impromptu celebration that reminds them all what Christmas really means. A story that's destined to become a Christmas classic!

Shirley, Goodness and Mercy

Greg Bennett hates Christmas. Divorced, virtually friendless and about to lose his business, he has no time fo what he considers sentimental nonsense. It takes three wacky angels to show him the truth. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy shall follow him . . . until he learns what Christmas is all about!

A return engagement by these popular angelic characters.

No one tells a Christmas story like Debbie Macomber!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551669304
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Series: Angel Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber, the author of Hannah's List, Summer on Blossom Street, Twenty Wishes and the Cedar Cove series, is one of today's leading voices in women's fiction. A regular on every major bestseller list with more than 140 million copies of her books in print, the award-winning author celebrated her third publishing "triple crown" in September 2009 when the latest in her Cedar Cove series, 92 Pacific Boulevard, scored #1 on the New York Times, USAToday and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. That same month Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook debuted on the New York Times list at #8, and her hometown of Port Orchard, Washington, on which her Cedar Cove series is based, welcomed readers from 42 states and seven foreign countries to the first-ever, five-day "Cedar Cove Days" festival. Debbie's popularity is worldwide with her books translated into twenty-three languages. Debbie and her husband, Wayne, are the proud parents of four children and grandparents of eight grandchildren. They live in Washington State and winter in Florida.

Biography

Publishing did not come easy to self-described "creative speller" Debbie Macomber. When Macomber decided to follow her dreams of becoming a bestselling novelist, she had a lot of obstacles in her path. For starters, Macomber is dyslexic. On top of this, she had only a high school degree, four young children at home, and absolutely no connections in the publishing world. If there's one thing you can say about Debbie Macomber, however, it is that she does not give up. She rented a typewriter and started writing, determined to break into the world of romance fiction.

The years went on and the rejection letters piled up. Her family was living on a shoestring budget, and Debbie was beginning to think that her dreams of being a novelist might never be fulfilled. She began writing for magazines to earn some extra money, and she eventually saved up enough to attend a romance writer's conference with three hundred other aspiring novelists. The organizers of the conference picked ten manuscripts to review in a group critique session. Debbie was thrilled to learn that her manuscript would be one of the novels discussed.

Her excitement quickly faded when an editor from Harlequin tore her manuscript to pieces in front of the crowded room, evoking peals of laughter from the assembled writers. Afterwards, Macomber approached the editor and asked her what she could do to improve her novel. "Throw it away," the editor suggested.

Many writers would have given up right then and there, but not Macomber. The deeply religious Macomber took a lesson from Job and gathered strength from adversity. She returned home and mailed one last manuscript to Silhouette, a publisher of romance novels. "It cost $10 to mail it off," Macomber told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2000. "My husband was out of work at this time, in Alaska, trying to find a job. The children and I were living on his $250-a-week unemployment, and I can't tell you what $10 was to us at that time."

It turned out to be the best $10 Macomber ever spent. In 1984, Silhouette published her novel, Heartsong. (Incidentally, although Heartsong was Macomber's first sale, she actually published another book, Starlight, before Heartsong went to print.) Heartsong went on to become the first romance novel to ever be reviewed in Publishers Weekly, and Macomber was finally on her way.

Today, Macomber is one of the most widely read authors in America. A regular on the New York Times bestseller charts, she is best known for her Cedar Cove novels, a heartwarming story sequence set in a small town in Washington state, and for her Knitting Books series, featuring a group of women who patronize a Seattle yarn store. In addition, her backlist of early romances, including several contemporary Westerns, has been reissued with great success.

Macomber has made a successful transition from conventional romance to the somewhat more flexible genre known as "women's fiction." "I was at a point in my life where I found it difficult to identify with a 25-year-old heroine," Macomber said in an interview with ContemporaryRomanceWriters.com. "I found that I wanted to write more about the friendships women share with each other." To judge from her avid, ever-increasing fan base, Debbie's readers heartily approve.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Macomber:

"I'm dyslexic, although they didn't have a word for it when I was in grade school. The teachers said I had 'word blindness.' I've always been a creative speller and never achieved good grades in school. I graduated from high school but didn't have the opportunity to attend college, so I did what young women my age did at the time -- I married. I was a teenager, and Wayne and I (now married nearly 37 years) had four children in five years."

"I'm a yarnaholic. That means I have more yarn stashed away than any one person could possibly use in three or four lifetimes. There's something inspiring about yarn that makes me feel I could never have enough. Often I'll go into my yarn room (yes, room!) and just hold skeins of yarn and dream about projects. It's a comforting thing to do."

"My office walls are covered with autographs of famous writers -- it's what my children call my ‘dead author wall.' I have signatures from Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Jack London, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Pearl Buck, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to name a few."

"I'm morning person, and rip into the day with a half-mile swim (FYI: a half mile is a whole lot farther in the water than it is on land) at the local pool before I head into the office, arriving before eight. It takes me until nine or ten to read through all of the guest book entries from my web site and the mail before I go upstairs to the turret where I do my writing. Yes, I write in a turret -- is that romantic, or what? I started blogging last September and really enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life with my readers. Once I'm home for the day, I cook dinner, trying out new recipes. Along with cooking, I also enjoy eating, especially when the meal is accompanied by a glass of good wine. Wayne and I take particular pleasure in sampling eastern Washington State wines (since we were both born and raised in that part of the state).

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    1. Hometown:
      Port Orchard, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yakima, Washington
    1. Education:
      Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

A Gift To Last


By Debbie Macomber

Harlequin Enterprises Limited


Copyright © 2002
Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551669307


Chapter One

A robust version of "Little Drummer Boy" played in the background as Len Dawber glanced at his watch - for at least the tenth time in five minutes. He looked around the depot impatiently, hardly noticing the Christmas decorations on the windows and walls - the cardboard Santa's sleigh, the drooping garland and blinking lights.

Len was waiting with a herd of other holiday travelers to board the train that would take him to Boston. The snowstorm that had started last evening meant his early-morning flight out of Bangor, Maine, had been canceled and the airport closed. Although the airlines couldn't be blamed for the weather, they'd done everything possible to arrange transportation out of Maine. Len suspected more than a few strings had been pulled to get seats on the already full midmorning train. Maybe some of the original passengers canceled, he thought with faint hope.

Because, unfortunately, that crowded train was his only chance of making it to Boston in time to connect with his flight home for Christmas.

Len got to his feet, relinquishing his place on the hard station bench to a tired-looking man. He walked quickly to the door and stepped outside. He lifted his gaze toward the sky. Huge flakes of snow swirled in the wind, obscuring his view. His shoulder muscles tensed with frustration until he could no longer remain still. This was exactly what he'd feared would happen when he'd awakened that morning. Even then the clouds had been dark and ominous, threatening his plans and his dreams of a reunion with Amy.

Despite the snow that stung his eyes and dampened his hair, Len began to pace back and forth along the platform, peering down the tracks every few seconds. No train yet. Damn it! Stuck in New England on Christmas Eve.

This was supposed to be the season of joy, but there was little evidence of that in the faces around him. Most people were burdened with luggage and armfuls of Christmas packages. Some of the gift wrap was torn, the bows limp and tattered. The children, sensing their parents' anxiety, were cranky and restless. The younger ones whined and clung to their mothers.

Worry weighed on Len's heart. He had to catch the Boston flight, otherwise he wouldn't make it home to Rawhide, Texas, today. He'd miss his date with Amy and the family's Christmas Eve celebration. Part of his precious leave would be squandered because of the snowstorm.

There was another reason he yearned for home. Len didn't intend this to be an ordinary Christmas. No, this Christmas would be one of the best in his entire life. It had everything to do with Amy - and the engagement ring burning a hole in his uniform pocket.

Len had enlisted in the navy following high-school graduation and taken his submarine training in New London, Connecticut. Afterward, he'd been assigned to the sub base in Bangor, Maine. He thoroughly enjoyed life on the East Coast, so different from anything he'd known in Texas, and wondered if Amy would like it, too....

Len was proud to serve his country and seriously considered making the navy his career, but that decision depended on a number of things. Amy's answer, for one.

A real drawback of military life was this separation from his family. On his most recent trip home last September, he'd come to realize how much he loved Amy Brent. In the weeks since, he'd decided to ask her to marry him. They planned to be together that very night, Christmas Eve - the most wonderful night of the year. Once they were alone, away from family and friends, Len intended to propose.

He loved Amy; he had no doubts about that. He wasn't a man who gave his heart easily, and he'd made sure, in his own mind at least, that marriage was what he truly wanted. In the weeks since their last meeting, he'd come to see that loving her was for real and for always.

They hadn't talked about marriage, not the way some couples did, but he was confident she loved him, too. He paused for a moment and held in a sigh as the doubts came at him, thick as the falling snow. Lately Len had noticed that Amy seemed less like her normal self. They hadn't talked much, not with him saving to buy the diamond. And it was difficult for Amy to call him at the base. So they'd exchanged letters - light newsy letters with little mention of feelings. He had to admit he found their letters enjoyable to read - and even to write - and the cost of stamps was a lot more manageable than some of his phone bills had been. The truth was, he couldn't afford to spend money on long-distance calls anymore, not the way he had in previous months. His airfare home hadn't been cheap, either.

It wasn't as if he'd put off traveling until the last minute, which Amy seemed to suspect. He'd been on duty until the wee hours of this morning; he'd explained all that in a letter he'd mailed earlier in the week, when he'd sent her his flight information. Although Amy hadn't come right out and said it, he knew she'd been disappointed he couldn't arrive earlier, but that was navy life.

He hadn't received a letter from her in ten days, which was unusual. Then again, perhaps not. After all, they'd be seeing each other soon. Amy and his parents were scheduled to pick him up in Dallas, and together they'd drive home to Rawhide. He closed his eyes and pictured their reunion, hoping the mental image would help calm his jangled nerves. It did soothe him, but not for long.

He had to get home for Christmas. He just had to.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A Gift To Last by Debbie Macomber
Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    A gift to Last - Debbie Macomber

    I found the book to be wonderful. I love the angels characters. They are so filled with love and try so hard to be good but just fall a little short. It makes them all the more lovable. I wished the book had another 100 pages because I just didn't want it to end.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 10, 2002

    A Good Read!

    Another couple of good, clean stories in the famous style of Debbie Macomber. Nobody does them better...too bad so few try. These stories reminded me of some of the simpler joys of Christmas. Thanks.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2013

    A combination of Debbie's books: Can This Be Christmas? Thi

    A combination of Debbie's books:




    Can This Be Christmas?
    This book is the first in a collection of two that make up A Gift to Last. It is written as a slice of life. Several strangers are stranded on Christmas Eve, prevented from arriving at their destinations. In telling this story, the author writes each person’s situation and thoughts prior to and during the time they are delayed.
    Usually, I enjoy Debbie’s writing very much. She tells a great story, dipping deeply into problems and solving them in a very strong Christian way without becoming “sappy” with improbable answers. However, I felt very much that this book was very “sappy”. Each character had adult problems and issues, but the solutions were “sappy”. I never knew anyone like these people. I just felt that their responses and behaviors were very unrealistic, but then, I live in South Florida. Maybe people do behave like this elsewhere.
    I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to anyone, unless they just want a lesson in how to present a “slice of life” form of writing and some character development.


    Shirley, Goodness and Mercy
    This book was written after the previous one, and the two were combined and released as A Gift to Last. This one brings three angels to earth to help some people solve some serious problems they have in relationships. It is different from Can This Be Christmas?, yet in some ways it is similar.
    The characters could easily be people we all know. They struggle with character flaws with which many of us also struggle. The events fall together so that, as is typical in Debbie’s early books, the ending is usually happy. This one leaves the reader hungry for a better solution in one case, though. The reader will have to wait for another story to find a more satisfying ending there.
    I would recommend this book for light reading. There are some serious issues covered but the angels bring a lighter touch to the story. And, of course, it is good Christian reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    Weird!!!!!!!

    Well i got the sample and ut only showed me the first paragra of the first chapter. It was realy weird.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    highly recommended

    love the book. takes you away from everyday madness.

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Gift To Last by Debbie Macomber 2 stories about Christmas time

    A Gift To Last by Debbie Macomber
    2 stories about Christmas time.
    Can this be Christmas? A handful of people have been rerouted from a plane to a train to get from Maine to Boston. They made it as far as New Hampshire and the train no longer can go further.
    Rather than telling you about all the people involved I think this book is more about how the all come together and make the celebration a good one. How they can take
    just the bare essentials and make them glorious. Not only do they each step up but the community come to the rescue as well as all of them are not going to make it home
    for the holiday. The time also gives them each the hours they need to think things through to make changes in their lives, once they are back home.
    Love how this story really happened, in a different location to Debbie's parent. I know Snoqualmie area and I can see this happening. Glad she can write such a touching story.
    Love the knitting connections.
    .
    Shirley, Goodness and Mercy by Debbie Macomber
    Greg Bennett had to get a loan or he'd have to lay off his employees at the vineyard.
    Sherry Adams meets him at the bar and he buys her a drink but she doesn't want to spend more time with him.
    He ends up at church so he can think about his empty life. He had others who needed him but he had walked away. He may need to go see his brother and talk things over, apologize even, to get money he needed. He's treated his 3 wives terribly and the angels think they need to show him what christmas is all about.
    He sees one of his ex wives and finds out he has a son but her husband has adopted Eddie. He now plans to meet him.
    The angels also have to deal with a child that has leukemia. Others come to his aid trying to get others to
    donate blood to see if they are a donor match. Other relatives of Greg need help and some of them can give help to Greg.
    It's up to the angels to make it all happen.

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

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Awesome!

    2 wonderful Christmas stories...great reading for any time of the year.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    DM 2

    another one of my favorites - love these books - takes away so much stress - like a hot bubble bath of the mind to relax and refresh

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    Genuine Christmas Spirit

    I usually really enjoy Debbie Macomber's books. But this one was truly inspiring. It shows us that even though we are so caught up in our daily lives, we all have the ability and desire to be a good and generous person, to make a difference in someone's life. We just need to feel needed. This book sets the example in an extreme situation. This story shows us that being forced to dig deep into our inner being to find the real person and letting go of everyday issues, to help someone else, can bring out the best in each of us. You will come away from this story with a heart-felt smile, and true Christmas spirit.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 7, 2011

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    Posted December 23, 2010

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    Posted December 10, 2009

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    Posted August 5, 2011

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    Posted April 21, 2011

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    Posted December 17, 2010

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    Posted October 12, 2012

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    Posted June 1, 2011

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    Posted June 30, 2014

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    Posted December 26, 2010

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