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Starry Night: A Christmas Novel

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel

4.3 185
by Debbie Macomber

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’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first


’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.
Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.
Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.
Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/02/2013
Contemporary romance queen Macomber (Rose Harbor in Bloom) hits the sweet spot with this tender tale of impractical love. Newspaper reporter Carrie Slayton is sick of covering Chicago society events, so she hops on a plane to the Alaskan bush, determined to track down Finn Dalton, a bestselling author no one knows anything about. Finn hates reporters, guards his privacy, distrusts romance after a bad breakup, and resents his mother for leaving him and his father. Naturally, he refuses to engage in any personal conversation with Carrie when she arrives. But he can’t control his attraction to her and slips a few times during her stay, showing his sensitive side. By the time Carrie goes home, they are halfway in love, and they bridge the distance with e-mail and text messages. Carrie has to be extremely patient while Finn works through his issues, but their happy ending is a delicious Christmas miracle well worth waiting for. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Seattle native Carrie Slayton, currently the society page columnist for a Chicago newspaper, yearns to write more serious stories. When she threatens to quit, her editor says she can choose any topic to write about if she manages to get an interview with Finn Dalton, a reclusive author who wrote a popular book about his life in the Alaskan wilderness. Some digging (and an appeal to Finn's mother) lands Carrie a flight to Finn's remote cabin, where a storm traps them together long enough for sparks to fly. When Finn asks her not to write about him, will Carrie risk her career for a life with Finn? VERDICT This is a sweet contemporary Christmas romance sans Macomber's usual angelic activity. The best-selling author's many fans will enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/13.]
Kirkus Reviews
Chicago society-page columnist Carrie Slayton wants to find and interview reclusive author Finn Dalton to prove her credibility as a real journalist; she doesn't expect to fall in love with him, jeopardizing both her heart and her career. Carrie Slayton yearns to write meatier stories, and her editor offers her a challenge: find and interview best-selling, reclusive author Finn Dalton, and she can have her pick of assignments. Determined, Carrie makes real progress, tracking down his birth certificate, then his mother, then the man himself. Basically drop-shipped by an Alaskan bush pilot to his cabin's doorstep, she is met by an angry author and an Arctic blizzard. Finn may be crotchety, but he's not inhumane, and he can hardly leave her outside in the snow. As the two get to know each other, they realize they may have more in common than either expected, and despite their icy beginnings, they warm up to each other. After two snowbound days, Carrie heads back to Chicago and her job, but neither Carrie nor Finn is ready to say goodbye, and the two begin a long-distance romance. Meanwhile, despite enough material to write a story, Carrie buries the piece, believing Finn's trust in her is more valuable than any article. The two are stuck on each other, but the people around them are more worried about their differences than their similarities, and they'll either have to figure out a way to be together or end it completely. Set in snowy Alaska, Chicago and Seattle during the Christmas season, Macomber fulfills fans' expectations with this romantic holiday confection. As with many Macomber books, the pace is relaxed, the story soft and fuzzy. Certain details miss the mark, and sometimes the story feels told more than shown, but the author will likely enthrall her usual audience with this quick, simple love story of two opposites attracting and struggling to make it work. Typical Macomber holiday romantic fare: short and sweet and as much a part of the season for some readers as cookies and candy canes.
From the Publisher
“Contemporary romance queen Macomber (Rose Harbor in Bloom) hits the sweet spot with this tender tale of impractical love. . . . A delicious Christmas miracle well worth waiting for.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] holiday confection . . . as much a part of the season for some readers as cookies and candy canes.”Kirkus Reviews
“A sweet contemporary Christmas romance . . . [that] the best-selling author’s many fans will enjoy.”Library Journal
“Macomber can be depended on for an excellent story. . . . Readers will remain firmly planted in the beginnings of a beautiful love story between two of the most unlikely characters.”RT Book Reviews (Top Pick, 4½ stars)
“Macomber, the prolific and beloved author of countless bestsellers, has penned a romantic story that will pull at your heartstrings with its holiday theme and emphasis on love and finding that special someone.”Bookreporter
“Magical . . . Macomber has given us another delightful romantic story to cherish. This one will touch your heart just as much as her other Christmas stories. Don’t miss it!”Fresh Fiction

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Carrie Slayton’s feet were killing her. She’d spent the last ninety minutes standing in two-inch heels at a charity art auction in a swanky studio in downtown Chicago. She couldn’t understand how shoes that matched her black dress so beautifully could be this painful. Vanity, thy name is fashion.

“My name is spelled with two l’s,” the middle-aged woman, dripping in diamonds, reminded her. “That’s Michelle, with two l’s.”

“Got it.” Carrie underlined the correct spelling. Michelle, spelled with two l’s, had just spent thirty thousand dollars for the most ridiculous piece of art Carrie had ever seen. True, it was for a good cause, but now she seemed to feel her name needed to be mentioned in the news article Carrie would write for the next edition of the Chicago Herald.

“It would be wonderful to have my husband’s and my picture to go along with your article,” Michelle added. “Perhaps you should take it in front of the painting.”

Carrie looked over her shoulder at Harry, the photographer who’d accompanied her from the newspaper.

“Of course, Lloyd and I would want approval of any photograph you choose to publish.”

“Of course,” Carrie said, doing her best to keep a smile in place. If she didn’t get out of these shoes soon, her feet would be permanently deformed. She wiggled her toes, hoping for relief. Instead they ached even worse.

Harry, bless his heart, dutifully stepped forward, camera in hand, and flashed two or three photos of the couple posing in front of what might have been a red flower or a painting of a squished tomato or possibly the aftermath of a murder scene. Carrie had yet to decide which. The title of the work didn’t offer a clue. Red. Yes, the painting was in that color, but exactly what it depicted remained a mystery.

“Isn’t it stunning?” Michelle asked when she noticed Carrie staring at the canvas.

Carrie tilted her head one way and then another, looking for some clue as to its possible significance. Then, noticing that Michelle, spelled with two l’s, was waiting for her response, she said, “Oh, yes, it’s amazing.”

Harry didn’t bother to hide his smile, knowing that all Carrie really wanted was to get out of those ridiculous shoes. And to think she’d gotten her journalism degree for this!

Carrie knew she was fortunate to have a job with such a prestigious newspaper. A professor had pulled a favor and gotten her the interview. Carrie had been stunned when she’d been hired. Surprised and overjoyed.

Two years later, she was less so. Her assignment was the society page. When she was hired, she’d been told that eventually she’d be able to write meatier pieces, do interviews and human-interest stories. To this point, it hadn’t happened. Carrie felt trapped, frustrated, and underappreciated. She felt her talent was being wasted.

To make matters worse, her entire family lived in the Pacific Northwest. Carrie had left everything she knew and loved behind, including Steve, her college sweetheart. He’d married less than six months after she took the position in Chicago. It hadn’t taken him long, she noted. The worst part was that Carrie was far too busy reporting on social events to have time for much of a social life herself. She dated occasionally, but she hadn’t found anyone who made her heart race. Dave Schneider, the man she’d been seeing most recently, was more of a friend than a love interest. She supposed after Steve she was a bit hesitant to get involved again. Maybe once she left the Herald and moved home to write for a newspaper in the Seattle area, like she planned, things would be different.

Back inside her condo, Carrie gingerly removed her shoes and sighed with relief.

This was it. She was done. First thing in the morning she would hand in her two-week notice, sublet her condo, and take her chances in the job market in Seattle. If the managing editor, Nash Jorgen, refused to give her the opportunity to prove she had what it took, then why stay? She refused to be pigeonholed.

That decided, Carrie limped into her bedroom and fell into bed, tired, frustrated, and determined to make a change.

“You can’t be serious,” argued Sophie Peterson, her closest friend at the newspaper, when Carrie told her of her decision.

“I’m totally serious,” she said as she hobbled to her desk.

“What’s wrong with your foot?” Sophie asked, tagging behind her.

“Stupidity. This gorgeous pair of shoes was only available in a half-size smaller than what I normally wear. They were so perfect, and they were buy one pair, get the second half off. I couldn’t resist, but now I’m paying for it.”

“Carrie, don’t do it.”

“Don’t worry, I have no intention of wearing those heels again. I tossed them in a bag for charity.”

“Not that,” Sophie argued. “Don’t hand in your notice! You’re needed here.”

“Not as a reporter,” Carrie assured her, dumping her purse in her bottom drawer and shucking off her thick winter coat. “Sorry, my mind is made up. You and I both know Nash will never give me a decent assignment.”

“You’re your own worst enemy.” Sophie leaned against the wall that separated their two cubicles and crossed her arms and ankles.

“How’s that?”

“Well, for one thing, you’re the perfect fit for the society page. You’re drop-dead gorgeous, tall, and thin. It doesn’t hurt that you look fabulous in a slinky black dress and a pair of spike heels. Even if I could get my hair to grow that thick, long, and curly without perming the living daylights out of it, Nash would never consider someone like me. It isn’t any wonder he wants you on the job. Give the guy a little credit, will you? He knows what he’s doing.”

“If looks are the only criterion—”

“There’s more,” Sophie said, cutting her off. “You’re great with people. All you need to do is bat those baby blues at them and strangers open up to you. It’s a gift, I tell you, a real gift.”

“Okay, I’m friendly, but this isn’t the kind of writing I want to do. I’ve got my heart set on being a reporter, a real reporter, writing about real news and interesting people.” In the beginning, Carrie had been flattered by the way people went out of their way to introduce themselves at the events she covered. It didn’t take long for her to recognize that they were looking for her to mention their names in print. What shocked her was the extent people were willing to go in order to be noticed. She was quickly becoming jaded, and this bothered her even more than Nash’s lack of faith in her abilities.

The holidays were the worst, and while it was only early November, the frenzy had already started. The list of parties Nash assigned her to attend was already mammoth. Halloween decorations were still arranged around her desk, and already there was a Christmas tree in the display window of the department store across the street.

Determined to stick with her plan, Carrie went directly into Nash Jorgen’s office.

A veteran newsman, Nash glanced up from his computer screen and glared in her direction. He seemed to sense this wasn’t a social visit. His shoulders rose with a weary sigh. “What now?” he growled.

“I’m handing in my two-week notice.” If she’d been looking for a response, she would have been disappointed.

He blinked a couple of times, ran his hand down the side of his day-old beard, and asked, “Any particular reason?”

“I hoped to prove I can be a darn good reporter, but I’ll never get the chance writing anything more than copy for society weddings. You said when you hired me that you’d give me a shot at reporting real news.”

“I don’t remember what I said. What’s wrong with what you’re writing now? You’re good.”

“It isn’t what I want to write.”

“So? You make the best of it, pay your dues, and in time you’ll get the break you’re looking for.”

Carrie was tired of waiting. She straightened her shoulders, her resolve tightening. “I know I’m fortunate to work for the Herald. It was a real coup to get this position, but this isn’t the career I wanted. You give me no choice.” She set her letter of resignation on his desk.

That got Nash’s attention. He swiveled his chair around to look at her once more. His frown darkened, and he ran his hand through his thinning hair. “You really are serious, aren’t you?”

A chill went down her spine. Nash was actually listening. “Yes, I’m serious.”

“Fine, then.” He reached across his desk and picked up a hardcover book and handed it to her. “Find Finn Dalton, get an interview, and write me a story I can print.”

She grabbed hold of the book, not recognizing the author’s name. “And if I do?”

“Well, first, there’s a snowball’s chance of you even locating him. Every reporter in the universe is dying to interview him. But if you get lucky and he’s willing to talk and we print the piece, then I’ll take you off the society page.”

Carrie wavered. He seemed to be offering her a chance, as impossible as it might seem. Now it was up to her to prove herself. She dared not show him how excited she was. “I’ll find him.”

He snickered as though he found her confidence amusing, and then sobered. He regarded her with the same dark frown he had earlier before a slow, easy smile slid over his harsh features. “I bet you will. Now, listen up—if you get an interview with Finn Dalton, you can have any assignment you want.”

Taking small steps, Carrie backed out of the office. She pointed at Nash. “I’m holding you to your word.”

The managing editor was already back to reading his computer screen and didn’t appear to have heard her. It didn’t matter; she’d heard him, and he’d come across loud and clear.

Once she was out of his office, she examined the book to see the author photo, but couldn’t find one, not even on the inside back flap.

Walking back to her cubicle, she paused at Sophie’s instead. “You ever heard of Finn Dalton?”

Sophie’s eyebrows lifted on her round face. “You mean you haven’t?”

“No.” The book title wasn’t much help. Alone. That told her next to nothing. The jacket revealed a snow-covered landscape with a scattering of stubby trees.

Sophie shook her head. “Have you been living under a rock?”

“No. Who is this guy?”

“He’s a survivalist who lives alone someplace in the Alaskan wilderness.”

“Oh.” That was a bit daunting, but Carrie considered herself up to the challenge. She’d been born and raised in Washington state. She’d hoped to join her family for Thanksgiving, but if she needed to use her vacation time to find Finn Dalton, then she was willing to.

“His book has been on the bestseller lists for nearly seven months, mostly at the number-one position.”

Carrie was impressed. “What does he write about?”

“He’s the kind of guy you can set loose in the wild with a pack of chewing gum, a pocketknife, and a handkerchief, and by the time you find him he’s built a shelter and a canoe. From what I’ve read, his stories about Alaskan life and survival in the tundra would kink your hair. Well, not that yours needs curling.”

This was Sophie’s idea of a joke. Carrie’s wild dark brown curls were the bane of her existence. She tamed them as best she could, but she often found herself the brunt of jokes over her out-of-control hair.

“Nash says he doesn’t give interviews.”

“Not just doesn’t give interviews—this guy is like a ghost. No one has ever met or even talked to him.”

“Surely his publisher or his editor—”

“No,” Sophie said, cutting her off. “Everything has been done by computer.”

“Well, then . . .”

“All anyone knows is that he lives near an Alaskan lake somewhere in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle.”

“How is it you know so much about this guy?”

“I don’t, and that’s just it. No one does. The press has gone wild looking for him. Plenty of reporters have tried to track him down, without success. No one knows how to find him, and Finn Dalton doesn’t want to be found. He should have called his book Leave Me Alone. Someone could pass him on the street and never know it was him, and from everything I’ve read, that’s exactly how he likes it.”

Intrigued, Carrie flipped through the pages of the book. “Nash said I could have any assignment I wanted if I got an interview from Finn Dalton.”

“Of course he did. Nash has been around long enough to know he’s got you in a no-win situation.”

Carrie glanced up. “I don’t care. I’m going to try.”

“I hate to be a killjoy here, but Carrie, no way will you find this guy. Better reporters than either of us have tried and failed. Every newspaper, magazine, and media outlet is looking to dig up information about him, without success. Finn Dalton doesn’t want to be found.”

That might be the case, but Carrie refused to give up without even trying. This was far too important to drop just because it was a long shot. “I’m desperate, Sophie.” And really, that said it all. If she was going to have a real career in journalism, she had to find Finn Dalton. Her entire future with the Chicago Herald hung in the balance.

“I admire your determination,” Sophie murmured, “but I’m afraid you’re going to hit one dead end after another.”

“That might be the case.” Carrie was willing to admit to her friend that finding Finn Dalton wouldn’t be easy. “But I refuse to quit without trying.” She knew Sophie didn’t mean to be negative. “I want this chance, and if it means tracking Finn Dalton into some forsaken tundra, then I will put on my big-girl shoes and go for it.” But not the heels she’d worn last night, that was for sure.

The first thing Carrie did in her search for Finn Dalton was read the book. Not once, but three times. She underlined everything that gave her a single hint as to his identity.

For two days she skipped lunch, spending her time on the computer, seeking any bit of information she could find that would help her locate Finn Dalton. She went from one search engine to another.

“How’s it going?” Sophie asked as they passed each other on their way out the door a couple of days later.

“Good.” Through her fact-finding mission, Carrie was getting a picture of the man who had written this amazing book. After a third read she almost felt as if she knew him. He hadn’t always been a recluse. He’d been raised in Alaska and had learned to live off the land from his father, whom he apparently idolized. One thing was certain, he seemed to have no use for women. In the entire book, not once did he mention his mother or any other female influence. It was more of what he didn’t say that caught Carrie’s attention.


Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber, the author of Rose Harbor in Bloom, The Inn at Rose Harbor, Starting Now, Angels at the Table, A Turn in the Road, 1105 Yakima Street, Hannah’s List, and Twenty Wishes, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Eight of her novels have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, with four debuting at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly lists. In 2009 and 2010, Mrs. Miracle and Call Me Mrs. Miracle were Hallmark Channel’s top-watched movies for the year. Debbie Macomber has more than 160 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Brief Biography

Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:
Yakima, Washington
Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

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Starry Night: A Christmas Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The review of book says it is 256 pages, and the actual page count is 152 with 9 of those pages give over to excerpts from another book. I was not worth paying $7.99 for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No plot & no character development. Lots of minor conflicts that were easily & perfectly resolved every single time. The Alaskan survivalist left the cabin a couple of times but we have no idea what he was doing otherwise there really wasn't a survivalist point to the story line. It could have been a good story if the author would have taken some time with it instead of mass producing books. Save your time & money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ok if you just want something to amuse - not too memorable
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
I look forward to a new holiday novel by Debbie Macomber every year and this fall is no exception. Starry Night brings together many of Macomber’s favorite settings, both Seattle and Alaska are represented in this breezy romance between newspaper reporter Carrie Slayton and reclusive author Finn Dalton. Promised any story she wants after two years of toiling on the society pages of a Chicago daily, Carrie’s editor challenges her to procure an interview with bestselling author Finn Dalton. Finn, however, values his privacy and doesn’t want to be found. Carrie digs deep and with her ties to the Pacific Northwest, is able to uncover a way to reach Finn that leads to a cabin far outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The story only takes place over the time of several weeks, but Macomber’s rich descriptions of the land and easy dialogue between the characters make the most insurmountable obstacle (present in any good romance!) seem doable. What seems like a very straightforward romance becomes a tender holiday story in Macomber’s capable hands.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first Debbie Macomber novel I've read and likely my last. The plot was minimal to none, the characters were okay at best. The change in the male lead from loner to in-love made no sense, no struggle or event to change him; just luckily for her the right girl I guess. It was just a very plain and boring read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was 140 pages of repetition. It started off pretty good and then just started repeating . I feel robbed. Not worth one dollar..
sharon1JT More than 1 year ago
Just delightful. I’ve missed Debbie Macomber’s books about the Alaska men. This book has no nefarious plots, abductions or intrigue – just a really sweet love story. I loved it and so will you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an O.K. book but certainly not one of her best. I felt you could almost determine the outcome early in the book. She is a good author and I will continue to read her books.
Sailon More than 1 year ago
Starry Night is a sweet, warm holiday/Christmas based story. What else do we expect from the queen of tender romance writing, Debbie Macomber. It all begins a few weeks before Thanksgiving, when Carrie Slayton, society page journalist a big Chicago based newspaper, gets challenged by her boss to get an interview with Alaskan wilderness author Finn Dalton. The elusive author has refused any interviews since his book hit #1 best seller. If Carrie pulls off this interview her boss told her she has her pick of assignments. Carrie gives up her Thanksgiving holiday time with her family to track down Dalton. She never expects the younger vibrant man she encounters. Getting snowed in gives them plenty of time to really get to know each other and both are reluctant to part. Finn asks Carrie to give up her interview and keep his privacy, now Carrie must decide between her career and the man she thinks could hold her heart. I found Starry Night an absolutely wonderful and utterly delightful story. The characters develop a sweet and tender relationship that is refreshingly genuine. If you are looking for a cute holiday season love story, Starry Night is the perfect book for you. I received this ARC copy of Starry Night from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication October 8, 2013. Written by: Debbie Macomber Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: Ballantine Books  Publication: October 8, 2013 ISBN-10: 0345528891 ISBN-13: 978-0345528896 Rating: 4 Stars Genre: Romance Age Recommendation: Young Adult +
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am trying to find out if l want to read this book by readung reviews, but all l am finding is childish nensense about people ripping off erin hunter or whatever her namme is WARRIOR books. This is harmless enough and more creative than other options but l know it isnt just me who is a bit annoyed at this. Please ppl, THIS IS NO CHAT SITE!! Thanks, Sincerely, Morgiana Boxwood aka Emberkit, Fireclan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"No thanks how bout you tell me bout alli." He said lsying in the sand
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We walk to the beach an sit in the sand hey wanna surf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe that it's been 2 years since I read tbis wonderful book. This story had me sitting on the edge of my chair with excitementwondering if he was going to invite her in, or kiss her. And if they was going to get together at the end of the story. But I won't tell you how it ends! But I will tell you that I loved this book so much, that I couldn't put the book down!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A white she cat bounds into the middle of the group of starry ancestors, meowing frantically, "StreamClan's warriors are disappearing. Please, someone, help this Clan, before it's too late! There is a young cat, her name is Canyonpaw. She has great talent. She will join our numbers unless you help!"
CookBookworm More than 1 year ago
This is a must read! I couldn't put the book down. Carrie and Finn's developing relationship is truly heartwarming. Debbie Macomber is an amazing author!
BeckyS79 More than 1 year ago
I rarely take the time to post reviews, but of all the Debbie Macomber books that I've read this was my favorite!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay. Thanks bro for the cooperation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The young kit padded around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh ok.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im nlt dead. This is starclan, rught?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes please
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The female turned to Mysteryflower is surprise. "You're Ashstar's daughter, aren't you?"