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The Christmas Basket

The Christmas Basket

3.8 48
by Debbie Macomber

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That summer—more than ten years ago, while they were still in high school—Noelle McDowell and Thomas Sutton fell secretly in love. Secretly because their mothers had been locked in a bitter feud for decades. But despite the animosity between Sarah McDowell and Mary Sutton, Noelle planned to elope with Thom. Until he jilted her.

This Christmas Noelle


That summer—more than ten years ago, while they were still in high school—Noelle McDowell and Thomas Sutton fell secretly in love. Secretly because their mothers had been locked in a bitter feud for decades. But despite the animosity between Sarah McDowell and Mary Sutton, Noelle planned to elope with Thom. Until he jilted her.

This Christmas Noelle McDowell is home to celebrate the holidays with her family. (After all, December 25 is also her birthday.) Unfortunately, Noelle's feelings about home—or rather, her hometown of Rose, Oregon—were changed forever the day Thomas Sutton broke her heart.

This Christmas the feuding mothers find themselves working together to fill Christmas baskets for charity. What irony! And what an opportunity for reconciliation…if only they could see it.

This Christmas Noelle and Thom discover they're still in love. Regardless of their mothers' reactions, they want to be together. Is that possible? Can old rivalries be set aside? Will Sarah's Christmas daughter have a second chance with Mary's charming son?

Maybe she will…this Christmas!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific, bestselling romance novelist Macomber offers fans a stocking stuffer for the Christmas season. Twenty-eight-year-old workaholic Noelle McDowell takes a rare vacation from her high-powered computer company in Dallas to come home to smalltown Rose, Ore., for the holidays and help plan her sister's wedding. Noelle hasn't been to Rose in 10 years-ever since her high school sweetheart jilted her. Theirs was a secret romance because their mothers, one-time best friends, had long been engaged in a bitter feud that began when Sarah McDowell borrowed Mary Sutton's antique tea service and never returned it. A silly popcorn-throwing incident at the movies brings Noelle and her ex, Thom-now a handsome executive at a prosperous startup-together again. They discover they're still in love. But will their warring families ruin their second chance for happiness? Their mothers, coincidentally assigned to the same volunteer job-filling Christmas baskets for the needy-begin their charity mission with a vicious toy-throwing fight at a local mall. Will an accident during an ice storm provide an occasion for their reconciliation? There aren't exactly any hairpin plot turns in this formulaic, feel-good, PG-rated contemporary romance. Still, the mom-against-mom catfight adds a dash of hilarity to this lightweight confection. The good, clean holiday fun should satisfy Macomber's fans. (Oct.) Forecast: The Christmas Basket doesn't shoot as high as The Last Noel (see above), but the price is even nicer. This is a good bet for point-of-purchase sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Home for the first time in years for her sister's holiday wedding, Noelle McDowell is forced to face Thom Sutton, the man who jilted her when they were both teenagers. Complicating matters is the longstanding feud between their mothers, which, although it will likely seem silly and shallow to most readers, is actually at the root of Noelle and Thom's problems. Fans will likely demand this light, little Christmas hardcover romance by one of the genre's favorites, especially if they enjoy sweet, contemporary romances of the Americana variety. Macomber (Between Friends) lives in Port Orchard, WA. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

The Christmas Basket

By Macomber

Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551669447

Chapter One

December 1

Noelle McDowell's Journal

I did it. I broke down and actually booked the flight to Rose. I have a ticket for December 18 - Dallas to San Francisco to Portland and then the commuter flight to Rose.

All my excuses are used up. I always figured there was no going back, and yet that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm going home when I swore I never would. Not after what happened ... Not after Thom Sutton betrayed me. I know, I know, I've always been dramatic. I can't help that - it's part of my nature.

When I was a teenager I made this vow never to return. I spoke it in the heat of passion, and no one believed me. For that matter, I didn't believe me, not really. But it proved to be so easy to stay away.... I hardly had to invent excuses.

While I was in college I had an opportunity to travel to Europe two years in a row. Then in my junior year I had a summer job and was a bridesmaid in a Christmas wedding. And when my senior year rolled around, I was working as an intern for the software company, and it was impossible to get time off. After that ... well, it was just simpler to stay away. Without meaning to, my family made it convenient. I didn't need to visit them; they seemed willing enough to come to Dallas.

All of that isabout to end. I'm prepared to face my past. I joined Weight Watchers. If I happen to see Thom Sutton, I want him to know exactly what he's missing. I've already lost five of the ten pounds I need to get rid of, and by next week he'll hardly recognize me - if we even run into each other. We won't, of course, but just on the off chance, I plan to be prepared.

Good ol' Thom Sutton. I wonder what he's doing now. Naturally I could ask, but no one dares mention the name Sutton to my family. It's the Hatfields and McCoys or the Montagues and Capulets all over again. Except that it's our mothers who started this ridiculous feud.

If I really wanted to know about Thom, I could ask Megan or Stephanie. They're the only two girls out of my entire high school class who still live in Rose. But I wouldn't do that. Inquiring about Thom would only invite questions from them about what happened between the two of us. As far as I'm concerned, the fewer people who know, the better.

He's bound to be married, anyway. Good. I want him to be happy.

No, I don't. If I can't be honest in my journal, then I shouldn't keep one. Okay, I admit it - what I really want is for him to have suffered guilt and regret all these years. He should have pined for me. His life should be a bleak series of endless days filled with haunting memories of me. It's what he deserves.

On a brighter note, I'm thrilled for Kristen. I'll return home, help her plan her wedding, hold my head high and pray that Thom Sutton has the opportunity to see me from afar, gorgeous and thin. Then I want him to agonize over all the might-have-beens.

* * *

It would be the wedding of the year. No - the wedding of the century.

Sarah McDowell intended to create the most exquisite event possible, a wedding worthy of Vogue Magazine (or at least a two-page spread in the Rose, Oregon, Gazette). The entire town would talk about her daughter's wedding.

The foundation for Sarah's plans rested squarely on booking the Women's Century Club for the reception. It was why she'd maintained her association with the club after that woman had been granted membership. She was outraged that such a fine institution would lower itself to welcome the likes of Mary Sutton.

Sarah refused to dwell on the sordid details. She couldn't allow herself to get upset over something that had happened almost twenty years ago. Although it didn't hurt any to imagine Mary hearing - secondor third-hand, of course - about Kristen's wedding. As Sarah understood it, Mary's daughter had eloped. Eloped, mind you, with some riffraff hazelnut farmer. Sarah didn't know that for sure because it was her Christian duty not to gossip or think ill of others. However, sometimes information just happened to come one's way....

Pulling into the parking lot of the Women's Century Club, Sarah surveyed the grounds. Even this late in the year, the rose garden was breathtaking. Many of the carefully tended bushes still wore their blooms, and next June, when the wedding was scheduled, the garden would be stunning. The antique roses with their intoxicating scents and the more recent hybrids with their gorgeous shapes and colors would make a fitting backdrop for the beautiful bride and her handsome groom. It would be perfect, she thought with satisfaction. Absolutely perfect.

Excerpted from The Christmas Basket by 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.

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber, with more than 100 million copies of her books sold worldwide, is one of today's most popular authors. The #1 New York Times bestselling author is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Debbie is a regular resident on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times (70 times and counting), USA TODAY (currently 67 times) and Publishers Weekly (47 times). Visit her at www.DebbieMacomber.com.

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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The Christmas Basket 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second Debbie Macomber book that I bought that was listed as being a 400 page book and turned out to be just over 100 pages. I think this is deceptive advertising. I would not pay this much for a short story! I will not buy another of her books through B&N.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I have bought by this offer, and it leavesme dissapointed. Tired of spending money on books that are just over 100 pages long.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reviews were right - may be 100 pages - Seriously?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two events changed two families' lifelong friendship years ago. When Sandy MacDowell borrowed Mary Sutton's tea service, loaned it to someone, and it was then stolen, their families became enemies. Despite this, Noel MacDowell and Thomas Sutton managed to fall in love and plan to marry. However, a misunderstanding shattered this relationship and the two parted, not to see one another for ten years.

When Noelle comes home to be part of her sister's wedding, it is inevitable that Thomas is one of the first people she sees, and keeps on seeing. At first, both pretend that their love turned into hate, but before long, they realize it did not and try to be just friends, though secretly. Their mothers still hate each other; however, they are being forced to work together on their club's annual Christmas basket project.

In an effort to mend the feud, Thomas and Noelle begin a search for a duplicate tea service, and in the process find that friendship is not all they feel. As Christmas draws nearer, can two miracles occur and two sets of hearts be healed?

**** With trademark humor and warmth, Debbie Macomber spins a tale sure to touch your heart. Both storylines are endearing and captivating, as you can always expect with this writer. Her characters, as always, are easy to relate to, as if you already knew them, or someone just like them. This is perfect reading with a cup of warm cocoa, even in the deep south where it might be iced hot chocolate instead. ****

Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.

cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Christmas Basket is a Christmas-themed novel by popular American author, Debbie Macomber. After ten years of avoiding Rose, her Oregon home town, Noelle McDowell is back for Christmas. She is hoping to evade any encounters with Thomas Sutton: her humiliation when he jilted her still smarts. But fate has other ideas and Noelle keeps running into Thom. After some strong words, they finally discover what really happened ten years ago. But the feud between their mothers, over a misunderstanding and an unfortunate theft, threatens to stand in the way of true love. This is a cute little tale with a bit of romance and a long-running squabble between friends. The reconciliation scene during the ice storm is the funniest part, but Macomber has done better. 3.5 stars 
Kellykos More than 1 year ago
I am giving the book a 4 star rating, I've read it and enjoyed it a few years ago.  However, I think it is terrible that the book is listed as a 400 page book, if anything I remember it being very short B&N needs to work on these things!  This is really bad.  On a different note, I can't stand reading all this role-playing crap that these little children are putting on this site.  Come on, B&N clean this all up.!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this book. This book has it all. I can not remember laughing out loud to a book as I did with this one. I highly recommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If your looking for a book about love and family around the christmas time I highly recommend this book.
JoyECS More than 1 year ago
Debbie can bring out real life in her stories. A great writer!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Predictable. Juvenile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a Christmas Story, but, it was slow in parts, this was one to read for the season.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No sample here, just the book cover and a list of Macomber's previous books. You can't even read the first page of this book. I don't care WHO or how famous the author is, I like to try a sample first before I buy. No sale!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great story when you read it you just cant put it down its the best book i read in a long time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book. Debbie Macomber has done it again. Have read almost all of her books and she never disappoints. If you like her previous books you will enjoy this one as well
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A typical Debbie Macomber novel. Love the way she can put the reader into the Christmas spirit with her enthusiasm for this holiday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a little disappointed that it was rather immature behavior of the main characters, when it could have had a better theme for Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure about the reviews regarding the number of pages. I know the numbering is a little different on a nook. I showed to have around 300 (600 depending on which way I held it). I thought this was a fun read. It never seemed to drag, and I even had a few giggles while I read. I love to read, but I always want a book that holds my interest. I was sorry to reach the end of this book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All 7 pages were used to list previous books, etc
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. I always enjoy reading books from this author. Worth while reading!!!!!