There's Something about Christmas

( 34 )

Overview

Emma Collins has always believed that the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who love fruitcake and those who don't. She's firmly in the second category, so it's ironic that her first major assignment for the Puyallup, Washington, Examiner is a series of articles about...fruitcake. At least it's a step up from writing obituaries.

Her task is to interview the finalists in a fruitcake recipe contest, and that means traveling around the state. Actually...flying around...

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Overview

Emma Collins has always believed that the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who love fruitcake and those who don't. She's firmly in the second category, so it's ironic that her first major assignment for the Puyallup, Washington, Examiner is a series of articles about...fruitcake. At least it's a step up from writing obituaries.

Her task is to interview the finalists in a fruitcake recipe contest, and that means traveling around the state. Actually...flying around the state. Local pilot Oliver Hamilton, who's starting an airfreight business, has agreed to take her wherever she needs to go, in exchange for free advertising. Unfortunately Emma hates small planes--almost as much as she hates fruitcake.

But in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Emma falls for Oliver (who's not quite the Scrooge he sometimes seems) and his mutt, Oscar (who's allergic to her perfume, which makes him sneeze repeatedly). And she meets three wise women who know a lot about fruitcake--and even more about life.

It all reminds her that there's something about Christmas. Something special...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling author Debbie Macomber (who won a Quill Award for Best Romance with 44 Cranberry Point) delight her many fans with an annual Christmas romantic comedy. This time, she delivers not only love and laughter but also…fruitcake.

Macomber's sweet romance pits Emma Collins, a young reporter, against pilot Oliver Hamilton. Yes, he's attractive; yes, she's attracted; but Emma has issues. She is estranged from her father, she doesn't trust men, and Christmas is just another day to go to the movies alone. A coveted feature assignment takes her by plane to interview the three finalists in a national fruitcake contest. By the time the article is finished, Emma has learned more than a little about life and love from each woman -- and, with Oliver's help, she has rediscovered the joy of Christmas. (Bakers, take note: Recipes for the winning fruitcakes are included -- applesauce, chocolate, and a special no-bake version!) Ginger Curwen
Publishers Weekly
A smalltown Washington reporter learns to love fruitcake in Macomber's chick-lit take on A Christmas Carol. Emma Collins ("kinda cute in an uptight sort of way") hopes that writing obituaries and selling ads for the Puyallup Examiner will lead to a journalism career. Instead, her first plum assignment-interviewing three finalists in a national fruitcake recipe contest-lands her in the cockpit of devil-may-care pilot Oliver Hamilton, whose good looks and charm remind her of her shiftless father. Despite Emma's fear of flying, Oliver takes her to Yakima, Colville and the San Juan islands to meet three women who all figure that when life gives you lemons (or anything else), make fruitcake. Emma tastes the thrice-married barmaid's liquor-laden concoction, the tender-hearted widow's chocoholic dream and the struggling young mother's no-bake graham-cracker confection. While she tries to capture in print lessons learned from the three cooks, Oliver's plane is grounded by a snowstorm, Emma and Oliver kiss, she gets thrown out of her apartment trying to rescue a stray dog, he falls in the water trying to rescue her and she decides Christmas isn't as bad as she thought. It all adds up to another tale of romance in the lives of ordinary people, with a message that life is like a fruitcake: full of unexpected delights. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778322252
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,191,673
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber

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.

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

Chapter One

On that cold day I was born, in February 1955, my great-aunt gave me a classic fruitcake for the celebration of the occasion of my birth. Every year during the holidays I pull it out of the attic and take a look at it and it still looks great, and every year I try to get up the nerve to take a slice and try it.

--Dean Fearing,
chef of The Mansion on Turtle Creek

This job was going to kill her yet.

Emma Collins stared at the daredevil pilot who was urging her toward his plane. She’d come to Thun Field to drum up advertising dollars for her employer, The Puyallup Examiner, and wasn’t interested in taking a spin around southeast Puget Sound.

"Thank you, but no," she insisted for the third time. Oliver Hamilton seemed to have a hearing problem. However, Emma was doing her best to maintain a professional facade, despite her pounding heart. No way would she go for a ride with Flyboy.

The truth was, Emma was terrified of flying. Okay, she white-knuckled it in a Boeing 747, but nothing on God’s green earth would get her inside a small plane with this man -- and his dog. Oliver Hamilton had a devil-may-care glint in his dark blue eyes and wore a distressed brown leather jacket that resembled something a World War Two bomber pilot might wear. All he needed was the white scarf. She suspected that if he ever got her in the air, he’d start making loops and circles with the express purpose of frightening her to death. He looked just the type.

Placing the advertising-rate sheet on his desk, she turned resolutely away from the window and the sight of Hamilton’s little bitty plane -- a Cessna Caravan 675, he’d called it. "As I was explaining earlier, The Examiner has a circulation of over forty-five thousand. As you’ll see--" she gestured at the sheet "--we have special introductory rates in December. We serve four communities and, dollar for advertising dollar, you can’t do better than what we’re offering."

"Yes, yes, I understand all that," Oliver Hamilton said, stepping around his desk. "Now, what I can offer you is the experience of a lifetime . . ."

Instinctively Emma backed away. She had an aversion to attractive men whose promises slid so easily off their tongues. Her father had been one of them. He’d flitted in and out of her life during her childhood and teen years. Every so often, he’d arrived bearing gifts and making promises, none of which he’d kept. Still, her mother had loved Bret Collins until the end. Pamela had died after a brief illness when Emma was a sophomore at the University of Oregon. To his credit, her father had paid her college expenses, but Emma refused to have anything to do with him. She was on her own in the world and determined to make a success of her career as a journalist. When she’d hired on at The Examiner earlier that year, she hadn’t objected to starting at the bottom. She’d expected that. What she hadn’t expected was spending half her time trying to sell advertising.

The Examiner was a family-owned business, one of a vanishing breed. The newspaper had been in the Berwald family for three generations. Walt Berwald II had held on through the corporate buyouts and survived the competition from the big-city newspapers coming out of Tacoma and Seattle. It hadn’t been easy. Now his thirty-year-old son had taken over after his father’s recent heart attack. Walt the third, the new editor-in-chief, was doing everything he could to keep the newspaper financially solvent, which Emma knew was a challenge.

"Hey, Oscar," Oliver said, bending to pet his dog. "I think the lady’s afraid of flying."

Emma bristled, irritated that he’d pegged her so quickly. "Don’t be ridiculous."

He ignored her and continued to pet the dog. She couldn’t readily identify his breed, possibly some kind of terrier. The dog was mostly white with one large black spot surrounding his left eye. Right out of that 1930s show Spanky and Our Gang. Wasn’t that the name? She shook off her momentary distraction.

"I’m here to sell you advertising in The Examiner," she explained again. "I hope you’ll reconsider."

Oliver straightened, crossing his arms, and leaned against his desk. "As I said, I’m just getting my business started. At this point I don’t have a lot of discretionary funds for advertising. So for now I’ll stick with the word-of-mouth method. That seems to be working."

It couldn’t be working that well, since he appeared to have a lot of time on his hands. "Exactly what is it you do?" she asked.

"I give flying lessons and I’ve recently begun an airfreight business."

"Oh."

"Oscar and I haven’t crashed even once."

He was obviously making fun of her, and she didn’t appreciate it. Nor did she take his alleged safety record as an incentive to leap into the passenger seat.

"But then," he added, "there’s always a first time."

"Exactly what I was going to say," Emma muttered. "Well, I’ll leave the information with you," she said more pleasantly. "I hope you’ll think about our proposal when it’s financially feasible."

Retrieving her briefcase and purse, she headed toward the door -- which Oliver suddenly blocked with his arm. His smile was as lazy as it was sexy. Hmm, funny how often lazy and sexy went together. Considering all that boyish charm, plenty of other women had probably melted at his feet. She wouldn’t.

She met his gaze without flinching.

"Are you sure I can’t take you up for a spin?" he asked.

"Absolutely, positively sure."

"There’s nothing to fear except fear itself."

"Uh-uh. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other calls to make."

He moved aside. "It’s a shame. You’re kinda cute in an uptight sort of way."

Unable to resist, she rolled her eyes.

Oliver chuckled and walked her out to her car, his dog trotting behind him. Normally Emma would’ve taken time to pet the terrier, but Oliver Hamilton would inevitably read that as a sign she was interested in him. She was fond of animals, especially dogs, and hoped to get one herself. Unfortunately, her apartment complex didn’t allow pets; not only that, the landlord was a real piece of work. As soon as she had the chance, Emma planned to find somewhere else to live.

Using her remote, she unlocked her car door, which Oliver promptly opened for her. She smiled her thanks, eager to leave, and climbed into the driver’s side.

"So I can’t change your mind?"

She shook her head. The one thing a ladies’ man could never resist, Emma had learned from her father, was a woman who said no. Somehow, she’d have to get Oliver to accept her at her word.

She reached for the door and closed it. Hard.

Oliver stepped back.

After she’d started the ignition and pulled away, he smiled at her -- a mysterious smile -- as if he knew something she didn’t.

As far as Emma was concerned, she’d made a lucky escape.

Her irritation had just begun to fade when she returned to the office and walked down to her cubicle in the basement, shared with half a dozen other staff. The area was affectionately -- and sometimes not so affectionately -- termed The Dungeon. Phoebe Wilkinson, who sat opposite her, glanced up when Emma tossed her purse onto her desk.

"That bad?" Phoebe asked, rolling her chair across the narrow aisle. She was one of the other reporters, a few years older than Emma. She was short where Emma was tall, with dark hair worn in a pixie cut while Emma’s was long and blond. Most of the time, anyway. Occasionally Emma was a redhead or a brunette.

"You wouldn’t believe my afternoon."

"Did you sell any ads?" Phoebe asked. It’d been her turn the day before and she’d come back with three brand-new accounts.

Emma nodded. She’d managed to get the local pizza parlor to place an ad in the Wednesday edition with a dollar-off coupon for any large pizza. That way, the restaurant could figure out how well the advertising had worked. Emma just hoped everyone in town would go racing into the parlor with that coupon. Badda Bing, Badda Boom Pizza had been her only sale.

"That’s great," Phoebe said with real enthusiasm.

"Yes, at least our payroll checks won’t bounce." She couldn’t restrain her sarcasm.

Phoebe frowned, shaking her head. "Walt would never let that happen."

Her friend and co-worker had a crush on the owner. Phoebe was the strongest personality she knew, yet when it came to Walt, she seemed downright timid -- far from her usual assertive self.

Emma sighed. Her own feelings about men had grown cynical. Her father was mostly responsible for that. Her one serious college romance hadn’t helped, either; it ended when her mother became ill. Emma hadn’t been around to help Neal with his assignments, so he’d dropped her for another journalism student. Pulling out her chair, Emma sat down. She hadn’t worked so hard to get her college degree for this. Her feet hurt, she had a run in her panty hose and no one was going to give her a Pulitzer prize when she spent half her time pounding the pavement and the other half writing obituaries.

Yes, obituaries. Walt’s big coup had been getting a contract to write obituaries for the large Tacoma newspaper, and that had been her job and Phoebe’s for the past eight months. Emma had gotten quite good at summarizing someone else’s life -- but that hardly made a smudge on the page of her own.

She hadn’t obtained a journalism degree in order to persuade the local department store to place mattress sale ads in the Sunday paper, either. She was a reporter! A darn good one . . . if only someone would give her a chance to prove herself. Emma longed to write a piece worthy of her education and her skills, and frankly, preparing obituaries wasn’t it.

"I don’t think I can do this much longer," she confessed sadly. "Either Walt lets me write a real story or . . ." She didn’t know what.

Phoebe gasped. "You aren’t thinking of quitting, are you?"

Emma looked at her friend. She’d been hired the same week as Phoebe. The difference was, Phoebe seemed content to do whatever was asked of her. She loved writing obituaries and set the perfect tone with each one. Not Emma. She hated it, struggling with them all. The result was always adequate or better because Emma took pride in her work, but it just wasn’t what she wanted to be doing. She had ambition and dreamed that one day she’d write feature articles. Eventually, she hoped to have her own column.

"I don’t want to quit. I’ve been waiting six months for Walt to offer me something more than funeral home notices."

"Sleep on it," Phoebe advised. "You’ve had a rough day. Everything will seem better in the morning."

"You’re right," she murmured. An ultimatum shouldn’t be made on the spur of the moment. Besides, it wasn’t the obituaries or even drumming up advertising dollars that depressed her the most.

It was Christmas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    A

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Enjoyable read

    Excellent way to relax after a long day , only problem is putting it down. I would recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Posted September 29, 2012

    Highly Recommend--You Must Read It!

    Once I started to read this book -- could not stop reading till I finished it, another one (1) that I read in one (1) day!!

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Wonderfully Charming Christmas Story!!!!

    There Is Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber

    In Debbie Macomber's 2005 Christmas offering, we find Emma Collins, being assigned her first major assignment for her Puyallup newspaper of interviewing the three Washington State finalists in the Fruitcake contest for Good Homemaking Magazine. Since she hates anything to do with Christmas, this seems to be a daunting task, especially since she detests fruitcake and the pilot, Oliver Hamilton, who just happens to take on the assignment for his air service business he has just started, in lieu of getting advertising. Emma hates flying, so when she has to fly with Oliver and his Terrier, Oscar, who sneezes each time he's around her, due to his being allergic to perfume, things get too much for Emma. Oliver seems to be too much like her estranged father, who left she and her mother years earlier.

    The first lady Emma interviews about her Fruitcake is Earleen Williams, who lives in Yakima and who has been married three times. Emma learns more about her love of making Fruitcake than she bargains for and even gets laid over due to a snowstorm. Her next Fruitcake lady is Sophie McKay, eighty year old widow from Colville, who has a love for cats and flowers. Sophie gives Emma some wise lessons about life through Fruitcake recipe, which has a secret ingredient her husband requested of her to use. Earlene also had a secret ingredient as well. Her third and final lady is Peggy Lucas, a young mother of four children, who lives in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Getting to Peggy is an adventure, as Emma has to fly on a pontoon plane. Emma learns from Peggy that her recipe she'd only been making a short time, as her young kids didn't want to wait for weeks or months to eat her special Fruitcake. You will need to read this wonderfully witty adventure to find out what the secret ingredients for these three Fruitcakes are. What I loved about this offering was there were little snippets from well-known chefs at the beginning of each chapter and the recipes for each Fruitcake. I'm not a Fruitcake person, but these sounded like something I might try.

    Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
    Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2006

    Wonderful Novel

    I loved this book and I give at 2 thumbs up! It was everything I expected from Debbie Macomber.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2006

    Great read and a great gift idea too

    I ended up buying the other small Christmas titles by Debbie. What a wonderful seasonal story ... and a quick read too. I ended up buying multiple copies as gifts. The covers are pretty and a nice big wire ribbon on it in a pretty bag I was all done. Thanks for my fun and making easy shopping this past holiday season! I am counting on it being a yearly tradition!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    A cute love story!

    I'm a sucker for a modern day love story. This was just the book to read right before Christmas! I really enjoyed it and it brought out some more of my own Christmas spirit!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2005

    Very Sweet Book

    I enjoy reading light romances about Christmastime while waiting for the holiday to arrive, and this was a very sweet, entertaining book. And of course, as with all of Debbie Macomber's books, it had a very happy ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2005

    3.5 stars.

    Though Emma Collins longs to be a real reporter for her small town newspaper, she's relegated to writing ads and obits until one day, her boss assigns her to interview the three Washington state winners in the Good Housekeeping fruitcake recipe contest. There's only a couple of drawbacks one, she will have to fly, and Emma is terrified of that idea two, her pilot will be Oliver Hamilton, a guy who definitely gets under her skin. Gathering all her courage, she goes through with the assignment, and begins to learn more about her pilot, a man bent on proving that he can be a romantic hero. Oliver's version of romance includes showing up with pizza when she's too tired to cook and bringing her newly adopted, rescued mutt food. He also helps her find an apartment when her landlord is less than thrilled by her breaking the no pets rule. Inevitably, the pair gets closer. Emma is doing great, she's conquered three aversions in a short space of time flying, fruitcake, and Oliver. There is one that she refuses to even try and overcome, her Christmas phobia. Her exile from the holiday is just too painful to deal with, so she doesn't, and Oliver just can't comprehend that. Then again, Christmas is all about miracles, so maybe things can begin to be different, with just a bit of help from love. .......................... This is among Ms. Macomber's best work. Emma is a heroine that legions of fans will identify with and for whom they will cheer. Humor that had to be inspired by reality fills the pages, and will make you smile. Even if you don't like fruitcake, the recipes included are intriguing. Oliver definitely understands what romance is, and proves it from beginning to end.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Warm Christmas romanc

    In Washington State, Emma Collins writes ads and obits for the Puyallup Examiner, a newspaper struggling to remain financially solvent, which includes more local interest stories and a chance for Emma to write an article or two. Her editor Walt Berwald III assigns Emma to interview the three Washington state entries (Earlene, Sophie, and Peggy) who are among the national finalists in the Good Housekeeping fruitcake recipe contest ironically she hates fruitcake................. To accomplish her assignment in a timely manner, Emma must fly in a Cessna when a 747 gives her cardiac arrest with a daredevil pilot Oliver Hamilton, who irritates her. Still this is her first true journalism assignment so she flies with Oliver around the state, which leads to them learning more about one another. He becomes her knight in shining armor bring dog food for her newly rescued pet and pizza for her. Emma realizes she can fly, look at fruitcake, and fall in love with Oliver. However, her other phobia, anti-Christmas is a whole different aversion and she refuses to explain her bah humbug attitude that could destroy their relationship....................... This warm Christmas romance avoids for the most part the schmaltzy by using the right amount of humor to enhance the relationship between the pilot and the reporter. Emma is a terrific individual who overcomes two relatively minor woes and her fear of love ends in trauma especially around Christmas (Kate from Gremlins) to give her heart to Oliver, a modern gentleman. Fruitcake recipes aside, the real ingredients of this fine Yuletide yarn is a pinch of caring, a dab of understanding, and a whole lot of love.............. Harriet Klausner

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    Posted July 8, 2011

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