When Christmas Comes

When Christmas Comes

4.6 8
by Debbie Macomber

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Trading houses.
Trading towns. Trading Christmas.

Emily Springer widowed mother of one, decides to leave her hometown of Leavenworth, Washington, to spend Christmas with her daughter in Boston.

Charles Brewster, history professor, seasoned curmudgeon and resident of Boston, wants to avoid Christmas altogether.

Through an

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Trading houses.
Trading towns. Trading Christmas.

Emily Springer widowed mother of one, decides to leave her hometown of Leavenworth, Washington, to spend Christmas with her daughter in Boston.

Charles Brewster, history professor, seasoned curmudgeon and resident of Boston, wants to avoid Christmas altogether.

Through an Internet site, they arrange to swap houses for the holiday. So Emily goes to Boston--and discovers that her daughter has gone to Florida. And Charles arrives in Leavenworth to discover a town that looks like Santa's village, full of Christmas trees, Christmas music and elves.

Meanwhile, Emily's friend Faith Kerrigan travels to Leavenworth to visit her--and finds Charles the grouch. . .whose brother, Ray, shows up at Charles's place, to find Emily living there.

Through all the mix-ups and misunderstandings, amid the chaos and confusion, romance begins to emerge in unexpected ways. Because when Christmas comes, so does love. . .

Debbie Macomber lives in the state of Washington with her husband, Wayne.

New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is a multi-award-winning writer with more than sixty million copies of her books in print, including 311 Pelican Court, The Shop on Blossom Street and Changing Habits.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Christmas travel calamities lead to cross-country romances in bestseller Macomber's latest, a treacly but well-told story that begins when widowed Washington State teacher Emily Springer engineers a house-swap with Boston history professor Charles Brewster in order to visit her daughter at Harvard. Too bad Heather Springer is heading to Florida with her new biker boyfriend, leaving Emily stranded in Brewster's "barren" Boston condo. Meanwhile, scroogey Brewster has discovered that Leavenworth, Wash., is Christmas central (er, he was hoping for the other Leavenworth-the prison town Leavenworth). How will he finish his book when all the kids want to take him sledding? Romance rides in on a sleigh of preposterous coincidence as Charles's brother, publishing executive Ray, goes to Boston to check up on Charles and ends up falling for Emily, and Emily's best friend, Faith, a Bay Area teacher, pays a surprise visit to Leavenworth and winds up snuggling with Charles. Despite the gooey romantic twists of fate, Macomber keeps the comic material light and lively, and it's hard not to root for her likable stock characters. The subplot about Heather's Florida adventure with biker-boy is slightly underdeveloped, and another festive romance feels like overkill. But readers looking for a holiday fairy tale will find plenty of reasons to cheer (even if they wish for an intermittent dose of reality). Agent, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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When Christmas Comes

By Debbie Macomber

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7783-2090-1

Chapter One

"What do you mean you won't be home for Christmas?" Emily Springer was sure she couldn't have heard correctly. She pressed the telephone receiver harder against her ear, as though that would clarify her daughter's words.

"Mom, I know you're disappointed...."

That didn't even begin to cover it. Emily had scraped and sacrificed in order to save airfare home for her only daughter, a student at Harvard. They always spent the holidays together, and now Heather was telling her she wouldn't be back for Christmas.

"What could possibly be more important than Christmas with your family?" Emily asked, struggling to hide her distress.

Her daughter hesitated. "It's just that I've got so much going on during those two weeks. I'd love to be home with you, I really would, but ... I can't."

Emily swallowed past the lump in her throat. Heather was twenty-one; Emily realized her daughter was becoming an independent adult, but for the last eleven years it had been just the two of them. The thought of being separated from her only child over Christmas brought tears to her eyes.

"You've got all the neighbor kids to spoil," Heather continued.

Yes, the six Kennedy children would be more than happy to gobble up Emily's homemade cookies, candies and othertraditional holiday treats. But it wouldn't be the same.

"I was home a few months ago," Heather reminded her next.

Emily opened her mouth to argue. True, her daughter had spent the summer in Leavenworth, but she'd been busy working and saving money for school. If she wasn't at her library job, she was with her friends. Emily knew that Heather had her own life now, her own friends, her own priorities and plans. That was to be expected and natural, and Emily told herself she should be proud. But spending Christmas on opposite sides of the country was simply too hard - especially for the two of them, who'd once been so close.

"What about the money I saved for your airfare?" Emily asked lamely, as if that would change anything.

"I'll fly out for Easter, Mom. I'll use it then."

Easter was months away, and Emily didn't know if she could last that long. This was dreadful. Three weeks before Christmas, and she'd lost every shred of holiday spirit.

"I have to hang up now, Mom."

"I know, but ... can't we talk about this? I mean, there's got to be a way for us to be together."

Heather hesitated once more. "You'll be fine without me."

"Of course I will," Emily said, dredging up the remnants of her pride. The last thing she wanted was to look pathetic to her daughter - or to heap on the guilt - so she spoke with an enthusiasm she didn't feel. Disappointment pounded through her with every beat of her heart. She had to remember she wasn't the only one who'd be alone, though. Heather would be missing out, too. "What about you?" Emily asked. Caught up in her own distress, she hadn't been thinking about her daughter's feelings. "Will you be all alone?"

"For Christmas, you mean?" Heather said. Her voice fell slightly, and it sounded as if she too was putting on a brave front. "I have friends here, and I'll probably get together with them - but it won't be the same."

That had been Emily's reaction: It won't be the same. This Christmas marked the beginning of a new stage in their relationship. It was inevitable - but Christmas was still Christmas, and she vowed that wherever Heather was in future years, they'd spend the holiday together. Emily squared her shoulders. "We'll make it through this," she said stoutly.

"Of course we will."

"I'll be in touch soon," Emily promised.

"I knew you'd be a trouper about this, Mom."

Heather actually seemed proud of her, but Emily was no heroine. After a brief farewell, she placed the portable phone back in the charger and slumped into the closest chair.

Moping around, Emily tried to fight off a sense of depression that had begun to descend. She couldn't concentrate on anything, too restless to read or watch TV. The house felt ... bleak. Uncharacteristically so. Maybe because she hadn't put up the Christmas decorations, knowing how much Heather loved helping her.

They had their own traditions. Heather always decorated the fireplace mantel, starting with her favorite piece, a small almost-antique angel that had belonged to Emily's mother. While she did that, Emily worked on the windowsills around the dining room, arranging garlands, candles and poinsettias. Then together, using the ornaments Emily had collected over the years, they'd decorate the Christmas tree. Not an artificial one, either, despite warnings that they were safer than fresh trees.

It sometimes took them half a day to choose their Christmas tree. Leavenworth was a small Washington town tucked in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and it offered a stunning array of firs and pines.

This year, without Heather, there would be no tree. Emily wouldn't bother. Really, why go to that much effort when she'd be the only one there to enjoy it. Why decorate the house at all?


Excerpted from When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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