Upon her grandmother's death, Izzy Fontaine finds herself in possession of a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that supposedly leads to a great treasure.
Of course, once the rest of the family finds out about the "treasure map," they're determined to have a go at the treasure themselves. And, if that weren't enough, Max Logan, a local museum curator, contacts Izzy and says that Grandma Isabella promised him the quilt.
What is it about this quilt that makes everyone want it? Is Izzy on a wild goose chase of her own, or a journey that will lead her to the treasure her grandmother intended?
About the Author
Jennifer Allee spent her childhood living above a mortuary in the heart of Hollywood, California. Now she resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she writes novels and savors life’s quirky, unpredictable journey. Her novels include Last Family Standing, the best-selling A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, The Mother Road, and The Pastor’s Wife. Please visit her at JenniferAllee.com.
Read an Excerpt
A Wild Goose Chase Christmas
By Jennifer AlLee
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2012 Jennifer AlLee
All rights reserved.
Izzy Fontaine was up to her elbows in family photos when the doorbell rang. The sound echoed, joined by two sharp barks and the clicking of nails on the hardwood floor as Bogie rounded the corner, bounded across the room, and slid to a stop in front of the door. The Jack Russell terrier did the same thing anytime someone rang the bell. And every time the door opened and he saw it wasn't his owner, he slunk out of the room with his head down.
Izzy looked down at the dog. "I miss her, too, Boy."
Letting out a sigh, she dropped the eight-by-tens from her hands, pushed her chair away from the table, and trudged across the room. Who would stop by unannounced? A list of the usual suspects flitted through her mind: Students selling magazine subscriptions? Local proselytizers unnecessarily worried about her soul? Or the man with the pickup truck full of gardening tools who kept offering to rake the leaves from her yard? What she didn't expect to see through the fisheye lens of the peephole was a senior citizen standing on the porch.
She opened the door wide enough to stick her head through but blocked the bottom of the opening with her body to keep Bogie from running outside. "Can I help you?"
The man smiled. "Are you Isabella Fontaine?"
The rational part of her brain, the part that took copious mental notes whenever she watched TV crime dramas, warned her against divulging personal information to a stranger. But the other part, the part that usually found the best in everyone, couldn't believe this sweet old man held any danger.
"Yes, I'm Isabella. But no one calls me that."
"What do they call you?"
The sides of his wiry white mustache rose in a smile. "Well then, Izzy it is. I'm Virgil, and I believe I'm the one who can help you." With a bit of difficulty he produced a huge ribbon-tied box from behind his back and held it up in front of him.
"What is that?"
"A present for you. From your grandmother."
Izzy pulled back as if the box had grown teeth and snapped at her. Two days ago, alone at the assisted living facility, Grandma Isabella had passed from this world to the next. Guilt still gnawed at Izzy for not being there when her grandmother needed her. This unexpected gift only made things worse.
"Can I bring it in?"
Virgil's hopeful question reclaimed Izzy's attention. She hesitated, but the crack of thunder, followed several seconds later by a flash of lighting across the cloud-filled sky, made up her mind. "Oh. Of course." She stepped back and opened the door wider. "Come in."
With slow but steady steps, Virgil entered the house. His eyes took in the dark wood and built-in cabinetry so typical of a craftsman house. "It's just as beautiful as Isabella described it."
"Gran loved her house." Only it wasn't Gran's house anymore; it was Izzy's. Six months ago, when Gran fractured her hip and decided to move into the assisted living facility, Izzy convinced herself she was just taking care of Gran's house, Gran's dog. Just temporarily. But she couldn't keep telling herself that. Not anymore.
Virgil pointed to the heavy oak table in the dining area, strewn with photographs. "Are any of those of Isabella?"
"They all are." Izzy shut the door and followed Virgil, passing him and going to the table. "I'm making a photo display for Gran's funeral and I can't decide which picture to use. I narrowed it down to these." She grabbed two photos from the table and held them up for Virgil to see.
One was a black and white of a young Isabella in a classic dance pose. She balanced on one leg, satin-clad toes stretched into perfect pointe, her other knee drawn up, arms held out in front of her. The rapturous expression on her smooth, unblemished face and the extension of her fingertips gave the impression that she was reaching for her one true love.
The other picture was much different. It was a headshot, probably taken the last time her church updated the picture directory. She wore a burgundy sweater with a silk flower pinned to it, her silver hair pulled back into a tidy bun. This was an Isabella mellowed by time, her skin etched with lines, her smile content.
Two pictures representing two very different sides of the same woman. Izzy looked from one to the other and shook her head. "I'm just not sure how she'd rather be remembered."
Virgil lowered himself into a hardback chair, leaning the box against one leg. "I think she'd like to be remembered both ways." He reached out and took the photo of young Isabella. "I know I could never forget her."
Just how well had Virgil known her grandmother? Izzy pulled out another chair and sat in front of him. "Were you and Gran ... close?"
Virgil chuckled and waggled his finger at her. "Yes, but not in the way you're thinking. We had a lot in common. And believe me, when you live in a place like Vibrant Vistas, it's an accomplishment just finding someone who remembers enough about their past to compare notes."
Izzy laughed. "So if you two were such good friends, why didn't I ever see you when I was there?"
He swatted his hand in her direction. "You came there to see her, not to meet her doddering friends. I would have been in the way."
"Somehow, I doubt that." Izzy's eyes drifted back to the box at Virgil's side.
His eyes followed hers and he jumped in his chair. "Oh yes, the present. I'm sure you're dying to get a look at it."
"I am curious."
He held it out to her. "Careful. It's heavier than it looks."
He wasn't kidding. She took it in both hands, glad for the warning. Laying it across her legs, she pressed her palms flat on the lid, as if doing so and concentrating would tell her what was inside. The last time she saw Gran, they'd decorated her room for Christmas, even though it was only the first of November. "If Walmart can put up their decorations months early," Gran had said, "then so can I. Besides, I'm not getting any younger. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I want to enjoy it as long as I can." She enjoyed it for a week, and then she was gone.
Had Gran known how little time she had left? If so, why hadn't she given Izzy the gift then, when they'd been together? Heat pushed against the back of Izzy's eyes as she looked down at the loosely tied, red satin ribbon, no doubt secured by Gran's arthritic fingers. Just one more experience Izzy had missed.
She looked up at Virgil, blinking quickly to keep the tears at bay. "Why did she give it to you?"
"She knew I'd keep it safe."
"Safe from what?"
"Not what. Who." Virgil's voice was low. He leaned forward, elbows to knees, eyes darting back and forth as if he expected to find covert operatives skulking in the shadows. "There are a lot of people who would like to get their hands on that."
She lifted her hands from the box. What in the world had Gran given her? "I don't understand. How could she have kept something valuable at the home without anybody finding out about it?"
"Not everybody recognizes true value when they see it." He nodded, impressed by the weight of his words.
"But what is it?"
He sat up straight, head slightly inclined. "It wouldn't be much of a present if I told you. Go on and open it."
Izzy grabbed one end of the satin ribbon, then froze. Maybe she should wait. It was a Christmas present, after all. Maybe she should save it until Christmas Day, just so she could share one last holiday with her grandmother.
But then that wouldn't honor Gran's spirit, would it? Gran never could wait to open gifts. She would have ripped into the package then and there.
The ribbon fell away with a yank, trailing down her legs and brushing the floor. Wanting to make the moment last, she slowly lifted the white box top. Beneath it were neatly folded sheets of tissue paper. She peeled them away, one after the other, until her gift was revealed.
"Well," Virgil asked, "what do you think?"
"It's a quilt."
Izzy didn't mean for her voice to sound so flat and uninterested. But after the workup Virgil gave it, she expected something a little flashier.
"It's not just a quilt." A hint of scolding tinged his tone. "It's a family heirloom. That was one of Isabella's most prized possessions."
Izzy looked back down at the quilt. Triangles of different colors, mostly faded and worn by age, seemed to chase one another in geometric patterns, up one side and down the other. Izzy thought back to all the years she'd spent with her grandmother: long summer visits as a child, when she would pack her tiny pink suitcase and stay for a week at a time; so many weekends in her teen years, after her mother moved Izzy and her brother back to California and close to Gran; and those months after Izzy's accident, when Gran took her in and mended not only her body but her spirit as well. In all that time, Gran never mentioned this quilt. Izzy had never seen it. How important could it really have been? For that matter, how had she managed to keep it hidden from her at Vibrant Vistas?
Izzy reached across the box and squeezed Virgil's hand. "It's lovely. Did she tell you anything about it?"
His face nearly glowed at the prospect of sharing his knowledge. "Oh yes. This is what you call a Wild Goose Chase pattern." He ran one finger carefully down the middle of a row of triangles. "According to Isabella—"
Virgil was cut short by the pealing of the doorbell. Bogie dashed around the corner, nearly crashing into Izzy's legs as she crossed the room. Then the bell rang again. The dog barked and turned in a circle. By the time the bell rang a third time, he'd added a little jump to the barking and circling.
"All right, already. I'm coming!" She dropped the quilt box on the coffee table, scooped Bogie up in one arm, and then lunged for the door before the button-happy person outside could strike again.
Maybe happy was the wrong word to use. The man standing outside, shoulders hunched against the gentle rain that had begun to fall, was anything but happy. Izzy decided to cut him off before he could launch into a sales pitch and become even more disgruntled when she didn't bite.
"Whatever you're selling, I'm not buying. Have a nice day."
His palm slapped against the door before she could shut it. "I'm not selling anything. I'm looking for my grandfather."
"Your grandfather? What makes you think ... oh." Izzy looked over her shoulder. "Virgil, does this man belong to you?"
Virgil sighed as he pushed himself out of the chair. "How did you find me, Max?"
"I got a call from Vibrant Vistas. Something about you paying the shuttle driver to drop you off here."
"Who needs Big Brother when you've got Nurse Bauer and her minions?" Virgil mumbled as he ambled toward them.
The rain came down harder, and Max ducked his head as fat drops plopped on him from the roof's overhang. The soggier he got, the less imposing he seemed.
Izzy stepped back. "Come in out of the rain."
"Thanks." He swooped into the room, and a glimmer of a smile flashed at her, exposing a dimple in one cheek.
She closed the door and put Bogie down on the floor. "Stay out of trouble," she said, scratching his ear. He scampered across the room and settled into a wingback chair facing the door, keeping watch in case any other unexpected visitors decided to show up. Izzy turned back to Max, ready to ask why he'd tracked down his grandfather, but the question died on her lips. He stood in the middle of her living room, staring down at the boxed quilt in shocked silence.
He pointed, his face reverting to its former unhappy self. "How did you get that?"
"Virgil brought it. It's a present from my grandmother."
Max shot her a look. "Isabella Randolph is your grandmother?"
"Yes." Izzy spoke slowly. "She gave me the quilt."
Max shook his head sharply, sending a fine spray of water in her direction. "Sorry, Miss, but she gave it to me first."
Virgil groaned. "Don't, Max."
Izzy's eyes swung from one man to the other. "Look, I don't know who you think you are, but—"
"I'm Max Logan, curator of the California Pioneer Museum. And that quilt," he said, stabbing his finger at the Wild Goose Chase, "is mine."
Excerpted from A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee. Copyright © 2012 Jennifer AlLee. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Izzy Fontaine inherits a Wild Goose Chase Pattern quilt after her grandmother passes away. Much to Izzy’s surprise, she is launched into what feels like a “wild-goose-chase” of her own. She must navigate her grandmother’s mysterious clues that are designed to lead her to a secret treasure. However, the treasure may just be family and new friends… A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS: This quilt themed book is a perfect read for a cold winter’s night. Paired with your own favorite book and cup of hot chocolate, you will find yourself immediately ready for Christmas. Don’t forget to invite your four legged furry companion to read along with you! The adorable Jack Russell Terrier, Bogie, is sure to warm your heart! (There are several novels in the Quilts of Love series; I am definitely interested in reading more!) MY RATING: 4 (out of 5) pennies *I received a complimentary copy of A Wild Goose Chase Christmas from Abingdon Press*
The text is so small I can't read the book. I changed my settings and it still was so small. Paid for a book I can't even read.
I loved this book. At first I couldn't stand Izzy's family. They seemed really shallow and self-absorbed. But during the course of the book, they changed and really came together as a family. I also enjoyed learning about the histories of quilts. I never realized that some quilts took generations to create. Overall, just an all around good story.
Faith, hope and love.
I love how Izzy is named after her grandmother Isabella, and how close their relationship was with each other. The love she had for Izzy was evident. Isabella goes to great lengths to help Izzy unfold the mystery of the quilt, while helping her to heal from her death as well. She sounds like such a great grandmother, and continues to be a blessing after her death. Izzy has to care for her own over dramatic mother when she breaks her leg and shoulder. Then add on to that her brother is having financial issues and has to move in with Izzy too! The family dynamics are chaotic, and it is no wonder that Izzy was so drawn to the love of her grandma. I loved this book, and the flying geese pattern. It was a great Christmas read that captured me from the beginning.
I thought A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, by Jennifer Allee, was both touching and funny. Izzy Fontaine’s grandmother was really smart when she made a treasure map, of sorts, for the family to use after she passed away. Grandma Isabella knew her idea would bring her family closer together and mend what was broken between them. Virgil and his grandson, Max Logan, were excellent additions to the mystery behind the Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt. Grandma knew how much the quilt and it’s historical story would bring everyone together, even those who didn’t know one another. If you like a fun mystery with a little romance, you will really enjoy this book. I did. Disclosure of Material Connection- I received A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, by Jennifer Allee, for free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
As a romance fan, I loved that this book was “clean.” I love the love stories, but sometimes find that romance books focus too much on the “adult” side of the relationship and not the romance itself. Jennifer AlLee did a great job of weaving a romantic book without ever making me skip paragraphs because I wasn’t interested in reading the current action. I read every word of this book and enjoyed every word. It was a great, fast read that allowed me to escape for a few hours into someone else’s family and relationships and pull for the main character to work through and find the treasure.
"A Wild Goose Chase Christmas" is a sweet story of finding love and family, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable read. I did think the turnaround Izzy's brother and mother made happened a bit quickly, but overall, the story is great. I especially enjoyed getting to know Max and his grandfather, Virgil, and I thought the romance between Izzy and Max progressed at a realistic pace. This is exactly the kind of book Hallmark would adapt into one of its Christmas movies—it's a great holiday story! This is the perfect book to pick up on on snowy afternoon or to put in a romance lover's stocking. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for review from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
My Thoughts on this Book A Wild Goose Chase Christmas is a really good story about the ups and downs of family life. I really like the Grandmother in this story, though she has passed away, she leaves something for the family that will be with them forever. Being one of Abingdon's Quilts of Love Series, one of the special things the grandmother left her family was a quilt with lots of memories that will help heal the family difficult situations, and bring them close together. Each scrap of the quilt has a special place in a family member's heart. During the holidays, we think of family and love, and this book is just that. Though its a little different, because the love didn't come easy, but as the gifts from grandmother appear, and the memories flow throughout the family, hearts heal. This is a wonderful book to read anytime, but especially during the Holiday Season. I always enjoy reading good holiday stories, and this one is a really good one! I highly recommend it for a great enjoyable read! I received this book from the publisher Abingdon Press to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.
I usually avoid books with quilts on the cover. They generally don't interest me. I want a story with a little more action and romance, and I seldom see the potential for that in a "Quilt" book. Now that's my opinion and I'm sure there are a dozen people out there or more that could give me examples to prove me wrong. But in general, that's been my experience. They're just a little boring. I almost passed on A Wild Goose Chase Christmas simply because of the quilt on the cover. But the story was intriguing. Mystery? A Treasure Hunt? Romance and Christmas? Okay, I'll give it a try. I'm so glad I did! Here is a book to prove my theory wrong. I loved it. It was funny, sweet, romantic and intriguing. It was like watching one of the romantic Christmas movies they play on Hallmark. I've never been so glad to be reminded that you can't judge a book by it's cover.
A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, Quilts of Love by Jennifer AlLee I love this series and am attempting to read the whole series. This one is about the link a quilt has to family. Isabelle Fontaine had moved into her grandmother's house and was temporarily caring for the house and the dog Bogie but her grandmother never got back home and died in the assisted living facility. An old man, Virgil who also was at the facility had delivered a quilt to her and he said it was because she didn't want anybody else to have it-or they'd sell it for money. The quilt had more treasure than that and knew Izzy would do the right thing. Problem is Virgil's grandson Max came by and wanted the quilt as he said he had a letter that the grandmother had written. Izzy saw how he cared for his grandfather and agreed to meet with him at the museum he was a director of in town. Story also follows Max and his problems of the past. Funeral arrangements, classes on the wayside and now her mothers' fall leads her to move her in for 2 months. Things just go downhill from there as her brother Brandon has problems. Loved the pattern and what it implies to the family, hearing and learning about the historic significance of this quilt and the path it took to make it and is indeed a treasure. This whole scenario is playing out for my family or soon will be in another regard and know why I was entrusted with everything. Scriptures and faith and hope in God and his direction play a big part in this book. Secrets, mysteries abound, family and missing treasures and the only way they will find it is by working together. Love what and how the grandmother left the gifts and letters-Piceless! I received this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.
Hunting bbl sorry
When Izzy Fontaine's grandmother dies, she leave behind much more than a legacy of her family and the love she has for each of them. She leaves behind a Flying Goose Quilt that began in the early 1800's and has been passed down from a generation of women to their daughters ending with Izzy. She always knew that her grandmother had a special place in her heart for Izzy because they understood the value of things. It was all material but within certain objects a sense of love and tradition developed along with many memories. It was why her grandmother left it to her along with her house. Unfortunately Izzy's mother Janice and her brother Brandon, don't feel the same way. They feel as if they deserve something as well and feel slighted that Izzy was her favorite family member. Not to mention the fact that the only time her mother, Janice and Brandon ever made time for their grandmother was during holiday dinners or when they needed something from her. It was Izzy who spent time with her grandmother, moving in with her when her health began to fail and in doing so, found a true treasure worth more than any amount of money ever could. Only one thing is standing in her way, a promise from her grandmother that the quilt belonged to Max Logan, a local museum curator, whose goal is to obtain the quilt and showcase it in a Moving West exhibit that may land him the dream job of a lifetime at the Smithsonian Museum. If he can convince Izzy that the letter of intent from her grandmother supercedes the gifting of the quilt to Izzy by his father, Virgil. He had promised to give it to Izzy upon her death and now seems to be the one thing keeping Izzy and Max at odds or is it in fact a plan her grandmother had all along to bring them together much like a quilt does in keeping people huddled beneath it warm? In the latest novel in the Quilts of Love Series, author Jennifer AlLee enchants her readers with a treasure hunt of sorts dealing with the legacy and history in the quilt left to Izzy Fontaine. Some would see it as a monetary item of great value, but Izzy sees it for something more. In the end, it's her grandmother's spirit that restores the rift between the family and unearths something more valuable than any of them would ever believe is possible in the fabric of a multi-generational quilt. I received A Wild Goose Chase Christmas compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my honest review. Being an avid quilter myself, I could see the draw in this novel not only with the love of creating a lasting keepsake but also in passing along part of a family's legacy through the weaving of pieces of fabric. I absolutely loved how this one ended and have to rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars. This book does contain discussion questions so it's perfect for book clubs and groups to share.
Jennifer AlLee in her new book, “A Wild Goose Chase Christmas” Book Two in the Quilts of Love series published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Izzy Fontaine. From the back cover: A quilt, A secret message, a dog, and a possible treasure make for an unforgettable Christmas! Upon her grandmother’s death, Izzy Fontaine finds herself in possession of a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that supposedly leads to a great treasure. Of course, once the rest of the family finds out about the “treasure map,” they’re determined to have a go at the treasure themselves. And, if that weren’t enough, Max Logan, a local museum curator, contacts Izzy and says that Grandma Isabella promised him the quilt. What is it about this quilt that makes everyone want it? Is Izzy on a wild goose chase of her own, or a journey that will lead her to the treasure her grandmother intended? This book is what they used to call a romp or a real good time. If you have ever seen the movie with Spencer Tracy, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” then you have some idea of how much fun this story really is. Izzy doesn’t even time to mourn the death of her grandmother for as soon as she dies all the excitement begins. Virgil arrives with the quilt and a story that sounds like a conspiracy theory. Then all of sudden this theory may prove out to be true. On top of this being a mystery of sorts ”A Wild Goose Chase Christmas” is a very sweet romance. Ms. AlLee makes you care for all the characters and their chase. If you want to have a real good time trying to figure out everything that is going on while enjoying yourself simultaneously then ”A Wild Goose Chase Christmas” is the perfect book to read. And just in time for Christmas, too. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”