A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber is one of two novels combined in the collection entitled Christmas Comes to Cedar Cove. Without realizing the contents when this book came into the library as a donation, I find that I have already read the second novel in the collection, 1225 Christmas Tree Lane as a standalone novel. Thus some of the characters I had encountered and wondered about in the second novel appeared in this one.
This novel is a modern-day Christmas story set in Washington State. Mary Jo, two weeks shy of her delivery date, nonetheless decides to travel alone on Christmas Eve in an attempt to find David, the deadbeat father of her unborn baby. Although she feels abandoned by him, her three brothers are on a mission to track him down to persuade him to marry their sister. Mary Jo felt it prudent to get there before they do and do some preemptive damage control, fearing the confrontation they would have should they find David, or his parents, before she does.
The parallels with the story of Christ’s birth are obvious: Mary Jo is a combination of the names Mary and Joseph; the three brothers are the three wise men; the brothers bring gifts for Mary Jo to lure her back home for Christmas (a gold coin, perfume and incense); there is no available room for Mary Jo when she arrives in town on Christmas Eve so she stays in the barn apartment of a good Samaritan librarian she meets; and after the birth of Mary Jo’s baby–a daughter, by the way–fireworks were set off, mimicking the Star of Bethlehem.
Spoiler alert is the revelation that neither Mary Jo nor her brothers encountered David or his parents, so I think a sequel must follow to continue the story (but it wasn’t 1225 Christmas Tree Lane). I was left hanging on another occasion, when the brothers asked for directions to David’s house and were misled–on purpose–by a suspicious character. Who was this guy? Was it David himself? Other characters alluded to this same mysterious guy so the story must continue.
The paramedic who helps deliver Mary Jo’s baby is attracted to her, and vice versa, so there is a hint of a holiday romance at the end of the novel. We are not led to believe that they will fall in love and live happily ever after, as I don’t think even the rosiest of Christmas romances will pair a man with a woman who has just given birth.