I started to read Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber the day after Halloween. I have a lot of Christmas reads this year and want to start early, ensuring that I go through all the hardcovers leaving only the paperbacks to take along with me to Halifax. I also don’t want to read only Christmas fiction during the holidays so I plan to alternate the seasonal titles with other books.
Alaskan Holiday tells the story of Josie Avery, an aspiring chef on assignment in a remote Alaskan town. She falls in love with Palmer Saxon, a swordsmith, who proposes to her the day before she is scheduled to leave to start a coveted new job in Seattle. What I liked about this book from the start is that Macomber didn’t dwell on establishing the romance. We could accept that Josie and Palmer were in love and that his sudden proposal didn’t seem to come out of nowhere.
The story takes off when Josie finds herself unexpectedly stranded in town after missing the last ferry out of there for the season. (I have revealed no spoilers; all of this information is found on the book’s inside flap.) Macomber writes about the tension of heartstrings between Josie, who is torn between the job she craves and the man she loves, and Palmer, who wants her to stay but because he loves her so much is nonetheless willing to try to help her find a way out.
The novel is told from each character’s point of view. Chapter titles alternate between being called “Josie” and “Palmer” where each one takes over the first-person narrative. Macomber toned down the out-of-the-blue plot developments between Josie and Palmer yet was not immune to twists that defy logic. At the end of the story she transformed Jack, a good friend of Palmer, into frightfully needy, pathetic and clingy who takes a stalker interest in Josie’s mother.
Christmas is barely mentioned in the novel. The holiday only has resonance when Josie finally accepts Palmer’s proposal a few days before the holiday.