Alaskan Holiday
Grade : B+

Every Debbie Macomber Christmas story has a comforting traditional familiarity that her fans relish – and I am one of them. Alaskan Holiday reaches its conclusion during the holiday season, but its focus is very modern.

Before Josie Avery starts working at Seattle’s hottest chef-owned restaurant (a real coup for a budding sous-chef), she takes on an assignment in Ponder, Alaska. For six months, Josie creates meals for guests at a rustic resort on Caribou Lake, far away from bigger metropolises like Fairbanks. There, she meets “the quiet and intense Palmer Saxon, a famed master swordsmith.”  The chapters alternate between the PoV between Palmer and Josie, a very effective technique that takes us to the heart of their growing feelings for each other. Palmer has lived in Alaska his whole life. He’s not exactly romantic which he ruefully admits.

I am a man, an Alaskan man; fancy, romantic words are as unfamiliar to me as a pumpkin-spice latte. I’ll admit, when it comes to sweeping a woman off her feet, I’m about as dense as a guy can get, and I’ll certainly never be the kind of man who recites poetry. Living up here in the Alaskan wilderness doesn’t help. Ponder is miles from what most people would consider civilization.

Josie fights falling totally in love with Palmer although she admits, “it was going to be difficult—harder than I wanted to think about.” Their courtship is idyllic. They hike, search for Alaskan blueberries and cranberries, and lay under the stars while “the Northern Lights flash-dance green highlights across the sky.” Josie has long hours at the lodge but there are twenty-two hours of daylight that far north – plenty of time to talk, walk, play with Palmer’s Alaskan husky Hobo . . . and kiss. Such scintillating kisses, too, as Palmer acknowledges.

Those kisses rocked my world. And they were hot. Sizzling hot. I had to assume she enjoyed our kissing, too, because we both looked forward to the times we could be alone. I might not be a mind reader when it came to women, but I saw the light in Josie’s eyes when we were together, and I could live one on of her smiles for a week or longer.

Palmer proposes to Josie the last night before she’s to return to the Lower 49 – it’s an awkward proposal, to say the least, and she turns him down. It’s not easy but she “just can’t” because her life is in Seattle. She’s very close to her mom, her career awaits, marriage to Palmer is not in the cards. But fate has a surprise for Josie and Palmer. She spends “a miserable night tossing and turning, unable to sleep,” oversleeps, and misses the last ferry out of Ponder until the next spring.

Are you thinking that Josie will come to her senses, run into Palmer’s arms and tell him that she accepts his proposal? Nope. In fact, Josie blames Palmer for everything.

“I overslept and missed the boat, and furthermore,” I said, struggling not to weep, “this is all your fault.”


“You had to ruin everything and propose. You had to know that my heart would say yes and that my head would say no, and now . . . now you need to help me get to Seattle.” The least Palmer could do was find me a way out of Ponder.

‘Should I stay, or should I go?’ is Josie Avery’s immediate dilemma but when she and Palmer are separated, will their love prevail or is that an impossibility? Josie and Palmer are so sincere and believable it’s impossible not to root for them to find true love. Debbie Macomber’s Alaskan Holiday is a warm and inviting story – just what her readers have come to appreciate and expect. If I have a tiny complaint about the novel, it’s that Debbie Macomber doesn’t include a recipe for Josie Avery’s Moose Goulash: it sounds delicious.

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Reviewed by Janet Webb

Grade: B+

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : November 20, 2018

Publication Date: 10/2018

Review Tags: Alaska

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