WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES

Debbie Macomber, Author . Mira $14.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7783-2090-6

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/01/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
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