Title: Christmas in July
Series: Christmas, Colorado
By: Debbie Mason
ISBN: 1455527696 (ISBN13: 9781455527694)
Author’s Website: http://authordebbiemason.com/index.html
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Grace Flaherty had given up hope of ever seeing her husband again. After all, it’d been over a year since he went missing in combat. So when he strides through the door of her bakery in downtown Christmas one sunny afternoon, she can hardly believe her eyes. But her happily-ever-after is going to take some effort – because Jack has no memory of his family.
All Jack Flaherty remembers about Christmas is that he couldn’t wait to leave town. Now he’s a local hero with a wife and son he doesn’t know. Even as he struggles to rekindle the romance with his wife, he knows in his heart what he wants: a second chance at love. (Goodreads)
As I continue to read more titles by Debbie Mason, I come to love her writing even more. The stories, without a doubt, take me away into their world and immerse me into the daily trials and tribulations of the inhabitants. I ready this book as part of my book club. In fact, I suggested this book and even had Debbie Mason, the author, come to the meeting when we discussed this very book. We in fact had our own “Christmas in July” party. Debbie Mason and her daughter are in the first picture.
Christmas in July is the story of Grace and Jack Flaherty and their journey to reconnect after Jack was missing in combat for seventeen months.
Grace (owner of Sugar Plum Bakery in Christmas) has, after more than a year and a half, finally given up hope that Jack would come home. Now that she has decided to move on, Jack returns home… but he has no memory of Grace nor Jack Junior (the child they share). The prose describing her decision and heartbreak surrounding that decision really struck at my heartstrings:
“Since the day Jack’s Black Hawk went down in Afghanistan and he’d been listed as MIA, she’d clung to the hope he’d come home to her and their two-year-old son. But where hope had once sustained her, now, seventeen months later, the gossamer threads held her in limbo. The not knowing was making her crazy. She had to move on with her life and somehow heal her broken heart. And the only way she knew how to do that was to let Jack go.”
During this scene, Grace is making a birthday cake for Jack’s 35th birthday – with a picket fence and a yellow ribbon tied around it. There is a sugar plum (which usually contains an engagement ring or a wish but in this instance it houses Jack’s wedding ring, a goodbye note, and a wish for Grace’s future.) The sugar plum is Grace’s signature add-in for the cakes that she makes at her bakery. Usually the sugar plum is hidden inside the cake, but this time it is outside of the cake so that she can remove it before cutting the cake (she does not want to risk anyone else finding the sugar plum).
What ensues is a very touching and heart wrenching tale of the reunion of Jack and Grace and all the trials and tribulations that emerge as a result of their being apart for so long. Jack Junior does not warm up to his father and is in fact comfortable with Jack’s best friend (Sawyer), who has been taking care of Grace and Jack Junior in Jack’s absence. Throw in an unrequited love interest (Maria – a reported also held captive in Afghanistan) attracted to Jack (did anything happen overseas?) and Jack’s memory loss and you have a story that is captivating. Add to the mix the setting is a small town where everybody (and I mean everybody) knows everyone’s business AND to boot while Jack was overseas, Grace has inherited the bakery that Jack’s grandmother owned, a bakery that Jack despises.
I found the writing style easy to read, the small town setting and daily life realistically portrayed. The romance was well written. I recommend this book and find it a great addition to the Christmas, Colorado series. I look forward to reading the remainder of the series.
I must also say, it was great having Debbie Mason at the book club meeting. Presents were exchanged – a couple of us knitted bookmarks for everyone and Ms. Mason gave each of us two of her books – Sugarplum Way and Snowbound at Christmas.