In Alaskan Holiday, Debbie Macomber’s charming latest novel, we meet Josie Avery, a soon-to-be sous chef at one of Seattle’s hottest restaurants, as she takes a summer position cooking at a lodge in the remote Alaskan town of Ponder. Josie falls for the rustic charms of the local community—including Jack Corcoran, the crotchety keeper of Ponder’s famed sourdough starter, and, in particular, the quiet yet intense Palmer Saxon, a famed master swordsmith.
Josie and Palmer become close during the long Alaskan summer days, but Josie knows that, come fall, she’ll be returning to reality and the dream career she’s worked so hard to accomplish. Palmer, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to make Josie his wife and to keep her in Ponder. But Josie can’t imagine abandoning her mother back in the Emerald City and sacrificing her career to stay in this isolated town—not even for a man she’s quickly coming to love.
Fate has other plans. Josie misses the last boat out of town before winter sets in, stranding her in Ponder and putting her dream job at risk. As the holidays approach, Josie and Palmer must grapple with the complications that arise when dreams confront reality, and the Christmas magic that can happen when they put their faith in love.
Recently, Debbie spoke with Read It Forward, outlining her steadfast practice of picking a word of the year, how she thinks positively, and how she’d like nothing more than to dish about books with Joan Rivers.
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What word do you love and why? What word do you hate and why?
Well, this is an easier question, since I pick a word of the year every January. In 2018, I am focusing on the word “Listen”. This year, I have spent a great deal of time diving into the meaning and what it means for my life. The process of this reflection sheds many blessings on me every year. I also could say I hate this word, as sometimes what you hear is difficult or even painful to swallow. Putting my ego aside to truly listen to what God is leading me to can be an inner struggle.
What’s the one book you love to give as a gift and to whom do you give it?
Every year I spend an entire year reading the Bible with the intention to give it to one of my grandchildren. I spend time praying over what I read and writing in the margins with special notes of encouragement or reflections.
What’s the one book you read as a kid that has stuck with you?
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I know it’s a classic. I enjoyed reading it as a child and also sharing it with my children as they grew up.
What’s the one book that never fails to delight or inspire you?
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. This book may be to thank for continuing to push forward through the rejection letters I received in my early writing career. Every rejection, I would force myself to sit down and read a chapter and it gave me courage to move forward. After I became a published author, I wrote to Mr. Peale thanking him for his book and his words that were such a monument for me through my trials and he wrote me back! I have this letter hanging in my office even still today, it is a treasured piece.
If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
This is an impossible question. I read and have an appreciation for so many genres it is hard to choose. (However, I secretly love a good romance)
Favorite independent bookstores from around the country?
Number one favorite is Vero Beach Book Center.
What’s the last book you read on a long flight?
Lies Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
What’s the book on your bedside table?
Right now, I am reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. My editor sent me this book and I am so thankful. It is an emotional story and tugs on your heart strings, but I am really enjoying it. I am also reading Pearl of China by Anchee Min. This is the story of Pearl S. Buck who was a missionary child in China.