Book Review: Trading Christmas
By: Debbie Macomber
Published By: Mira
Publication Date: November 2011
Page Count: 368
Adult - Contemporary, Holiday
As I sit here waiting to see if it's going to snow in my neck of the woods or not, I decided to sit down and write my last holiday review until November/December rolls around again. I finished this one right after Christmas, but wasn't able to squeeze in a review. It's nice to have this one hold out to keep me in the holiday spirit a bit longer. This is one I was familiar with going in as I love the Hallmark movie based on the book. Typically, I prefer to read and then watch, but I saw the movie way before I got into Debbie Macomber's novels.
This novel focuses on two main characters. Emily Springer is a widow who lives in Leavenworth, Washington, a magical little town that takes Christmas to the next level. Emily works as an elementary school teacher and is devoted to her only child, Heather, who is across the country living in Boston while she attends Harvard. Christmas has always been a special time of year for Emily and Heather, but this year is different because Heather has decided not to make the trip to Leavenworth for the holidays. Emily is absolutely devastated and doesn't know what she'll do on her own during the most joyous time of the year.
As Emily is contemplating her lonely Christmas, Dr. Charles Brewster, a history professor at Harvard, is trying to avoid the holiday cheer at any cost. He wants nothing to do with the festivities and just wants to hide out somewhere to work on his writing. As his mother keeps calling trying to pin him down with holiday plans and blind dates, Charles is frantic to find an escape.
Emily and Charles both seek a solution to their problem on the internet. They find one another on a house swapping site and the Christmas adventures begin. Charles believes he is heading to a remote prison town where nobody will care about Christmas or take the time to pester him while he is working. (He doesn't realize until much later that the Leavenworth he is thinking about is in Kansas - not Washington.) Emily is thrilled to have fond accommodations in Boston so that she can surprise Heather for the holidays, but unbeknownst to Emily, Heather has plans of her own to head south for warmer climates on the back of a motorcycle with her new boyfriend, Elijah.
Neither Emily or Charles can believe their horrid luck as their December seems to grow worse by the minute, but chance encounters with people from the other person's life will soon have them both changing their tune.
In true Debbie Macomber fashion, Trading Christmas is a holiday jewel that will have you smiling and considering your own traditions. Ultimately, both of the main characters learn to be more open minded and to value their family and friends. I plan to revisit Emily and Charles in print and on the screen next holiday season. I also love that this one reminds me in many ways of another favorite film of mine, The Holiday.
One Last Gripe: I was not a fan of how Heather or Charles treated their mothers.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I regret that I never got to see Leavenworth at Christmas when I was living in the Seattle area. As such, the setting for this novel drew me in immediately.
First Sentence: "What do you mean you won't be home for Christmas?"
Favorite Character: Emily
Least Favorite Characters: Heather and Elijah
Trading Houses. Trading Towns. Trading Christmas!
Emily Springer, widowed mother of one, decides to leave Leavenworth, Washington, to spend Christmas with her daughter in Boston.
Charles Brewster, history professor, curmudgeon and resident of Boston, wants to avoid Christmas altogether. He figures a prison town should be nice and quiet over the holidays--except he's thinking of the wrong Leavenworth!
Through an internet site, Charles and Emily arrange to swap houses for the holiday. So Emily goes to Boston--and discovers that her daughter has gone to Florida. And Charles arrives in Leavenworth to discover that it's not the prison town--it's Santa's village! The place is full of Christmas trees, Christmas music and...elves.
Meanwhile, Emily's friend Faith Kerrigan travels to Leavenworth to visit her and instead finds Charles the grinch. Then Charles's brother, Ray, shows up at his home in Boston to discover that he isn't there--but Emily is.
Through all the mix-ups and misunderstandings, amid the chaos and confusion, romance begins to emerge in unexpected ways. Because everything changes at Christmas!