ROMANCE

Alaskan Holiday

Ballantine. Oct. 2018. 225p. ISBN 9780399181283. $20; ebk. ISBN 9780399181290. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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When Josie Avery takes the chef's position at the Caribou Lake Lodge in tiny Ponder, AK, she's only marking time before she accepts her dream job as sous-chef at a trendy restaurant in Seattle. But her arrival and their growing friendship are a sea change for Ponder native and master swordsmith Palmer Saxon, who's been trying to get up the courage to ask Josie to marry him. Reluctantly, she turns him down only to end up missing the last ferry out of Ponder until spring, a situation that could cost her the new job if she doesn't find another way to get there. With Palmer's assistance, she makes it out only to find that the job is not what she'd hoped for and she's missing Alaska—and Palmer—far more than she imagined. Lively dialog, likable characters (a crusty old codger with a 150-year-old sourdough starter is memorable), and stunning descriptions are pluses.
VERDICT Life in the Alaskan wilderness takes on new dimensions as a well-matched pair discover the importance of love in this tender romance lightly brushed with holiday magic. Macomber (Cottage by the Sea) lives in Port Orchard, WA.

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