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Small Town Christmas (Return To Promise / Mail-Order Bride) (2008)

af Debbie Macomber

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228289,675 (3.42)8
A two-in-one volume set in Promise, Texas, includes Return to Promise, in which a scheming young woman wreaks havoc on the marriage of Cal and Jane Patterson when she sets her sights on Cal, and Mail-Order Bride, in which Caroline Myers, with the help of her matchmaking aunts, ends up in the hold of Paul Trevor on Christmas.… (mere)
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Definitely had read both of these two stories before. ( )
  nancynova | Aug 9, 2018 |
Debbie Macomber's "Small Town Christmas" contains two previously published novels: "Return to Promise" and "Mail-Order Bride".

In "Return to Promise", Cal Patterson and his wife Jane have been happily married for several years. But now a series of events have caused problems in their marriage and Jane leaves Cal, taking their young children with her. Jane's not sure if she can ever trust Cal again, but Cal is willing to do anything he can to have his family together by Christmas.

"Return to Promise" is Macomber's take on what happens to a marriage when a couple stops communicating. Unfortunately, Cal and Jane began to wear on me very quickly. At times I wanted to shake some sense into the two of them. Jane had some real reasons to be upset, but she quickly jumped to conclusions without talking or listening to Cal, listening to town gossip instead. Cal came across as being very loving, which Jane failed to notice, but he was incredibly naïve when it came to Nicole Nelson's actions. For me, Nicole was the most interesting character in the book and she deserves a book of her own.

Caroline Myers is devastated after being jilted by her fiancé and her elderly aunts want to help her so they answer an ad for a "Mail-Order Bride" in her name, only they neglect to tell her what they did. Before she knows it, she's in Alaska and married to Paul Trevor. Sparks fly immediately between the two - although not always in a good way. Will Caroline adjust to life in Alaska and fall in love with Paul or will she spend Christmas alone?

"Mail-Order Bride" is a cute romantic comedy. The set up is a bit ridiculous - it's hard to believe that Caroline didn`t realize she was taking part in a marriage ceremony - but once Macomber moves beyond that clunky beginning the book is quite enjoyable. The adjustments that both Paul and Caroline have to make to married life are quite real. There are some genuinely funny moments especially when the two clash. The romance bits are also nicely done, never explicit as Macomber always lets her readers use their imagination. Macomber does throw a few unnecessary kinks into the romance, and Paul is a bit too much of a neanderthal, but for the most part it's a sweet romance.

"Small Town Christmas" is not the best Debbie Macomber collection that I've read, but it's still a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. ( )
  drebbles | Jun 12, 2010 |
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Return to Promise:
To
Ruthanne Devlin, Bookseller Extraordinaire,
for blessing my life with your friendship
Mail-Order Bride:
In memory of Ron Cowden
and for his son, Max,
beloved New Zealand friends
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Return to Promise:
Cal Patterson knew his wife would be furious.

Mail-Order Bride:
Prologue:
"I'm so worried about dear Caroline," Ethel Myers murmured thoughtfully, sipping tea from a dainty porcelain cup.

Chapter 1:
Caroline Myers waited at a Starbucks in the Seattle-Tacoma airport, accompanied by her great-aunts.
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A two-in-one volume set in Promise, Texas, includes Return to Promise, in which a scheming young woman wreaks havoc on the marriage of Cal and Jane Patterson when she sets her sights on Cal, and Mail-Order Bride, in which Caroline Myers, with the help of her matchmaking aunts, ends up in the hold of Paul Trevor on Christmas.

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