Mira, Oct 2002, 14.95, 256 pp.
Ten years ago, Noelle McDowell left her hometown of Rose, Oregon to go off to college, but secretly vowed never to return. Noelle loved Thom Sutton, but as high school seniors, he failed to show up when they planned to elope. She concluded that he wanted to humiliate her as part of the long running feud between their mothers.
The only thing that could bring Noelle back to Rose is her sister's wedding. When Noelle and Thom meet at the town Christmas holiday dance, they realize the attraction remains between them. When they finally talk about that day, they realize they both showed up just at different times. Instead of betrayal as both believed, Thom and Noelle conclude bad luck occurred. They plan to insure that they do not repeat their teenage mistake even at the cost of defying their feuding moms.
Though the error in the time they were to meet is sort of explained, readers will feel that pivotal moment required a stronger elucidation than presented. Still, the story line is warm and uplifting as the cast provides the audience with an entertaining tale of romance and second chances at friendship and love. THE CHRISTMAS BASKET is a gift that validates what readers know about the magic of the Macomber affect.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner