Katherine O'Connor, commonly called K.O., has a lucrative Christmas letter writing sideline. During an interview with one of her clients, she sees someone she has never met yet thoroughly despises: Dr. Wynn Jeffries, author of the child-rearing book that K.O.'s sister Zelda considers a bible. K.O. disagrees with the "no rules" theory of the book and believes it is responsible for turning her lovely five-year-old twin nieces into terrors. Why is the author here on Seattle's Blossom Street?
Resolved to let Dr. Jeffries know how much she opposes his book, K.O. follows him. She is incredulous to discover him entering her own condo building. K.O.'s friend and neighbor, LaVonne, informs her that Dr. Jeffries has lived in the penthouse of the building as long as K.O. has lived in her own tiny condo. She is not surprised to hear that he is single and childless; only a non-parent could come up with such a skewed view of parenting.
K.O. calls to tell Zelda that she and Dr. Jeffries are neighbors. She grows angrier toward him when she learns that Zelda and her husband are taking his advice to downplay Christmas. They'll have no tree and no Santa for the children. K.O. once again vows to discuss Dr. Jeffries's philosophy with him --- after she attains an autograph for her sister at Zelda's insistence. However, when she does confront the author at the neighborhood coffee shop, she loses her cool and scolds him so loudly that he flees.
LaVonne invites K.O. to a party where she finds that the only other guest happens to be Wynn Jeffries (who is visibly appalled to see her). LaVonne informs them that she's seen their future --- first in kitty litter, then in her bowl of Raisin Bran --- and that they are destined to fall in love. K.O. laughs out loud; Wynn agrees that the romance would never happen. But when LaVonne informs them that she's made and paid for dinner reservations at a posh restaurant, neither can resist the invitation.
On their dinner date, Wynn is courteous, funny and sweet. They talk and talk, agreeing to avoid certain subjects. By the end of the evening, it's obvious to both K.O. and Wynn that a romance is in their future.
Everything is wonderful between them as long as they don't discuss his book. K.O. finally invites him to babysit her nieces so she can watch him put his theories to practical use --- and just possibly totally disprove them.
When Wynn's father visits, K.O. has an inspiration. She will introduce him to LaVonne, who yearns for a man in her life. K.O.'s matchmaking leads to a scene that is hilarious to readers and causes K.O. to swear off hooking up people forever.
All along, K.O. is just waiting until she and Wynn babysit her nieces. Then she's sure she will prove his theories wrong. However, as it turns out, the two of them are headed for disaster in many more ways than one.
CHRISTMAS LETTERS is a light, funny, warm read. Some may feel that a few problems are solved just a bit too easily. But more are likely to enjoy the easy feel-good charm of this romantic comedy. Debbie Macomber's familiar setting of Blossom Street in Seattle will make her many fans feel right at home, and the Christmassy atmosphere makes readers feel that they have just had a refreshing holiday vacation from real life.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on December 27, 2010