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Twelve Days of Christmas


Twelve Days of Christmas

Life is pretty good for Julia Padden. Of course, if she actually was able to land that dream job --- the one that will take her out of department store retail sales and into the social media position she has been dreaming of --- she is sure that her naturally pleasant exterior would bounce into an ecstatic one on a daily basis. (She just has to get that whole blog thing going.)

Not that Julia is perfect. She enjoys needling her across-the-hall neighbor, Cain Maddox. He is just so grumpy and rude, and so ready to rebuff her friendly good mornings with curt, monosyllabic answers. When she catches him in the act of stealing her newspaper (the one that is clearly marked with her apartment number) and, instead of giving it back, tells her to just take someone else’s, that is the last straw. She is furious.

"...a delightful, charming read for anyone looking for an enjoyable Christmas novel.... Settle in with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, and curl up for some Christmas fun with Debbie Macomber’s latest festive read."

When Julia calls her out-of-state best friend to vent, Cammie is a little suspicious. Is Julia sure she isn’t attracted to Cain? Isn’t that why she is getting so bent out of shape over a neighbor’s rudeness? Julia doesn’t think so, even though she admits the man is handsome. No, it’s that he and his rudeness are downright sinister as well as aggravating. Cammie laughs at that and poses an intriguing question: What if Julia kills him? No, not that kind of killing! Cammie wants her to kill him with kindness, to intentionally set out to make a difference in his life by treating him with genuine kindness and friendliness.

Better yet, what if Julia turns this experiment into a project for her blog? You see, the blog is what is going to gain her --- or lose her --- that new social media job. The short list is down to her and another candidate, and the company suggested that each one start a blog. The blogger with the highest social engagement will win the coveted job at the enormous software company, Harvestware. So far there haven’t been many visits, followers or comments on Julia’s blog. Now, Cammie suggests that Julia  blog about her experiences with Cain. She can even call her blog “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and over the next 12 days until the actual holiday, she can extend kindness to her unfriendly neighbor in 12 different ways.

Julia isn’t so sure about this idea. Just how much could a person change in 12 short days? Moreover, what on earth is she going to do differently? She already knows that he has no compunction about taking her newspaper, even as he’s rude and curt in the elevator. Plus, she is already busy with her volunteer efforts at the Boys and Girls Club, and she has a full schedule as pianist for her church’s singing group.

But she really wants this social media job. Macy’s has been so good to her, but she’s not sure how long she can stick it out selling men’s clothing. Maybe there's something to this blog and kindness thing after all. She might get an amazing job even if there’s no change whatsoever in her neighbor. And perhaps she’ll feel less cranky about him if she at least is doing something positive.

And so “Ebenezer” and a campaign of kindness are born. Julia can’t actually use his real name on the blog, after all. (That would be rude, and Julia is trying to be the nice one.) The first steps of the campaign are taken: more conversation, attempts at coffee, and so on. Ebenezer/Cain doesn’t seem too responsive. But the blog readers are: Julia’s blog numbers are skyrocketing, her readers are engaged, and her followers list is exploding. The only thing that Julia didn’t count on is that, as she progresses through her kindness campaign, her feelings toward her neighbor are warming up. And his feelings toward her seem to be changing as well. That wasn’t in the plan!

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS is a delightful, charming read for anyone looking for an enjoyable Christmas novel. What happens when Julia’s efforts of kindness actually begin to yield something relational? And what on earth is she going to do when Cain finds out about her campaign and blog? Settle in with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, and curl up for some Christmas fun with Debbie Macomber’s latest festive read.

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on October 7, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas
by Debbie Macomber

  • Publication Date: October 17, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0553391755
  • ISBN-13: 9780553391756