Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Angels at the Table, by Debbie Macomber (Sixth and last review for the 2013 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge)

This is my sixth and last review for
The 2013 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge
which is hosted by Michelle @
and runs from
November 22, 2013, to January 6, 2014!

I have greatly enjoyed participating in this fun challenge, which I really look forward to every year!
Be sure to visit Michelle's wonderful blog!
Christmas addicts -- like me -- will definitely 
love this blog!!

Angels at the Table
Debbie Macomber
Mass Market Paperback, 218 pages
Ballantine Books, October 22, 2013
Christian Fiction, Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Humor

Book Synopsis:   Here from beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is the next installment in her Angelic Intervention series -- a joyful holiday story that's sure to warm the hearts of readers everywhere this winter.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel's work is never done, especially during New Year's Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City. When Will spies two strangers in the crowd, he decides that midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.

Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other-seemingly by accident-in Times Square on New Year's Eve. They immediately hit it off, but just as quickly as they're brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart. A year later, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening-and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels devise a plan to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

My Review

I have come to the realization that the Christmas season would truly be incomplete without reading a Debbie Macomber Christmas romance novel.  This is the first time I do so, and it has been such a wonderful, delightful experience that I will not only read more of her Christmas romances, but more of her regular ones, as well!  I'm not surprised she's a bestselling author!

While most romances do tend to have a predictable plot -- a 'happily ever after' is usually the case at the end -- an author's originality is thus most evident in how she gets her characters to that very wonderful ending.  In this particular novel, Macomber uses angelic 'intervention' in a very comical manner, which ensures that the reader will thoroughly enjoy herself throughout while she travels with the characters toward that inevitable destination.

The names used for these comical angels -- all of whom, except one, are females -- come from Psalm 23, in the Old Testament.  There's a line in the Psalm that states, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (New King James Version)  Macomber turned the word "surely" into the name 'Shirley", which is a cute, little play on words.  So one of the angels bears that name.  The other two female angels are, of course "Goodness" and "Mercy".  In this novel, the author has added a fourth angel, Will, whose name obviously also comes from the quote above.  As stated in the synopsis, he's an apprentice, and is being trained by the three other angels in order to become a Prayer Ambassador.  As such, his main duty is to provide answers to the prayers he's assigned to work on.

The three mischievous angels made their first appearance in A Season of Angels, published in 2011, and have continued to appear in several more novels of Debbie's Angels Everywhere series.  Although they mean well, these lovable heavenly helpers aren't much help at all.  They bumble their way through their 'assistance', and then have to correct all the havoc they've created.

In this particular novel, a very stern Archangel Gabriel attempts to keep them in line, without much success.  During the course of the novel, the three heavenly stooges manage to engage in antics that have onlookers thinking they (the onlookers) have gone bonkers.  Gabriel certainly has his hands full!  Meanwhile, the reader is chuckling away on practically every page.

The two main characters, Lucie and Aren, are absolutely lovable, sweet people who are very obviously meant for each other.  God has always intended them for each other, Gabriel solemnly assures the quartet of hapless heavenly helpers on more than one occasion.  Will, however, did rush things a bit by having them meet too soon.

Lucie is a gourmet chef who, along with her mother, has opened up a restaurant with the significant name, "Heavenly Delights".  She and her mother, a widow, literally work their fingers to the bone making sure that the restaurant is a success.  And Lucie is passionate about her cooking.  So she becomes very concerned and upset when a certain newspaper food critic, with the ridiculous pen name of "Eaton Well", blasts the restaurant on the quality of the food he's served while dining there one day.  Food critics, after all, can either make or break a restaurant, especially if they happen to work for influential newspapers.   Needless to say, our bumbling angel helpers are to blame....

Aside from work, though, Lucie is also a very loving, compassionate person, and she can sense the good in people -- such as Aren, for instance.

Aren is a newspaper writer himself, as well as a secret writer of fiction.  He is also a very romantic young man who entirely sweeps Lucie off her feet with a midnight kiss, in the middle of Times Square.  He does not, however, exert any pressure on her to 'spend the night with him', as others might have.  Instead, he spends four hours chatting away with her at an all-night diner.  They go their separate ways afterward, but agree to meet again at a specific time and place.

This is the most important event in the novel, one which may or may not bring Lucie and Aren together.  As Shakespeare himself stated in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "The course of true love never did run smooth...", and so it is for Lucie and Aren, as circumstances seem to keep cropping up to separate them.  Until, that is, the angels conspire to actually bring them to the spot where everything should have begun -- the top of a very famous skyscraper in New York City.

Most people feel really hassled during the Christmas season.  In the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle, how nice it is to kick back for a while and dive into lighthearted novels such as this one!  All the pressures and hassles evaporate as one reads, laughing at the antics of the angels, as well as those of the couple in love, who are at times much too proud to admit -- without a little heavenly nudge -- that they were wrong, and apologize....

So I would definitely recommend, when you're at your most frazzled this coming holiday season, that you pick up this funny, warm, and most of all, cozy Christmas romance, preparing yourself to enjoy it to the utmost!  Angels do exist, after all, and they do at times intervene in human affairs!

I know I've said this in other reviews, but this book would make a wonderful Christmas movie!  I'd certainly love for it to become part of the holiday movie tradition, right along with Debbie's already produced Christmas movies: Mrs. Miracle, Trading Christmas, and Call Me Mrs. Miracle .  And no, I don't mind repeating myself, if I feel it's necessary.  In this case, I most certainly feel it is!


Debbie Macomber

Online Links

1 comment:

  1. Seemingly hugely popular oversees Debbie Macomber isn't nearly as popular here, her books rarely to be found in libraries which is a shame as I'd love to read her books but don't particularly want to go to the expense of buying them just because they fit a reading challenge.

    Anyway, great review. I agree that this sounds like it would make a wonderful festive film.


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