THE CHRISTMAS BASKET
Prolific, bestselling romance novelist Macomber offers fans a stocking stuffer for the Christmas season. Twenty-eight-year-old workaholic Noelle McDowell takes a rare vacation from her high-powered computer company in Dallas to come home to smalltown Rose, Ore., for the holidays and help plan her sister's wedding. Noelle hasn't been to Rose in 10 years—ever since her high school sweetheart jilted her. Theirs was a secret romance because their mothers, one-time best friends, had long been engaged in a bitter feud that began when Sarah McDowell borrowed Mary Sutton's antique tea service and never returned it. A silly popcorn-throwing incident at the movies brings Noelle and her ex, Thom—now a handsome executive at a prosperous startup—together again. They discover they're still in love. But will their warring families ruin their second chance for happiness? Their mothers, coincidentally assigned to the same volunteer job—filling Christmas baskets for the needy—begin their charity mission with a vicious toy-throwing fight at a local mall. Will an accident during an ice storm provide an occasion for their reconciliation? There aren't exactly any hairpin plot turns in this formulaic, feel-good, PG-rated contemporary romance. Still, the mom-against-mom catfight adds a dash of hilarity to this lightweight confection. The good, clean holiday fun should satisfy Macomber's fans. (Oct.)
Forecast: The Christmas Basket doesn't shoot as high as The Last Noel (see above), but the price is even nicer. This is a good bet for point-of-purchase sales.