cover image A Christmas to Remember

A Christmas to Remember

Beverly Jenkins. Avon, $30 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-311925-3

The lives of three couples in small-town Henry Adams, Kans., intertwine over the holidays in Jenkins’s easy and optimistic 11th Blessings contemporary (after On the Corner of Hope and Main). Bernadine Brown and her love Malachi July are preparing to walk down the aisle. They both hope to maintain their private homes after marriage and neither is aware that the feeling is mutual, leading to some friction. Meanwhile, high school senior Leah Clark, who suffers from self-esteem issues thanks to her abusive mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, Preston Mays, believing that once they go to separate colleges, he’ll find someone better. Heartbroken Preston turns to Reverend Paula for guidance. The reverend is embarking on her own relationship with new resident chef Thornton Webb, a man six years her junior who’s “never been very spiritual but understands the concept.” Jenkins eschews drama for slice-of-life storytelling that highlights the love and interconnectedness of Henry Adams’s tightly knit community. The Christmas backdrop and simple plot make this gentle wish fulfillment. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary. (Oct.)