MERRY HUMBUG CHRISTMAS
These two enjoyable Christmas stories are told with verve and humor. The characters’ reasons to avoid the conventions of the season, while still acknowledging its true meaning, are easy to identify with. Their discovering the joy of it once more is uplifting.
Jocelyn Merry Snow turned her back on Christmas when a car accident took her parents on Dec. 24 years ago. In “Once Upon a Jingle Bell,” Joss is deserted by her best friend and upset that her Bah! Humbug cruise was changed to a Christmas theme — until she meets Patrick Brenneman. Joss’ best friend, Reese Pendergrass, abandons her plans to spend the holidays with fiancé Damian Palmer’s family in “It Came Upon a Midnight Deer.” When they hit a deer and must walk three miles through the snow to his family’s cabin, things continue to go downhill for Reese. Yet with each disaster, Damian is by her side and his family ends up exemplifying the spirit of love and forgiveness that the season is all about. (B&H, Oct., 304 pp., $14.99)