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The Fruitcake Challenge: Christmas Traditions Series

By Dr. Carrie Fancett Pagels


When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he’ll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, “as good as the one my mother makes,” she rises to the occasion. After all, he’s the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp—and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on! All the shanty boys and Jo’s cooking helpers chip in with their recipes but Jo finds she’ll have to enlist more help—and begins corresponding with Tom’s mother. Step back in time to 1890, in beautiful Northern Michigan, near the sapphire straits of Mackinac, when the white pines were “white gold” and lumber camps were a way of life. Jo is ready to find another life outside of the camps and plans that don’t include any shanty boys. But will a lumberjack keep her in the very place she’s sworn to leave?

Book Takeaway:

Your hope has to be in God, and what He puts in front of you.


Year Title Description
2015 Selah Awards Novella Category Finalist

Why the author wrote this book:

I was invited to join The Christmas Traditions collection. After prayer I decided to go forward with a lumber camp setting with a heroine inspired by my mother, who grew up in a lumber camp. I imagined what my feisty mother would do if a cocky and educated lumberjack showed up in her camp as a shanty boy! I had a LOT of fun writing this book!


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