12 October 2014

The Fruitcake Challenge Reviewed by Tina Rice

The Fruitcake Challenge, book 3, A Christmas Traditions Novella, Book 3
by 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!

Review by Tina Rice

Our hero/heroine live and work near Mackinaw City in Northern Michigan's logging camp in 1890. Josephine-Jo Christy, daughter of the camp's owner, is the camps cook and longs to leave and find another life for herself. She has vowed to leave once this camp site moves on to the next camp site where the white pines they harvest are plentiful. Jo longs to marry and have a family but does not want to marry a lumberjack. Tom Jeffries is a teacher but teaching jobs are scarce and pay little, so he finds a job with the Christy logging camp as a lumberjack to support himself and his widowed mother.

Both Jo and Tom have prayed for God's leading in their lives and question His direction at times. Tom challenges Jo to bake a fruitcake like his mothers', if she does he will marry her. Jo takes up the challenge, not to marry him but to take him down a notch or two—he is way too cocky, and besides he is a lumberjack. But over the months as they get to know each other and Jo bakes one fruitcake after another that doesn't meet Tom's specifications, Jo begins to rethink baking yet one more fruitcake. Tom now has second thoughts on his challenge to Jo, he wants to marry her but not because of her baking a fruitcake. Things don't go smoothly as the deadline gets closer. Even though Jo's fruitcakes are not like Tom's mothers', each fruitcake she bakes spark romance in other unlikely couples.

I loved the sparks between Jo and Tom, each trying not to admit to themselves that there is an attraction. I like the way the author includes Jo and Tom's thoughts showing their uncertainty and how vulnerable they really are. The description of how remote the logging camp really is from the nearest town and the difficulty traveling back and forth gives us a glimpse of their way of life. Those in the camp are more like family than co-workers and rely on each other daily. No story would be complete without surprises, and this one includes some surprises along the way keeping the reader engrossed in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would like to see more of the characters in a follow-up story.

Available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Giveaway: A copy of Carrie's ebook. Question: Have you ever read a lumberjack Christmas story?


  1. Thx again, Tina, for sharing! I loved this wonderful story! I have read several lumberjack stories, but don't think they centered around Christmas.

  2. Thanks so much, Tina, for your wonderful review and kind words! So glad to have you on the Christmas Traditions team. Blessings!

  3. Very good review Tina. Thanks for a job well done. Hopefully will catch a lot of attention and sell lots of books. Maxie

    1. I hope that people will be encouraged by the Christian message in this story, Maxie. Big hugs!

  4. Thank you for your great reviews, Tina!!

    I'm so glad to have the opportunity to know you better in working with you on the Christmas Traditions Team!! And I've loved each of the novellas released!!


    1. I've been telling another author friend about how I've enjoyed the team so much, Bonnie, and this is one of the best things I've done with promotions. It's a great way to hang out and know what is going on. The team has been so encouraging. Thank you, again, for being such an encourager. Hugs!

  5. Thank you for sharing!!! I love reading and this is my favorite review blog!!! I have never read a lumberjack story, and would love to start with this one!!! Thanks for the chance to win!!!
    In Christ's Love,

    1. Congrats on winning a copy, Christina! I hope you'll enjoy this story of hope in God. Blessings!


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