I have read several of Debbie Macomber’s books, and enjoyed them. Our book club read this newest release of hers in December, 2016, and discussed it at our January, 2017, meeting. It was a quick, easy read, which seemed a good idea for a book to read during such a busy season.
It was a sweet story in the sense of boy-meets-girl-and-after-some-difficulties-they-live-happily-ever-after. Otherwise, there wasn’t much to discuss — the book was extremely short, and the story seemed almost truncated. We kept finding ourselves getting off topic, discussing the book for next month, as some of us had already read it, and even re-discussing the book from the previous month. We eventually got back to discussing this book:
It followed a young woman, Ashley Davison, who was attempting to purchase a last-minute airline ticket to Seattle, and an especially attractive former military man, Dash, (really?) who was doing the same. With all flights to Seattle booked, and only one remaining rental car they set off together. Unfortunately, Ashley was mistakenly identified as a woman of the same name who happened to be on the no-fly list.
In hot pursuit was an ego-driven FBI agent nearing retirement, who wanted to go out with the glory of nabbing a long sought-after terrorist, and his newbie-agent partner. The pursuit made up most of the story. I found myself thinking that whenever Ashley’s true identity was confirmed, they could get on with the story, but it ended shortly after that confirmation. I kept waiting for some substance to be introduced, but was disappointed.
One of our members, whose husband is a retired police chief, was offended by the way law enforcement was portrayed as “bumbling”. Personally, I saw it as only the one agent who had ego issues which caused him to ruin his career, and simultaneously serve as a poor example for a young agent still learning the job. It reminded me of the fact that there are many people in both education and law enforcement who should not be in those jobs.
Another member suggested that the publisher and/or editor must have required a Christmas book of Ms. Macomber, and required it in a very short time frame. We all agreed that it seemed thrown together, and that it could have been so much better, had both the characters and the plot been better developed.
Many things in this story lack the feel of the real world. For example, the ticket agent at the airport told the FBI she could not call the TSA because Ashley would not step aside and wait, as asked. In reality, she would not have delayed alerting the TSA; and she would not have called them by phone at all. She would have sent a silent alarm, and they would have appeared almost immediately. I do enjoy a good fantasy now and then, but when the story is supposed to reflect real events, it should be plausible.