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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2014 Carrie Fancett Pagels (P)2020 Carrie Fancett Pagels

What listeners say about The Fruitcake Challenge

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Charming!

I love the banter between Tom and Jo Christy. It's a cozy historical romance with pride before the fall moments that will have you chuckling and engaged until the very end.

2 people found this helpful

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Just in Time for the Christmas Season

I enjoy reading historical fiction and stumbled upon the Lumberjack Ball by Carrie Fancett Pagels several years ago. I have enjoyed several of her other books, mainly set in the late 1800's in Michigan. When the opportunity from the author to read The Fruitcake Challenge in audiobook format I jumped at the chance. Audiobooks are not a replacement for the written word for me, but an addition to print copies.

The Fruitcake Challenge is the first book in the Christy Lumberjack Series. Imagine being a woman living in a camp full of lonely lumberjacks. Women are scarce and you are likely to be proposed to on a regular basis. Lucky for Jo, our heroine, she has two burly, protective brothers. No man would dare to bother Jo, until Tom Jeffries. Confident, good looking and full of himself, his first impression on Jo was anything but impressive. Until he issues his fruitcake challenge, that is. Still grieving at the recent loss of her mother, she is weary of the camp, the men and would love nothing better than her independence. I enjoyed the banter between Jo and Tom in the kitchen with the other cooks. I felt like I could have sat down on a bench and had a cup of coffee and fruitcake with everyone.

This audiobook is narrated by Virginia Gray. She did a nice job on both women and men characters, not an easy task. I hope to listen to more books narrated by her in the future.

Novellas are quick but shouldn't be overlooked. This one is entertaining, and with the fruitcake theme, it reminded me of my own mother making her grandmother's fruitcake every year for Christmas.

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A Quick Christmas Read

I enjoyed this historical romance on audio. Loved the narrator and the story. Sometimes serious and sometimes a little funny but always good story. I have read many books by this author and she never disappoints.
Jo doesn’t know exactly how she feels about this new lumberjack Tom because he seems so educated and using all these big words. But when he says he will marry whomever can bake a fruitcake like his mother she has a plan. I enjoyed the characters and how the author brought them to life.
Don’t miss this quick Christmas read that I think you will enjoy if you like a historical romance.
I received a free audiobook but was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

1 person found this helpful

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Quick Listen Will Put You in the Holiday Spirit

A well-narrated audiobook can sweep me away from whatever task I’m doing as I’m listening, and The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels (narrated by Virginia Gray) was one such book.

The unique setting of a Michigan lumber camp and the many characters who resided there—from Jo to her brothers to the other cooks and lumberjacks—kept the plot moving and entertaining. Jo and Tom may clash at first, but quickly grow to respect each other.

Virginia Gray’s narration of both the male and female points of view is excellent, not detracting at all from the story.
With baking, good will, and a spirit of giving, The Fruitcake Challenge is a quick afternoon listen (maybe while you’re doing some Christmas baking yourself).

Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this audiobook and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Good Christmas story

I enjoyed this story and reading about logging and baking and the history. The narrator was a bit flat. But overall, I enjoyed it.

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Great historical novella!

I loved this book, the story and history of the area and time period were equally fascinating! Fruitcake, idea intrigued me too, and did not disappoint! This is my first book by this author, already reading the second!

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Fun Christmas novella

I enjoyed listening to The Fruitcake Challenge. It was a fun book. I liked the storyline and characters.

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Very nice book!

I recently finished listening to this novella written by Carrie Fancett Pagels. This is the first book in the Christy Lumberjack Series. I really enjoyed the voice of the narrator, Virginia Gray whose voice was expressive and easy to listen to. She was very expressive and it was clear when someone was speaking, who it was. She did an excellent job.

I loved the story. Carrie's writing style really appealed to me and as I got to know her characters, they became very interesting people to me. This cozy romance is a pleasure to listen to.

Jo is a cook at the lumber camp but would like to move on into a bakery in a different setting. She meets the new lumberjack to their camp, Tom. He is a very interesting young man trying to earn his living as a lumberjack, although he is actually a teacher. As he is trying to help his mother financially, he takes this job, as the money he earned teaching does not stretch far enough.

He makes a challenge that he will marry whoever can make a fruitcake that is as good as his mother's. That's when the fun begins and fruitcake of every imaginable recipe is baked and served to the workers at the camp. So does he find a bride and does anyone make a good enough fruitcake to please his palette? This you will discover as you read this delightful book!

I received a copy of this Audible book from the author and was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

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Entertaining Christmas Story! Great read!

This lively Christmas story kept my attention throughout the narrator's adept reading. She read at a great pace, with inflection and emotion, and highlighted this wonderful story well.

The plot and characters are both strong and entertaining, I really enjoyed this story and hope to hear more of this talented author's novels in the future.

I won't tell anymore, you need to listen to it for all the literary fun!

I received a complimentary copy of the audiobook but was under no obligation to post nor write a review.

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Family Logging Camp

Big Tom Jeffries loves teaching but secures a job at a family lumber camp in order to earn more money to share with his widowed mother by being a lumberjack. The fun began when Tom challenged the camp cook, Jo Christy, to make a fruitcake that tastes like his mother's and he will marry her! Jo claims she doesn't want to marry Tom but she can't resist the challenge! I enjoyed learning about living in a family logging camp. I admired Tom for being so considerate of his mother. The narrator did an excellent job. I recommend The Fruitcake Challenge to others. I received a complimentary audio book from the author. This is my honest opinion.