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The Fruitcake Challenge  By  cover art

The Fruitcake Challenge

By: Carrie Fancett Pagels
Narrated by: Virginia Gray
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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

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What listeners say about The Fruitcake Challenge

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    4 out of 5 stars

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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  • Overall
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A Inspiring Christmas Story

About the audiobook: Mackinac, Michigan in 1890..Josephine (Jo) Christy’s mother passed away and even though Jo was hoping to leave the lumber camp that her dad runs, she has taken over as head cook. Tom has come to work as an axman to make some much needed money for his family even though that’s not his normal occupation.
Tom takes a fancy to Jo. He issues a camp wide statement that if someone can make a fruitcake as good as his mom’s then he will marry that person.
Jo takes on this challenge
thinking she will make the cake and then reject Tom. As Tom and Jo spend more time together and Jo gets support from many of the camp members, she decides she may actually want to win Tom’s heart through a fruitcake.

My thoughts: This was a great Christian novella and a quick listen. First of all I have always wanted to visit the setting of this book so when I heard Mackinac my ears were on high alert.
The details and atmosphere of how a lumber camp ran was something I knew nothing about until this book and I felt the details brought the camp to life.
I learned from this listen that a lumber camp is like it’s own small town. At one point in the book, the camp school master gets outed for mistreating the students and Tom steps in as a hero in the situation. I thought that was not only a great story detail but one of the many subtle ways that the book shows Tom’s character.

Multiple romances began from the fruitcake challenge and I thought that was a sweet aspect.

My favorite characters were Jo’s twin brothers, Ox and Moose, and how they interact with their sister, each other and Tom.

This was refreshing and uplifting listen and I will need to add other books by this author to my TBR and read the other books in this Christy Lumber Camp series.

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Sweet and fun!

The Fruitcake Challenge is so enjoyable—even though the mention of fruitcake normally makes me cringe. haha I enjoyed the light feel and the fun banter between Jo and Tom. The humor is fun and unites the story in a neat way.

Jo has a complex personality with a strong spirit. Tom has a bit of swag and is oh-so-easy to love. Their romance is highly amusing and entertaining, offering a satisfying conclusion.

This story shares a sweet romance with easy-to-root-for characters and an inspiring spiritual core.

Audio Narration: Virginia Gray has a pleasant voice, fluctuating nicely with the different characters. Her voice is soft and feminine, yet her male character interpretations are not distracting. She breathes life into the variety of characters.

Audio Production Quality: The production quality of this audio book is clear with no distracting noises or music.

Overall Opinion: The Fruitcake Challenge is a fun, clean story. I enjoyed the lumber camp setting, the characters, adventure, challenge, and humor. I recommend this light-hearted fun Christmas story.

Dɪsᴄʟᴏsᴜʀᴇ: I ʀᴇᴄᴇɪᴠᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴍᴇɴᴛᴀʀʏ ᴄᴏᴘʏ ᴏғ ᴛʜɪs ʙᴏᴏᴋ. Mʏ ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ ᴡᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ɪɴғʟᴜᴇɴᴄᴇᴅ.

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Heartwarming

A beautiful Christmas story with fruitcake pushed into the mix and romance.
A quick narrative, I enjoyed this quick tale that pulls you into the spirit of the holidays. Set in a lumber camp in the middle of Michigan, it revolves around the cooks and the lumberjacks.
I loved Jo's spunk and her desire to rise up to the challenge even when she wasn't sure what her heart wanted.
It was a wonderful heartwarming tale.
I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from the author via JustRead tours. All opinions expressed are solely mine

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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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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.

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