‘Christmas by Accident’ is clever, sweet holiday story

“Christmas by Accident” by Camron Wright; Shadow Mountain Publishing; September 2018; 240 pp; $17.99

By Ann Jonas
For The Visitor

There is no shortage of Christmas novels published every fall. One of this season’s best is Camron Wright’s “Christmas by Accident,” a clever, sweet holiday story featuring a young woman who loves Christmas and a gentleman who strongly dislikes the holidays. Wright uses accidents as a theme throughout this short novel.

Abby McBride does some freelance editing and runs a small family bookstore and dessert shop, the ReadMore Café, an independent bookstore that serves irresistible desserts. Her Uncle Mannie, who raised Abby by himself since she was 3, when both her parents died in an accident, owns the business. Abby plans all year long for Christmas and can’t wait to put together her Christmas display of books every fall.

Carter Cross works as an insurance adjuster, but the job is not a good fit for him. He is a creative writer at heart and can’t help but embellish the accident reports that he writes, though he’s been warned by his bosses to stop doing that. Carter is looking for purpose in his life. He has been a Christmas grump since his parents split up right before the holidays when he was a young boy.

Unbeknownst to Abby, Mannie has a serious health condition. When Abby hears that Mannie has been hospitalized, she rushes off to see him. The road is icy, and Abby crashes her car on the way to the hospital. She is fine, but her car is totaled.

Carter is the insurance adjuster assigned to Abby’s accident claim. He stops by the ReadMore Café to hand-deliver correspondence from the insurance company. Abby isn’t there, but Carter sees her massive Christmas book display and he is appalled: it’s October and he thinks the books are horribly written. After seeing all the different Christmas-themed titles, Carter decides that he could earn an easy living by writing books like that — how hard could it be?

Abby meets Carter after she reads the letter from the insurance company stating that her car wasn’t insured; the premium payment wasn’t received. She contacts Carter to investigate, as she has the canceled check for the premium. Abby agrees to edit his Christmas book in exchange for help with her insurance claim.

Mannie has been told by his doctor that he isn’t expected to live much longer. Because he knows how much Abby loves Christmas, he decides to keep this information from her for a while, so that her holidays won’t be ruined. When Mannie meets Carter, he sees him as a future partner for Abby and does what he can to encourage a relationship between the two, which soon does develop.

“Christmas by Accident” is perhaps a bit predictable but the characters are quite well-developed and likable, and the writing is witty and fun. There are several twists to the story to keep it engaging and enjoyable. This heartwarming story includes several holiday recipes from the ReadMore Café!

Wright is the author of several novels including “The Rent Collector” and “The Orphan Keeper” and lives just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was born and raised.

“Christmas by Accident” is available in bookstores everywhere, including the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University Bookstores.

Ann Jonas is the general book buyer for the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.

The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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