Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review and Giveaway of "The Fruitcake Challenge"

Review and Giveaway of The Fruitcake Challenge

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! 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? When hope runs out, will God provide a way for Jo to achieve her dreams?

MY REVIEW:  I am one of the weird people who absolutely loves fruitcake so this book was quite appealing to me. How do you like YOUR fruitcake? or do you like fruitcake?  Do you like it hard and prefer dipping it in coffee? or with nuts?  or with a cream sauce?  My dear late mom-in-love made several fruitcakes every Christmas.  I always loved it but my husband would never touch it.  He preferred her sugar cookies.   It was great fun to read along as Jo and her fellow cooks and shanty boys tried to find the perfect fruitcake recipe to win her a hand in marriage!  
 I was very impressed with the research that obviously went into the writing of the book.  I was not familiar with the history of logging camps so I thoroughly enjoyed learning about it.  The scenery of Northern Michigan sounded breathtaking and made me want to plan a trip headed that way.   I also love historical romances and this one is set in 1890.  Grab a cup of coffee and ride along in the wagon as Jo and Tom head to town to shop and mail the letters for the camp.  Find out if Jo perfects the fruitcake that can rival that of Tom's mother.  I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers. 
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.  

Giveaway!!!!  Carrie F. Pagels has graciously offered to give away a kindle or nook copy of this book to one of my readers.   To enter, leave a comment and tell us if you like or hate fruitcake!   Leave an email so that I can contact you if you win.   For extra entries, share on facebook, twitter, or goggle+.   Tell me if you shared it.    Giveaway will end on Oct. 14, 2014, at midnight.  

About the Author:
Carrie Fancett Pagels

Carrie Fancett Pagels (www.carriefancettpagels.com) “Hearts Overcoming Through Time” is a Christian historical romance author. Her historical romance novella, The Fruitcake Challenge, releases in September, 2014. In July, 2014, Carrie won in Historical Genre for Family Fiction's "The Story 2014) contest, with her short story The Quilting Contest. 

Carrie's novella, Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, was an Amazon Civil War best seller and remained on the top-rated list for a year. Her short story "Snowed In" was published in Guidepost Books A Cup of Christmas Cheer. Nonfiction chapter contribution to Selah Finalist God's Provision in Tough Times by Cynthia Howerter and LaTan Murphy (Lighthouse of the Carolinas, 2013). 

Represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. Founder of Colonial American Christian Writers group. Owner/administrator of the group blogs "Colonial Quills" and "Overcoming With God." Member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Faith-Hope-Love Chapter of RWA, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and FaithWriters. 

Was a licensed psychologist for over twenty-five years. Has an adult daughter and a middle school aged son. Married the love of her life, Jeffrey D. Pagels, in 1987.

Carrie is the former ACFW Zone Mid-Atlantic Zone Director and Virginia/West Virginia Area Coordinator and continues to serve as co-hostess of the Tidewater Area Christian Writers group. 


  1. Thanks so much, Rhonda for reading and reviewing my Christmas Traditions Series novella, book #3! So glad you enjoyed Jo's and Tom's story. Claxton fruitcake is my fave store bought but I do like fruitcake made from a pound cake recipe and with lots of pineapple, walnuts, and cherries in it!

  2. Hi, Rhonda!!

    I loved "The Fruitcake Challenge" for the same reasons as you - wanting to learn more about logging camps and loving the scenery of northern Michigan, among them. I also love historical romance and this story is a sweet, heart-warming one that is inspirational.

    I do like fruitcake - but primarily those that are homemade, I've never tried it with a cream sauce and am anxious to do so. I enjoy moist fruitcake, but fruitcakes that are dry or have a lack of fruit and nuts - turn me off, real fast (LOL)!!

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I already have "The Fruitcake Challenge" - just wanted to encourage sweet Carrie!! Thanks for your review and comments!!

    Shared post!!

    1. TY Bonnie. Yes, the British make it with what they call "hard sauce" which is a kind of creamy sauce almost like frosting. Thanks for your kind words. My mom made a real production out of fruitcake and gave them away every Christmas. That makes me sad to think that she'll never be doing that again. But it's nice to remember her in this way.

    2. Hi Bonnie! I dk why I didn't see this here before but we are so excited to have you joining us on the OWG blog! We are having our bake off party in two weeks, so I hope to see you there! Blesings!

  3. Hi Rhonda,
    I am not entering the contest as I have read the Fruitcake Challenge and loved it.....Great story Carrie!

    1. TY Tina! You are so sweet! So glad to have you on the CT team!


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