The Christmas Charm

Now Available!

Book Description:

Small-town charm and a family on the brink of disaster as Christmas brings its much-needed
magic to those who need it most.


1959 – June and Patrick Elden spend their very first Christmas together in their tiny downtown apartment in the rural town of Redmond. As newlyweds, they have their entire lives ahead of them, and their dreams of a home and family loom large. Despite not having much money, Patrick surprises June with a beautiful Christmas star necklace as a symbol of all the years to come. And as their life grows and changes, the story of that little necklace becomes a family tradition that their children and grandchildren cherish throughout the years.


2022 – Jessica Paxton hasn’t returned home for Christmas since the passing of her beloved Grandma June. Despite being an accomplished divorce lawyer in Minneapolis, she still dreads the thought of spending time in her childhood home with her mother without her grandmother as a buffer. Her mother hasn’t forgiven her for a long-ago tragedy, and frankly, Jess hasn’t forgiven herself either. But her younger sister has begged her to come home, so she does. What awaits her is a family full of problems and tension between her and her mother at its worst. Should Jess turn tail and run for home, or will the Christmas traditions of the past prove strong enough to hold this family together?

Holiday Fiction/Women's Fiction

Releases November 1, 2022

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Enjoy the first chapter of The Christmas Charm: 

Chapter One

Christmas Eve 1959



June Elden waited anxiously for her husband to come home from his long day of work at his father’s dairy farm. She’d returned home from her own part-time job at the local dime-store earlier in the day and baked sugar cookies and stuffed a chicken for dinner. Now, she waited eagerly for their first Christmas as a married couple to begin.

For the hundredth time, June walked around their tiny apartment, fluffing the sofa pillows and straightening the cushion on the old rocker her father had given her, making sure that everything was tidy and nice. They lived above the old furniture store in downtown Redmond in a one-bedroom space with a small sitting area and an even smaller kitchen, but June didn’t mind. At nineteen-years-old, she was with the man she adored and loved their life together.

The door suddenly burst open, and with it came a rush of crisp air as the Minnesota winter followed Patrick inside.

“Juni? Juni-bug? Are you here?” Patrick called with a grin on his face and a glint in his brown eyes.

June ran to the door, her dark pony-tail swinging as she moved, and wrapped her arms around her husband. “Of course, I’m here,” she said, hugging him close. He smelled of cows, straw, and damp wool, but she didn’t mind. June gazed up at him expectantly. “Did you bring it?”

“You mean this?” Patrick reached outside and pulled hard on something heavy. Suddenly, the room filled with the smell of fresh pine.

“Oh, it’s here!” June clapped her hands together and jumped with glee. Together, they moved the heavy spruce tree into the tiny living room and closed the door against the freezing air. “I have a tree stand right over here,” June said. She stopped suddenly and bit her lip. “I hope you don’t mind. I know we’re saving every penny so you can open your own store someday. But I bought it and a few ornaments at the dime store today.”

Patrick slipped off his plaid coat, hung it on the hook by the door, and walked over to hug his bride. “Of course, I don’t mind,” he said gently. “We can’t have a tree without some sparkle, now, can we?”

The couple worked together to place the tree in the stand and set it up in the corner. Then they let it sit while June served dinner on the little card table that functioned as a dining set.

“Dinner smells delicious,” Patrick said, sitting down. “How lucky I am to have married such a great cook.”

June smiled at him as they served up. Being the only girl in her family, she’d had no choice but to learn to cook for her father and brother after her mother had died when June was twelve. She actually hadn’t minded it, though. June enjoyed cooking new dishes and baking treats.

They filled up on roasted chicken, stuffing, carrots, and rolls, then each enjoyed one of her holiday cookies. Patrick pushed away from the table and sat back after sipping his coffee.

“I think I’m too full to move,” he said.

“But we have to decorate the tree,” June said, suddenly worried. She knew he worked long hours at his father’s farm and had hoped he wouldn’t be too tired to help her decorate.

Patrick grinned. He unfolded his tall body from the small chair, stood, and stretched. His long legs and arms enabled him to touch the ceiling. “I’m never too tired to celebrate Christmas,” he said.

June rushed to wrap up the leftovers and stack the dishes in the sink. As she did, Patrick pulled a long string of colorful big-bulbed lights out of a box and began clipping them to the tree.

“I’m glad my mom had an extra set of tree lights,” he said as he placed them. “They’ll look great with your new ornaments.”

June moved quickly to the living room, her full skirt swishing around her knees. “They’re going to look lovely,” she said excitedly.

Once the lights were on, June carefully opened the boxes of mercery-glass ornaments, and they took turns placing them on the tree. There weren’t many, but they looked beautiful as they shimmered in the light.

“Oh!” June stared at the tree, dismayed. “I forgot to get a tree topper.”

Patrick studied the tree that nearly touched the ceiling. “I think it’ll be fine without one this year,” he said. “You can buy one on sale after the holidays, and we’ll have something new to put on the tree next year.”

June nodded. “Yes. Next year.” She smiled over at Patrick. “We have a lifetime to fill our Christmas trees with memories.”

Patrick hugged her close.

June made hot chocolate, and they turned out the lights and sat on the sofa, admiring their handiwork. She loved how cozy their apartment was with only the tree lights illuminating it.

“Should we open presents tonight?” Patrick asked. “Just us alone? Tomorrow we’ll be at my parents’ house, and it’ll be chaos.”

June nodded. “Oh, yes. Let’s.” She hurried to their bedroom, pulled a box out from under the bed, and then placed it under the tree.

“For me?” Patrick said playfully as they both kneeled beside the tree.

“Silly. Open it,” June said.

Patrick picked up the box and shook it. Then he placed it to his ear and shook it again. “A puppy?” he asked.

June laughed. “That would be a very small puppy.”

“Hm. A tie?” he teased.

“Why on earth would you need another tie? So you could dress up for the dairy cows?”

“Well, it’s too small to be a brand-new car,” he said.

“Just open it, silly,” June told him.

Patrick ripped off the red Santa paper with the enthusiasm of a child and then lifted the box lid. Inside lay a thick pair of suede gloves with warm fur lining. “These are great,” he said, slipping them onto his large hands. “And so warm. I love them.”

“Do you? Really? I know they’re practical, but you needed a warm pair of work gloves,” June said, worrying her lower lip with her teeth.

Patrick leaned over and kissed her sweetly on the cheek. “I love them. I really do. And I need them. No more frozen hands.” He grinned.

This brought a smile to June’s face.

“Now, it’s your turn,” Patrick said. “But first, you have to find it.”

“What?” June glanced around. “You hid it?”

“Yep. But I’ll give you a hint. It’s somewhere in the tree.”

“In the tree?” June frowned. She stood and began searching the tree branches. “What kind of gift can you hide in a tree?” she asked.

“A really good one,” he teased.

June searched the tree, then finally looked around toward the back. “I found it!” she said gleefully. Carefully, June picked up the small, wrapped box that sat on a branch. She came to sit beside Patrick on the floor again, staring at the box.

“What could it be?” she asked.

“You’ll have to open it to see,” Patrick said.

June shook the box. “It makes a jingling sound. Is it a bell?”

Patrick laughed. “Are you a cat?”

June giggled. “Is it the tiniest pair of gloves ever?”

“Maybe for a tiny fairy princess,” Patrick said. “Open it.”

June couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer. She carefully unwrapped the pretty silver paper and opened the small box. Inside was another box—a red velvet one that looked like a jewelry box. Her expression grew serious.

“Oh, Patrick. You didn’t spend a lot of money on me, did you?” she asked, feeling guilty.

“It’s Christmas, Juni-bug. Can’t I spoil you once a year?” Patrick said sweetly.

Growing excited, June lifted the lid. Sitting on red velvet was a white-gold star charm on a chain. As she moved the box in the light, it twinkled. “Oh, it’s beautiful,” she said, looking up into Patrick’s eyes. “I love it.”

He grinned. “Try it on.”

She lifted it out of the box and held it in her hand. It was quite thick and heavy for so small a charm. Unclasping the chain, she placed it around her neck, then smiled at Patrick. “I love it. I really do. But it’s so expensive,” she said.

“You’re worth every cent to me,” her husband said, drawing closer. “I wanted to give you something nice for our first Christmas. Something that would remind you of how happy we are every time you wear it for years to come. Something special you can hand down to our daughter, and she can hand down to her daughter. I love you, Juni. Our first Christmas will always be our most special one.”

Tears filled June’s eyes as she pulled Patrick close. “I’m so happy,” she whispered in his ear.

He kissed her, and they sat together in each other arms until the church bells rang at midnight, announcing Christmas Day.