Is it a spoiler to tell you that my recent release, A Jilted Bride for the Cowboy, wraps up at Christmas?
I mean, you all know who’s getting together in the end, right? You knew it from the first couple of pages, even if you didn’t read the description. So is Christmas really a spoiler?
If it is, and you haven’t read the story yet (but it’s been out for four weeks, so surely you have? Right???), AND you still plan to read it, I guess… stop reading this post now? Or maybe it’s already too late. #sorrynotsorry
When I figured out when this story was going to come to an end, I thought, ho, hum, another Christmas story that isn’t actually a Christmas story because most of it takes place in the summertime but it happens to wrap up (pun intended) at Christmas.
Could I make it a little different from most holiday romances? What about that whole Jólabókaflód thing? I did a little research:
You’ve seen the memes. Every year around now our Facebook feeds are flooded with cozy images of smiling people handing each other gift-wrapped books in front of the Christmas tree. And, as legend has it, everyone is in pajamas and spends the night reading together in front of the fireplace while drinking hot chocolate. How much cozier an evening can you imagine? What could be better than a Jólabókaflód, a joyous book flood?
I admit to having some fun with this in the story, because our hero is invited to the heroine’s Icelandic parents’ home on Christmas Eve. He doesn’t know them very well. What kind of books will he give to the people he hopes will be his future in-laws?
You’ll have to read the story to find out, but I’ll tell you this… my Facebook reader group came up with some terrific suggestions which made it extremely difficult to title these fictitious gifts! If you’d like to be on the inside track of fun input like that, you can join my reader group here.
On a side note, I was born in the largest Icelandic settlement in the world that is not in Iceland. My parents had many Icelandic friends, and my family embraced one Icelandic Christmas tradition (no, not Jólabókaflód: I never heard of it as a child) — vinarterta (That link has gorgeous images!)
Vinarterta is a seven-layered cake, in which the layers are basically giant cookies with a thin prune filling between each. I know that does not sound appetizing, but it is amazing and delicious. I’ve been sugar-free for six full years, but I will have a couple of pieces of my sister’s vinarterta every year, anyway. (I am seriously contemplating how to make a low-carb version and might have figured it out…)
My sister made vinertarta with our mom every year, since they lived near each other, and my sis has kept the tradition ever since our mom passed on. This photo is from her archives from probably 25 years ago, with my then-teen niece cropped out #because. As you can see, they were making multiple cakes, spreading the dough on the bottoms of multiple cake pans and baking them there then transferring to whichever cake “pile” needed another layer.
Side note from the side note: my sister and her husband visited Iceland a few years ago and were looking forward to having authentic vinarterta in Reykjavik. When they asked at a bakery, the person laughed and said that was a Canadian interpretation, that it isn’t traditional in the homeland at all! But they’ve started making it there because tourists kept asking for it.
Anyway, back to the story! Our heroine’s mom buys vinertarta at a local Icelandic bakery, since she’s not much of a cook or baker herself. And then they all enjoy slices of this traditional cake with their hot chocolate while opening books on Christmas Eve. Now you know how the book ends. Sort of. But you might still want to read it. ;)