Today I’m delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Heidi Eljarbo’s recently released novel Fair Mountain Christmas as part of a blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Fair Mountain Christmas is a heartwarming Christmas story set in the mountains of Norway in 1972.
The wrought iron candlestick with four holders caught Juni’s attention. Advent, the period of preparation for the birth of the Christ child, had come and gone. She put the advent holder on the kitchen counter. How had she failed to remember? The tradition was to light one candle the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Eve. Then two the next Sunday, until the last sabbath day before the celebrations when all four candles were lit. She found four candles, placed them in the holder, then lit three of them.
The three candles reminded her of the thrill of anticipation when she was young. Counting the days until Christmas Eve along with the preparations for the celebration had been just as exciting every year.
Leo was napping on his blanket after their walk. He lifted his head and squinted her way to see what she was doing.
“I forgot about advent. Better late than never, Leo boy,” she said and stroked his head.
Juni was not working on dinner or any other snack, so Leo put his head back down.
She picked up the last item in the box. This was her favorite. A snow globe Pa had bought for Juni at the Moose Lodge Christmas festival. She held the glass ball in her hand, turning it over again and again. Like magic, snow swirled around like a blizzard then calmed down and floated in peaceful array on a young girl and boy singing carols. The girl had long dark hair and bangs like her. And the boy was… No, her imagination was playing tricks on her. Still affected by meeting Henry Norheim earlier, she looked closer. Didn’t the little guy resemble him?
“This goes right here on the table for now,” she told Leo. “No need to decorate the entire cabin. We’re going back to town soon enough.”
She gave the dog a sideways glance. “You don’t agree with me?”
Juni sat for a moment. What was she afraid of? Did the decorations remind her of how much she missed her grandparents? Was it too painful to go back in time in order to move forward? If Leo could speak, she was sure he’d tell her to invite the spirit of the season into the cabin and not let the memories connected with the place tug at her natural apprehension.
She stood. “Come on, boy. We need to go find a branch or something to put the ornaments on.”
Wide awake and ready, Leo jumped up and stretched his legs. He was not one to dismiss a walk or five.
They went outside and cut down a branch from a fat spruce. She would not stay in the mountains long enough to bother with a full tree, but a single, deep-green bough would display the ornaments in a proper manner.
Juni placed the branch on the chest of drawers in the living room and fastened the decorations. She plugged in the cable for the lights and took a step back, her arms folded and a smile on her face. Yes, her friends in town provided good times, movies, and fun parties. But what washed over her now was a mood she could only describe as joy. When did she last feel this way? When she’d painted the walls in her small apartment? Bought those expensive shoes on display in the store window? Sure, those moments had given her satisfaction, but this… This was pure happiness.
Nostalgia and Christmas miracles burn bright in this uplifting and heartwarming story about new beginnings and falling in love under a blanket of stars.
Fair Mountain, December 1972.
A few days before Christmas, Juni’s editor gives her a writing assignment that throws her far outside her comfort zone. She and her terrier, Leo, retreat to her grandparents’ old cabin in the Norwegian mountains in hopes of inspiration. But the trip turns into a heart-wrenching and emotionally challenging encounter.
Memories of Juni’s childhood seep in as soon as she enters the cabin, and as for the writing assignment…what does she know about what children need for Christmas?
Juni’s focus changes when handsome Henry Norheim from Moose Lodge down the hill unexpectedly shows up outside her cottage door. His dedication to family, traditions, and Christmas celebration is contagious, but for Juni, coming out of her lonely shell is easier said than done.
As Juni’s deadline draws closer, and the snowflakes softly swirl down on Fair Mountain, she has to face up to her past, open her heart, and dare to take a step forward.
Will the miracle of Christmas live up to its promise of hope, goodwill, and love this year?
Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.
Book Title: Fair Mountain Christmas
Series: Heartwarming Christmas
Author: Heidi Eljarbo
Publication Date: 4th October 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Sweet Romance, Holiday Fiction