A Holiday of Love Hardcover – Large Print, Oct 1995
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About the Author
Jude Deveraux is the author of forty-one New York Times bestsellers, including MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING, SCENT OF JASMINE, SCARLET NIGHTS, DAYS OF GOLD, LAVENDER MORNING, RETURN TO SUMMERHOUSE, and SECRETS. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her book in print worldwide. She lives in Florida. To learn more, visit www.judedeveraux.com.
Jill Barnett is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen acclaimed novels and short stories. There are more than five million copies of her books in print in seventeen languages. Her work has earned her a place on such national bestseller lists as The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Visit her website at www.jillbarnett.com.
Judith McNaught is the New York Times bestselling author who first soared to stardom with her stunning bestseller Whitney, My Love, and went on to win the hearts of millions of readers with Once and Always, Something Wonderful, A Kingdom of Dreams, Almost Heaven, Paradise, Perfect, Until You, Remember When, the #1 bestseller Night Whispers, Someone to Watch Over Me, and other novels. There are more than thirty million copies of her books in print. Judith McNaught lives in Houston.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The man behind the desk looked at the boy across from him with a mixture of envy and admiration. Only twelve years old, yet the kid had a brain that people would kill to have. I mustn't appear too eager, he thought. Must keep calm. We want him at Princeton -- preferably chained to a computer and not allowed out for meals.
Ostensibly, he had been sent to Denver to interview several scholarship candidates, but the truth was, this boy was the only one who the admissions office was truly interested in, and the meeting had been set to the boy's convenience. The department dean had arranged with an old friend to borrow office space that was in a part of town close to the boy's very middle-class house so he could get there by bike.
"Ah hem," he said, clearing his throat and frowning at the papers. He deepened his voice. Better not let the kid know that he was only twenty-five and that if he messed up this assignment he could be in serious trouble with his advisers.
"You are quite young," the man said, trying to sound as old as possible, "and there will be difficulties, but I think we can handle your special circumstances. Princeton likes to help the young people of America. And -- "
"What kind of equipment do you have? What will I have to work with? There are other schools making me offers."
As the man looked at the boy, he thought someone should have strangled him in his crib. Ungrateful little -- "I'm sure that you'll find what we have adequate, and if we do not have everything you need we can make it available."
The boy was tall for his age but thin, as though he were growing too fast for his weight to catch up with him. For all that he had one of the great brains of the century, he looked like something out of Tom Sawyer: sandy hair that no comb could tame, freckles across skin that would never tan, dark blue eyes behind glasses big enough to be used as a windshield on a Mack truck.
Elijah J. Harcourt, the file said. IQ over 200. Had made much progress on coming up with a computer that could think. Artificial intelligence. You could tell the computer what you wanted to do and the machine could figure out how to do it. As far as anyone could tell, the boy was putting his prodigious brain inside a computer. The future uses of such an instrument were beyond comprehension.
Yet here the smug little brat sat, not grateful for what was being offered to him but demanding more. The man knew he was risking his own career, but he couldn't stand the hesitancy of the boy. Standing, he shoved the papers back into his briefcase. "Maybe you should think over our offer," he said with barely controlled anger. "We don't make offers like this very often. Shall we say that you're to make your decision by Christmas?"
As far as the man could tell, the boy showed emotion. Cold little bugger, the man thought. Heart as no cold as a computer chip. Maybe he wasn't real at all but one of his own creations. Somehow, putting the boy down made him feel better about his own IQ, which was a "mere" 122.
Quickly, he shook the boy's hand, and as he did so he realized that in another year the boy would be taller than he was. "I'll be in touch," he said and left the room.
Eli worked hard to control his inner shaking. Although he seemed so cool on the exterior, inside he was doing cartwheels. Princeton! he thought. Contact with real scientists! Talk with people who wanted to know more about life than the latest football scores!
Slowly, he walked out the door, giving the man time to get away. Eli knew that the man hadn't liked him, but he was used to that. A long time ago Eli had learned to be very, very cautious with people. Since he was three he had known he was "different" from other kids. At five his mother had taken him to school to be tested, to see whether he fit into the redbirds or the bluebirds reading group. Busy with other students and parents, the teacher had told Eli to get a book from the shelf and read it to her. She had meant one of the many pretty picture books. Her intention had been to find out which children had been read to by their parents and which had grown up glued to a TV.
Like all children, Eli had wanted to impress his teacher, so he'd climbed on a chair and pulled down a college textbook titled Learning Disabilities that the teacher kept on a top shelf, then quietly went to stand beside her and began softly to read from page one. Since Eli was a naturally solitary child and his mother did not push him to do what he didn't want to do, he had spent most of his life in near seclusion. He'd had no idea that reading from a college textbook when he was a mere five years old was unusual. All he'd wanted to do was to pass the reading test and get into the top reading group.
"That's fine, Eli," his mother had said after he'd read half a page. "I think Miss Wilson is going to put you with the redbirds. Aren't you, Miss Wilson?"
Even though he was only five, Eli had recognized the wide-eyed look of horror on the teacher's face. Her expression had said, What do I do with this freak? Since his entry into school, Eli had learned about being "different." He'd learned about jealousy and being excluded and not fitting in with the other children. Only with his mother was he "normal." His mother didn't think he was unusual or strange; he was just hers.
Now, years later, when Eli left his meeting with the man from Princeton, he was still shaking, and when he saw Chelsea he gave her one of his rare smiles. When Eli was six he'd met Chelsea Hamilton, who was not as smart as he was, of course, but near enough that he could talk to her. In her way Chelsea was as much a freak as Eli was, for Chelsea was rich -- very, very rich -- and even by six she'd found that people wanted to know her for what they could get from her rather than her personality. At six the children had taken one look at each other, the two oddities in the boring little classroom, and they'd become eternal friends.
"Well!" Chelsea demanded, bending her head to look into Eli's face. She was six months older than he, and until this year she'd always been taller. But now Eli was rapidly overtaking her.
"What are you doing in this building?" Eli asked. "You aren't supposed to be here." Smugly, he was making her wait for his news.
"You're slipping, brain-o. My father owns this place." She tossed her long, dark, glossy hair. "And he's friends with the dean at Princeton. I've known about the meeting for two weeks." At twelve, Chelsea was already on the way to being a beauty. Her problems in life were going to be the stuff of dreams: too tall, too thin, too smart, too rich. Their houses were only ten minutes apart, but in value, they were miles apart. Eli's house would fit into Chelsea's marble foyer.
When Eli didn't respond, she looked straight ahead. "Dad called last night and I cried so much at missing him that he's buying us a new CD-ROM. Maybe I'll let you see it."
Eli smiled again. Chelsea hadn't realized that she'd said "us," meaning the two of them. She was great at the emotional blackmail of her parents, who spent most of their lives traveling around the world, leaving the family business to Chelsea's older siblings. A few tears of anguish and her parents gave her anything money could buy.
"Princeton wants me," Eli said as they emerged into the almost constant sunshine of Denver, its clean streets stretching before them. The autumn air was crisp and clear.
"I knew it!" she said, throwing her head back in exultation. "When? For what?"
"I'm to go in the spring semester, just to get my feet wet, then a summer session. If my work is good enough I can enter full time next fall." For a moment he turned to look at her, and for just that second he let his guard down and Chelsea saw how very much he wanted this. Eli hated passionately the idea of high school, of having to sit through days of classes with a bunch of semiliterate louts who took great pride in their continuing ignorance. This program would give Eli the opportunity to skip all those grades and get on with something useful.
"That gives us the whole rest of the year to work," she said. "I'll get Dad to buy us -- "
"I can't go," Eli said.
It took a moment for those words to register with Chelsea. "You can't go to Princeton?" she whispered. "Why not?" Chelsea had never considered, if she wanted something -- whether to buy it or do it -- that she wouldn't be able to.
When Eli looked at her, his face was full of anguish. "Who's going to take care of Mom?" he asked softly.
Chelsea opened her mouth to say that Eli had to think of himself first, but she closed it again. Eli's mom, Randy, did need taking care of. She had the softest heart in the world, and if anyone had a problem Randy always had room to listen and love. Chelsea never liked to think that she needed anything as soppy as a mother, but there had been many times over the years when she'd flung herself against the soft bosom of Eli's ever-welcoming mother.
However, it was because of Randy's sweetness that she needed looking after. His mother was like a lamb living in a world of hungry wolves. If it weren't for Eli's constant vigilance .. . Well, Chelsea didn't like to think what would have happened to his mother. Just look at the man she'd married, the horrid man who was Eli's father: a gambler, a con artist, a promiscuous liar.
"When do you have to give them your answer?" Chelsea asked softly.
"My birthday," Eli answered. It was one of his little vanities that he always referred to Christmas as his birthday. Eli's mom said that Eli was her Christmas gift from God, so she was never going to cheat Eli because she'd been lucky enough to have him on Christmas Day. So every Christmas, Eli had a pile of gifts under a tree and another pile on a table with a big, gaudy birthday cake, a cake that had no hint of anything to do with Christmas.
In silence, the two of them walked down Denver's downtown streets, forgoing the trolley that ran through the middl... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First Novella: Change of Heart, By Jude Deveraux::::: This short story is about a genius 12 yr old boy name Eli. He wasn't rich yet lived with his mother in decent means. He befriended a billionaire, Frank Taggert. Love match making begun with the help of Frank's brother, Micheal Taggert & his wife Samantha, who couldn't wait to see Frank settled down. Mike & Sam's love story is in the book called, Sweet Liar. Since I thouroughly enjoyed Sweet Liar, It was good to read updates of them & their children. Eli's mother, Miranda is a very good mother, kind hearted & unselfish. I liked her attitude towards life. Though, she was attractive, she was described as 30 pounds over weight. I guess there are times, i get tired of reading a physically perfect heroine so this really appealled to me. Frank however is rich & handsome but his heart is as cold as ice. His friendship to Eli changed his outlook in life & his meeting with Miranda changed his heart forever. This story is simply heart warming esp. this Xmas season. The plot & the characters are very interesting that once again, i hated for it to end so suddenly. I wished JD would rewrite this short story & make it into a whole novel with more details. It really has potentials... especially if the friendship of Eli & Chelsea, perhaps their growing years together, would be added into it. This is why i rate it 4 stars. I wanted to read more.... Aside from my uncontentment, overall, it is a good book!
Second Novella: Miracles, By Judith McNaught::::: Now this story really bugged me! You see, I have read J.M's Whitney, My Love & Until You. Just like every reader who have read the mentioned books, I have been waiting for Nicholas Duville's story. He was one of my favorite hero of all times. He's smooth, cool, handsome, decent & kind hearted. He has fallen for Whitney & Sheridan in both books yet gave them up, even helped them find their true happiness in another man's hands. Now if that isn't heroic, I don't know what is. When I heard this book have Nikk's story, i bought it right away only to be disappointed. His story is too short. I agree with other reviewers here in Amazon that he deserves a book of his own. Once again, the story has full potential for a novel. Good plot, and Julianna was a darling. She was also in the book, UNTIL YOU. I liked her very much then that I wish to read more of her & of Nikki... Perhaps J.M. would rewrite this into a one book novel. I would buy it in a snap.
Third Novella: Daniel& the Angel, By Jill Barnett::::: This is perhaps my favorite story in this book. It is short yet fulfulling. Just like it should be. It doesn't leave you hanging or wanting to read more... perfect story for Xmas too. Lillian is an angel in heaven who kept getting herself into trouble. When she ruined St. Peter's gate, she was exiled back to earth. D.L Stewarts, a very rich yet uncaring man believed that money can buy everything, from love to people. As an ex-angel, her outlook on life was purely opposite to his, believing there is always good in every person & that money cannot buy people nor love. A challenge was made between them... St. Peter also gave Lillian another chance if she could perform a miracle here on Earth. She must make D.L Stewart give his heart out unconditionally in order for her to return to heaven & be an angel again. Would she succeed? But then... if she succeeds, what would happend if she returns to heaven? esp. when she finds herself in love with him? This story really touched my heart. The cute angelic occurances, the archangels, it's wings, halo, clouds.... the riddles & quotes all lifted my heart. It is a perfect reading tool this xmas time.
Fourth Novella: Hark! The Herald, By Arnette Lamb::::: Randolf Mcqueen found himself love at first sight at the Scottish King Herald, Elizabeth Gordon. He was known as a womanizer yet he couldn't seduce the most intriguing woman in their land. He found himself being chivalrous & patient... I enjoyed the way Randolf tries to win Elizabeth heart. The challenges & the bets... their bantering is also quite funny. I liked the way Elizabeth carry herself ; the way she takes pride in what she does. Although, I couldn't believe she was actually wearing a chastity belt! This story also include a short interesting history of the Scots & the English. The peace and unity of the Highland clans was a nice ending. This story is warm & fitted for the holiday.
It is so short and ends so suddenly that I am left wanting so much more. It is almost as if McNaught wanted to squeeze a certain amount of information within fifty pages or so.
So they meet, so they marry, and then he hates her. All of a sudden, he yearns for her...they yearn for each other! And then, a year later or so, she has twins. The end. No character development, no insight in their minds. All we get is a marriage, conflict, and then a resolution. Whoop dee doo.
Don't get me wrong. I love short stories better than full length novels. I loved Jude Deveraux's Invitation, and I loved Judith McNaught's Double Exposure. I just feel there could have been a better story here, because Nicholas was so witty and urbane.
Oh well, maybe next time.