Bennett Pontellier Watkins and Helene-Louise Soileau had a secret, youthful love affair--until their mothers found out. Helene-Louise, the housekeeper's daughter, was sent to France to study lacemaking while a bereft Bennett drowned his sorrows on the beach with beer and sorority girls.
Eight years later, Helene-Louise, now a master craftsman, owns a shop in Beauford, Tennessee, and teaches a series of workshops at the Cultural Arts Center in Merritt, where Bennett is the director. It isn't long before they fall into each other's arms once more.
But old patterns begin to re-emerge, and despite Bennett's declarations of love, it's clear to Helene-Louise that he still has no intention of coming clean with his upper-crust parents about their relationship. Is she willing to give up everything she's built for herself in Beauford for a man who may never see her as more than the hired help's daughter?
Or will Christmastime in Merritt reveal love to be the greatest present of all?
USA TODAY bestselling author Alicia Hunter Pace is the writing team of Stephanie Jones and Jean Hovey. Stephanie lives in Jasper, Alabama, where she teaches sixth grade. She is a native Alabamian who likes football, Civil War history, and people who follow the rules. She is happy to provide a list of said rules to anyone who needs them. Jean, a former public librarian, lives in Decatur, Alabama, with her husband in a hundred-year-old house that always wants something from her. She likes to cook but has discovered the joy of Mrs. Paul’s fish fillets since becoming a writer. Find Alicia Hunter Pace at AliciaHunterPace.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @AliciaHPace.