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The Nine Lives of Christmas    by Sheila Roberts order for
Nine Lives of Christmas
by Sheila Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Nine Lives of Christmas, Sheila Roberts gives readers an entertaining cat's-eye view of human foibles, especially regarding matters of the heart. The tomcat, Ambrose, is about to lose his ninth life just before Christmas 'when he usually managed to meet his end.' After he's rescued by kind, blue-eyed fireman, Zachary Stone, Ambrose vows to improve Zach's life in return.

So Ambrose wheedles his way into Zach's old Victorian home and life, something that does not please the fireman's high maintenance girlfriend Blair (who prefers 'naughty to nice'. Seeking pet food for Ambrose, Zach meets Merilee White, a redheaded elfette who looks like the girl next door and works at Pet Palace. Of course you get the drift. Ambrose will bring them together.

The task has its challenges. Merilee totally lacks self confidence (after being very overweight through high school and college) while Zach is allergic to commitment, coming from a broken home - he still hasn't forgiven his mother for deserting them, even though she's trying hard to make amends now. And Merilee has her own problem - she keeps a cat in an apartment that doesn't allow felines, and she's about to be found out.

Though Zach is not a total Grinch, he didn't really have the Christmas spirit at the beginning of the story, but it blossoms by the end. He takes a chance that results in a Merry Christmas for all and 'a happy ninth life' for the feline who made it happen. The Nine Lives of Christmas is as fluffy as Ambrose's fur and goes down as smoothly as eggnog.

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