Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story

Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy Christmas Story

by Debbie Macomber

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, delivering laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.      
Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.
A year later, Lucie is the chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

Praise for Angels at the Table
“This delightful mix of romance, humor, hope and happenstance is the perfect recipe for holiday cheer.”—Examiner
“Rings in Christmas in tried-and-true Macomber style, with romance and a touch of heavenly magic.”Kirkus Reviews
“The angels’ antics are a hugely hilarious and entertaining bonus to a warm love story.”—Bookreporter
“[A] sweetly charming holiday romance.”—Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345528889
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 167,922
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Debbie Macomber, the author of Love Letters, Mr. Miracle, Blossom Street Brides,and Rose Harbor in Bloom, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Nine of her novels have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists, and three of her beloved Christmas novels have been  hit movies on the Hallmark Channel, including Mrs. Miracle and Mr. Miracle. In 2013, Hallmark Channel began production on the original series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, based on Macomber’s Cedar Cove books. She has more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide.


Port Orchard, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1948

Place of Birth:

Yakima, Washington


Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“This is really Earth?” Will, the apprentice angel, asked, lying on his stomach on a low-­flying cloud with his three mentors. His eyes widened as he gazed down on the crazed activity below.

“This is Earth,” Mercy informed their young charge with a tinge of pride. For all its problems, Earth was a fascinating place to visit with the tall buildings that butted up against the sky and people milling about with such purpose, most of them unaware of the spiritual world that surrounded them. More times than she could remember Mercy had lost patience with humans. Those who were considered the apex of God’s creations appeared to be slow-­witted and spiritually dull. Yet she loved them and treasured her Earthly assignments.

“It’s New York,” Shirley added, resting her chin in her hands as she gazed longingly below. “Oh, I do so love this city.”

“Manhattan, to be more precise,” Goodness clarified and ended with a little sigh, indicating that she, too, had missed visiting Earth.

The four hovered near Times Square, watching the clamoring crowds jockeying for space on New Year’s Eve.

Will’s eyes widened as he intently studied the scene taking place in the streets below. “Is it always like this—­so busy and crowded, I mean?”

“No, no, this is a special night. The people are gathering together to usher in the New Year.” Time was a concept reserved for Earth. In heaven it was much different. Consequently, the time restriction placed on the three Prayer Ambassadors when given Earthly assignments had caused more than one problem.

“Did Gabriel want us—­”

“Gabriel,” Shirley gasped, and quickly cut him off. “He doesn’t exactly know that we’ve brought you here. It would probably be best if you didn’t mention this short visit to him, okay?”

“Yes, please, it would be best not to let anyone know we’ve shown you Earth.” It went without saying they’d be in all kinds of trouble if Gabriel learned what they’d been up to.

“Gabriel means well but he tends to get a little prickly about these things,” Goodness explained to their young charge.

“Why is that?” Will stared at all three of them.

“Well, you see, we . . . the three of us . . . thought we should give you a bird’s-­eye view of Earth and these people God loves so much—­strictly for training purposes.” Mercy looked to her friends to expound upon their intentions, which were honorable if not a tad bit sneaky.

This Earthly visitation had been a spur-­of-­the-­moment decision. Mercy had been the one to suggest it. Naturally, Goodness was quick to agree, and after some discussion Shirley had seen the light as well.

Will, an apprentice angel, had been placed under their charge, and given this honor, it was only right that he get a glimpse of the trials and tribulations that awaited him once he started working as a Prayer Ambassador. The job could be a bit tricky, and the more Will understood the idiosyncrasies of humans, the better he would do once given an assignment from Gabriel.

Mercy was certain that under their tutorship, Will would make a fine Prayer Ambassador one day. He was young and enthusiastic, eager to learn about Earth and the role he would play.

As Mercy, who had falsely been labeled a troublemaker, had pointed out, theirs was a duty that required serious dedication. She wasn’t alone in believing this. Goodness—­oh, poor Goodness—­had gotten something of a reputation, too, and Mercy felt partially to blame, but that was another story entirely. Shirley tended to be a bit more on the straight-­and-­narrow path and had worked hard to reform her friends. In fact, Shirley, a former Guardian Angel, had done such a marvelous job, Gabriel had offered to let them train the promising young angel who was with them now.

Naturally, it was understood that if the three of them accepted this assignment training Will, then of course there would be no hanky-­panky, no tricks, no nothing. All three had agreed. This was a high honor indeed and their intentions were good.

Now here they were, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, in one of the most amazing cities on Earth. Mercy breathed in deeply, savoring the moment. Bringing Will had been a good excuse, but the fact of the matter was that she had missed visiting Earth. It’d been a good long while since their last assignment, and she missed the razzle-­dazzle of the big city.

“Isn’t Earth just marvelous?” Goodness said, her huge wings fluttering with delight. “Just look at all those neon lights. I’ve always been especially fond of light.”

“As we all are,” Shirley reminded them.

“Can we go down there with the people?” Will asked.

“Absolutely not.” Shirley’s loud protest was instantaneous.

“I don’t think it would hurt anything,” Goodness countered, her gaze still fixed on the bright lights of the city below.

Will glanced from one to the other.

“How will he ever learn about humans if he doesn’t have the opportunity to mingle with them?” Mercy asked, siding with her dearest friend. Shirley could be such a stickler for rules. Okay, so they’d originally promised not to get anywhere close to humans, but this would be a good teaching moment for Will.

“How will he ever learn how to work as a Prayer Ambassador if he doesn’t become familiar with humans?” Goodness protested.

Shirley wavered. While she might be opinionated on a number of topics, she could be easily swayed, which was the best part of working with her, Mercy felt.

“Well . . .”

“Do we hear the humans’ prayers?” Will asked.

“Oh, no,” Shirley explained. “Only God hears their prayers, and then He talks matters over with Gabriel and then . . .”

“Then Gabriel passes along those requests to us.”

“And we assist in answering them.”

“One of our roles is to help humans realize how much they can do for themselves with God’s help,” Goodness clarified.

“We try as best we can without interfering in their lives,” Shirley added quickly, glaring at Goodness and Mercy.

This was a warning and Mercy recognized it the instant her friend spoke.

“But first, and this is the most important part,” Goodness emphasized, “it’s our duty to teach these humans a lesson. Then and only then are we able to help them with their troubles.

“The real difficulty comes when they don’t want to learn.” Goodness shook her head because this aspect of the job was often a challenge. “Some people seem to want God to step in and do as they ask without making a single contribution to the effort.”

“It doesn’t work like that,” Mercy said, although she’d done a fair bit of finagling to help these poor witless souls. In theory, answering prayers didn’t sound the least bit difficult. Unfortunately, humans were sometimes completely dense.

“They can be so stubborn,” Goodness said, shaking her head again.

“Strong willed,” Shirley agreed.

“Oh, yes, and once—­” Mercy snapped her mouth closed. It was best not to reveal their past antics for fear it would mislead their young charge into thinking that perhaps he should follow in their footsteps. Gabriel would take exception to that.

“Once?” Will pressed. “What happened?”

“Never mind,” Shirley said, reading the situation perfectly. “Some things are best laid to rest and not discussed.”

“Can I go down and be with the crowd?” Will asked again. “I won’t say anything to Gabriel.”

“He isn’t the only one,” Shirley blurted out. “I mean, we shouldn’t mutter a word of this to anyone in heaven.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This delightful mix of romance, humor, hope and happenstance is the perfect recipe for holiday cheer.”—
“Rings in Christmas in tried-and-true Macomber style, with romance and a touch of heavenly magic.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The angels’ antics are a hugely hilarious and entertaining bonus to a warm love story.”—Bookreporter
“[A] sweetly charming holiday romance.”—Library Journal

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad to have my favorite Christmas angels back!!!! It was nice to have a new angel introduced as well. I am just sorry that i read it so fast!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The 3 angels are back causing a few minor ruckuses on earth .. Debbie sure knows how to make you laugh this is a fantastic christmas story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When the holidays overwhelm me I turn to Shirley, Goodness and Mercy and now Will. They remind me what Christmas is about and that prayers do get answered. God, Angels and true fun, it's what to look forward to. A must read for the holiday horrors
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing! Well done Debbie! I love it!
BookwormReflects More than 1 year ago
Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy take apprentice angel Will to Time’s Square New York City for the New Year’s celebration.  While there Will sees two lonely people standing in the middle of a crowd full of people kissing. Deciding to spread a little Holiday Cheer Will uses his wings to have them bump into each other. For Lucie and Aren it was love at first sight standing in the middle of Times Square they have their first kiss, deciding to meet up a week later at the top of the Empire State Building. Fully intending to go Lucie must soon rush to the hospital instead of meeting Aren. One year later Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will must right the wrong that took place and help these two people find the way to their happily ever after.  Debbie Macomber is a wonderful author, the romance she has created her is so beautiful even though the story is complete with an amazing epilogue you still crave more. I have never read an Angels Everywhere novel before, now however I wish I had found them sooner The four angels are so much fun to read about as every time they make an appearance something goes completely hay wire adding a levity to the novel that is absolutely fantastic. I mean how can you go wrong with an invisible angel leading a camel down Broadway? This is only one tiny example of the hilarious antics that the angels find themselves in. Though the novel is highly funny Debbie Macomber manages to keep the humor and the deep emotional bond separate and intertwining at the same time with neither one taking away from the other yet each adding a new dimension to the story. I definitely had fun reading this book, though I feel cheated that I hadn’t known about the series previously, now is definitely the time to remedy that!  I was sent a free copy of this book for an honest review. 
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
This is the latest, and best installment, in the Debbie Macomber 'angles' series.  It seems like an updated, Christian fun redo of the movie, An Affair To Remember.  The angles--Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and the newest addition, Will are 'prayer ambassadors' from heaven who push the boundaries of their assignments.  This time they cause two lonely people to meet in Times Square on New Years Eve.  They have an instant attraction, but problems arise and the angels 'help' causes problems for the new couple. This story has a fun interest because the two people are a chef, opening a new restaurant, and a food critique for the newspaper. Since I enjoy shows on the cooking channel, this book ties in the food interest, romance, and fun with a Christian message.  Good read for this Christmas season!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet story. Loved the concept of mischevious angels. Good, quick, light read and a good excuse to get away from holiday stress for a bit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may be a romantic, but I love it! This book gives me an alternative to the " nasty stuff" that is out there. I think if we look hard (maybe not so hard) there is a Shirley, Goodness, Mercy and Will in all of our daily activities Jyst prsy and watch things happen! THANKS Debbie!
Bookworm_Debbie More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully, entertaining book. I have read some of the other books about Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy that Debbie Macomber has written. This one is just as enjoyable as the others. The apprentice angel, Will, is a nice addition. It gives a chance for the rules that they are supposed to live, and work, by to be explained.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun, witty, and sweet love story.
rutele More than 1 year ago
Very sweet love story perfect for the holiday season. A feel good book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Debbie Macomber! This was a cute story and introduces a new angel. I was a bit disappointed that it was so short and just a tad bit too pat, but it was still a fun read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just couldnt put this book down. A great book from the very start to the very end. I truely loved this story.
Deb55DH More than 1 year ago
Sometimes cute but not one of her best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dawn3 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book and I want to read the others as well. I loved it and couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a cleverly written, humorous story about love, "guardian angels" and New York city (the minor character). There are 3 angels and a fledgling whom they are instructing and the archangel gently overseeing them - which is certainly a necessity! It is perfect for light reading.
cgenna1 More than 1 year ago
I love these stories about Shirley, Goodness and Mercy.  Three prayer ambassadors that always want to come earth and mingle with us humans to help someone in need.   This book introduces an apprentice pray ambassador "Will"  a brilliant suggestion from Rose a reader/fan of author Debbie Macomber. Lucy and Aaron meet in Times Square New York on New Years Eve an accidentally bump into one midnight and kiss.  However the timing is all wrong thanks to a mistake made by Will.   The story has it's series of unfortunate turns, what starts out as guidance to help human intentions comes with a bit of heart break, misunderstandings and painful lessons.  Our favorite prayer ambassadors find a way to keep God's plan for Lucy and Aaron on track. Your happily ever after comes after forgiveness.    I cannot reveal the romantic ending you'll have to read this book to enjoy it!  There is also a recipe for peppermint  YOU WILL want to make it!
TobyNJ More than 1 year ago
Once again, Nora Roberts brings us a delightful story of the three adorable, and most humerous angels around. Now, there is another angel thrown into the mix of trouble and he is just as curious and willing to help; but always in the wrong way. A must read for all you out there that follow and enjoy the little cherubs!
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