Season’s readings

Some of the Christmas stories I read last year. I had to include my own LoveLetters & Gingerbread , published in time for the holidays.

Christmas isn’t Christmas without stories: various retellings of the Nativity Story, Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore, O. Henry ‘s The Gift of the Magi…the list is endless.

Some of my favorite books have wonderful Christmas scenes. I love the heartwarming holiday scene in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Anne’s first Christmas in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Harry Potter’s Christmas at Hogwarts, thanks to his sweet friend Ron in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

I’ve squeezed Christmas into several of my books, including a Civil War Christmas in Divided Loyalties and the German traditions imported into 1830 Annapolis in Love Letters & Gingerbread.

E. Elizabeth Watson’s Scottish romance was just released in time for the holidays. She’s a master of this sub-genre. Loved this from the first page.

Last year, I read three Christmas stories that were fun.

P.D.James‘s The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories collects four of her holiday themed murder mysteries in one lovely little volume.

The cover of Falling for Mr. Wright doesn’t even hint that it’s a Christmas story—red shoes and a green cushion are the only clues—but Robyn Neeley‘s frothy rom-com is set smack dab in the middle of the holidays.

A writer of Scotland-based historical fiction, E. Elizabeth Watson, has published Twelfth Knight’s Bride, and it’s a rollicking good ride from the opening scene with the main character on horseback. An enemy to lover romance, with plenty of well-wrought tension and attraction. Watson published my favorite Christmas story last year, Christmas Wore Plaid, a second chance love story that’s sweet and full of hope.

How about anthologies? Sometimes you have time during the holidays to snatch only a few minutes for your own reading. Here’s a new one for Christmas and a collection from 2019 for Hanukkah.

This year, Watson’s novella, The Capture of Finnan MacLeod, will be part of a holiday anthology, Merry Mayhem: A Collection of Yuletide Rogues and Outlaws, out in November on Kindle.

Lori Ann Bailey‘s A Highlander for Hannukah, set in the same romantic territory as Watson’s, is part of a 2019 anthology, Eight Kisses, which she edited with Mindy Klasky. Klasky’s own story, Harmony Lights, is also included. The eight stories, one for each night of course, are set in a variety of times and places, with all kinds of romance: small town love, opposites attract, the perils and joys of online dating.

I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations, too. Here’s some of their favorite books. There are enough here for me to keep on reading until Christmas 2021. I’ve read two so far, as you’ll soon see.

  • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham — My take: It starts grumpy and gets more fun the closer they get to Christmas. A quick and fun read.
  • A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
  • Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher — My take: Not the usual sentimental holiday story. Christmas in the English countryside, as celebrated by dear, but wounded people. A cozy book to read by the fire.
  • The Christmas Pear by Dorothea Benton Frank
  • Winter Street Series by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Let it Snow by Nancy Thayer
  • Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony
  • Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
  • Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb
  • The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon
  • The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson
  • Coming Home for Christmas, one of several holiday titles by RaeAnne Thayne
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, has a poignant Christmas tree scene that I’m going to have to read again.

If you want more information about the books here, check out these two interesting Christmas story lists. Karen Newfield’s Reading and Eating. And Claire Amy Handscombe’s list for Bookshop.org.

Do you have a favorite Christmas story? Let me know. I’m always looking for something new to read that reflects the love and joy of the season.

Happy holidays!

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