If You Like….
As some of you may know, I have a weakness for theme reading. Now that we’ve hit the holiday season, it’s theme reading bonanza time. Since there are so many, I’m dividing this into two lists: contemporary holiday books this weeks and historical holiday books next week.
If you like contemporary, holiday-themed novels, you’ll probably like….
— Elizabeth Peters’s Trojan Gold (Mystery). I know a mystery novel seems a strange place to start, but this is one of my favorite holiday re-reads, taking place as it does in Munich right around Christmas– with, of course, all of the insanity and madcap antics one would expect of a Vicky Bliss novel;
— Donna Andrews’s Six Geese A-Slaying (Mystery). It’s no secret how much I love Donna Andrews’s Murder with Peacocks. In this much later installment in the series, things go horribly wrong at the Caerphilly Christmas Parade….;
— Kasey Michaels’s High Heels and Holidays (Mystery). Another of my favorite series is Kasey Michaels’s Maggie series, in which a hapless novelist discovers that her Regency hero has materialized in her living room– and he’s just as arrogant in the flesh and here to stay. As you can tell from the title, this is the holiday installment;
— While I’m still on mysteries, a number of classic mystery authors have tried their hand at the Christmas story: Ngaio Marsh’s Tied up in Tinsel, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding; and Georgette Heyer’s Envious Casca (wearing her mystery novelist hat rather than her Regency romance novelist hat);
— Elizabeth Young’s Fair Game, aka A Promising Man (and About Time, Too) (British Chick Lit). Not holiday-themed per se, but very much set around the holidays, with Christmas plans that go awry– in the most promising of all possible ways;
— Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas (British Chick Lit.) The title just says it all, doesn’t it? Twelve days of Christmas snowed in to an old manor house with a dotty and querulous cast of characters as the Christmas-avoiding heroine comes to terms with her past;
— Lori Wilde’s The First Love Cookie Club (Contemporary Romance). Another Christmas-skeptic heroine learns the joy of the holiday;
— Debbie Macomber’s angel books: The Trouble with Angels, A Season of Angels; and Touched by Angels (Contemporary Romance). I have trouble remembering which of these is which, but they used to be annual re-reads for me. Each features three separate romances as a trio of dotty angels, Goodness, Shirley, and Mercy, attempt to fulfill their assignments without getting too distracted by fun things like escalators. One of these has a Hannukah story in it, which is a very nice addition, since among the plethora of Christmas stories, Hannukah stories can be hard to find;
— Jude Deveraux, et al, A Holiday of Love (Romance, Short Stories). This is going to pop up again in the historical section because there’s also an excellent Judith McNaught Regency-set short story in here, but it makes it into the modern line-up for Jude Deveraux’s contribution to the anthology;
— Jennifer Crusie’s Santa, Baby, another anthology, with a Christmas short story by Jennifer Crusie;
— and, of course, Little Women, since Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Little Women. Although it’s set in the 1860’s, I’m including it in my contemporary round-up because it was contemporary when it was written.
What are your favorite contemporary holiday novels?
Shannon Stacey has two Christmas novellas I really like – Mistletoe & Margaritas (featuring a friends-to-lovers plot) and Holiday Sparks (sexy electrician!).
Also, I have a new favorite that I just read last week: Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Marina Adair. WONDERFUL story that had me in tears multiple times.
One of the other books I’ve been recommending is Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas.
What a great list!
We just love both theme reading and Christmas books in my house,particularly my six year old daughter adores L.M.Montgomery’s “Christmas with Anne and other Holiday Stories”and Laura Ingalls Wilder “A Little House Christmas Treasury”.
Would John Mortimer’s “Rumpole Christmas.” and set in the 1960’s Patrick Taylor’s “An Irish Country Christmas” be contemporary enough?
A Highland Christmas by Janet Chapman! I found my copy at Goodwill last year and loved it!
I read Comfort and Joy by India Knight last year on Deanna Raybourn’s recommendation. It’s a fun, darkly humorous yet also touching, and very British short novel. Excellently suited for travel reading. Also British and marginally holiday-y (in that it starts and ends on New Year’s) is, of course Bridget Jones’s Diary (Helen Fielding).
Surely there must be others, but I can’t think of them at the moment
A short but delightful novella: Bah Humbug by Heather Horrocks. The almost perfect “Hallmark Presents” Christmas story.
Christmas with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly. This is a sequel to her Darcy and Friends Trilogy where she cleverly meshes together all of her romantic heros and heroines into one sentimental and heartwarming Christmas mystery/romance.
My personal favorite? Why The Mischief of the Mistletoe! It was my entrance into the wonderful imaginative world of the Pink Carntion from which I will probably never emerge!