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December 1, 2021

2 Holiday Romances to Kick Off the Season

by MK French

If you like to wait until December 1 to start everything Christmasy, then you will want to pull out your reading list and add these new Christmas romances.

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A Little Christmas Spirit by Sheila Roberts

A Little Christmas Spirit
September 2021; MIRA; 978-0778312147
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); holiday romance

Lexie Bell wants to make Christmas special for her six-year-old son Brock now that they have a new home. She has all of the trappings in place, but her neighbor is a grinch. Stanley Mann saw no point in Christmas after losing his wife, but now he sees her in his dreams. Now she's haunting him and trying to get him to revel in the season again, especially with the single mom next door.

The novel starts from Stanley's POV, as an older widower coasting through life without seeing the point in really living. We see how they met and the kind of relationship they had, which really brings home his sense of loss and grief now that she's dead. He's such a grouch to begin with, that without her infectious joy and happiness, it's gone untempered and has worsened. She begins appearing as dreams, sending messages urging him to live again and not remain holed up in the house feeling sorry for himself. This is also where Lexie comes in, as a single mother and kindergarten teacher, new in town and seeking a place to belong. Her son Brock is a shiny kind of six-year-old, a happy boy that's eager to play, meet people and make friends. His insistence in calling Stanley Grandpa and seeing the best in him gradually draws the older man out of his shell.

The thread of Stanley and Carol's life together is beautiful and bittersweet; all of their happy moments are tempered by the fact we know it ends with her death, and their promises of forever don't last quite that long. In the present, Lexie needs help when she is in an air cast after getting a chip fracture in a fall. Stanley grudgingly hangs lights, drives her to school and physical therapy, and goes to their home for dinners. This draws him out of his hermit-like existence, and he gradually becomes the father and grandfather figure that Lexie and Brock need. I enjoyed seeing how they grew closer, becoming a found family and helping bring out the best in each other.

Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo

Meet Me in London
September 2021; HQN; 9781335459978
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); holiday romance

Victoria Scott works at a Chelsea bar while she dreams of being a fashion designer. Meanwhile, Oliver Russell is trying to open his family's department store on time as his mother pressures him to get a girlfriend. A chance meeting between the two becomes the opportunity for Victoria to pretend to be his girlfriend in exchange for showcasing her designs at the store. What could possibly go wrong?

This is part of the "Meet me in..." series of romances, but you'll be fine reading this without any of the others. Of course, we know that a fake relationship is going to turn into catching real feelings, and the only questions are how it happens and how long it'll take before they realize it. The meet-cute is literally crashing into each other in the street, then talking and getting to know each other a bit before Vicki finds out that Oliver is the store scion. He apologizes for the blunder and then ropes her into playing fiancee so his overbearing and steamrolling (but well-meaning!) mother will stop trying to introduce him to women and his ill father can feel less anxious about him taking on the reins of the family company. Physical attraction exists between them from the start, and it helps that both Vicki and Oliver are genuinely nice people.

The inevitable "bad guy" and the force to drive them apart is realistic but still drives me up the wall. I'd love to completely smack them. On the other hand, Vicki has her group of really good friends, and I love that they have a supportive relationship and talk about each others' dreams as much as they do about the situation with Oliver. In contrast, everything about Oliver is bound up in his family. He loves his parents and lives for them, and his cousin is painfully jealous and angry of the position Oliver has in the family. Vicki is a positive influence not just on Oliver, but also on the rest of his family.

I really enjoyed this story. As much as Vicki worried about the differences in their lifestyles and family history, as well as her own personal history, the two of them really click. They really want the best for each other, which is a great basis for a relationship, even if it started out as a fake one. This book is a great play on the fake relationship trope and a fun contemporary romance.

Buy Meet Me in London at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. Thanks for sharing both of these. Meet Me in London seems cute!