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November 6, 2022

3 Christmas Novels to Get You Ready for the Holidays

by Susan Roberts

I don't usually read books based on the season.  I'll read beach books in the winter and Christmas books in the summer.  This year, however, I decided to try to read some Christmas books to help me get in the mood for the holiday.  I read three excellent Christmas books and think I'll try to find a few more to read in the next few weeks.  Any suggestions?

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The Wish List by Michelle Major

book cover of Christmas romance novel The Wish List by Michelle Major
October 2022; HQN; 978-1335430649
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); holiday romance

This Christmas the Carlyle sisters will rediscover the gift of family

Three sisters come back to their hometown for the holidays to help their mother who has had a stroke.  Growing up, their mother, a successful feminist author, spent most of her time on the road and left her three daughters to take care of themselves.  Beth, the oldest, worked very hard to help raise her sisters and as they've gotten older they still resent her for her bossiness.  She's just found out that her ex-husband has a pregnant girlfriend and it hurts because she'd tried so hard to get pregnant during their marriage.  She's a nurse and even as an adult is a take-charge kind of person.  The middle daughter, Freya, is a reality star who spent her life trying to upset her feminist mother.  She is beginning to wonder what to do with the rest of her life and is secretly writing a book.  Trinity comes home pregnant and hiding from an abusive boyfriend.  Will the three sisters be able to repair their relationship with each other and with their mother in the weeks leading up to Christmas?  They all meet perfect men during this time at home.  Will they all finally get their happily ever afters?

I love books about sisters and was really hoping that these three would be able to find common ground and become a family again  I wasn't so sure if they should work so hard to repair their relationship with their mother -- she had practically ignored them as they were growing up.  Will her near brush with death cause her to make changes that will strengthen the bond with her daughters?

This was a heartwarming romance about second chances -- second chances at becoming a family again and second chances to find true love.   I enjoyed the main characters and there were a lot of secondary characters from previous books by this author.  Hopefully, she'll take her readers back to Magnolia in the future.

Buy The Wish List at Amazon

Starlight and the Christmas Dare by Michelle Major

book cover of Christmas romance novel Starlight and the Christmas Dare by Michelle Major
November 2022; Harlequin Special Edition; 978-1335724328
ebook, print (288 pages); holiday romance

She isn’t the only one looking for a fresh start…

This book takes us back to Starlight where many of this author's romance stories take place.  We re-connect with some old friends from previous books along with the addition of new characters.

Madison is a chef at a local popular restaurant.  She has a wall built between herself and other people and tends to be augmentative and set in her ways.  While she is doing volunteer work, she meets Stella, a young girl who has recently lost her parents in an automobile crash.  Her father requested that his estranged son - Stella's stepbrother - become her guardian if something happened to him and his wife.  Stella and Chase were strangers and Chase had a major chip on his shoulder about his dad.  Chase was an artist who worked in glass and had lived most of his life only taking care of himself.  The relationship between the two siblings is tenuous and rocky and they just don't connect.  An accident in his studio causes Chase to become in need of care so Maddie offers her house to Stella and Chase while he recovers.  There are sparks between them but neither of them really knows how to become part of a family.  Will Stella and Chase learn to accept each other and will Maddie and Chase find their happily ever after?

This is a light romance that takes place around Christmas more than it is a book about Christmas.  It was a quick read with a happily-ever-after ending.

Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert

book cover of Christmas romance novel Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert
October 2022; Berkley; 78-0593197790
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); holiday romance

A one-of-a-kind Christmas market offers holiday magic.

This magical Christmas romance full of quirky characters who all love Christmas will make you smile.  It's full of love, magic, best friends, a huge dog, and a love of holiday traditions.

Astra Noel Snow has always loved Christmas -- with a name like that it's no surprise.  A bitter divorce from a man who tried to keep her isolated from her best friends, makes her look forward to her new life and spending time with her friends as they all return to the Milwaukee Christmas market.  She's decided to celebrate and enjoy her time with her college friends who have always been there for her.  Jack Clausen lives in the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops.  It stays the same and magically disappears at the end of each December only to start December in another city in the world.  He works at a bakery with his family and enjoys his magical life.  People who live in this magical area can go into the real world when they want but Jack enjoys his life and gets nauseous when he goes into the real world.  That is until he meets Astra.  He is drawn to her immediately when they meet in the bakery and wants to get to know her better but he realizes that may be impossible.  Once the Julemarked disappears from a city, people aren't able to remember anything about it.  When they go the next time it's in their city, it's always a new experience.    After several dates, Astra and Jack fall in love and have to make the ultimate decision.  Will Jack stay in the real world where he is unhappy or will Astra give up her life and forget her friends and family?  Will they be able to compromise and find their happily ever after life together??

I don't really enjoy books that use magical realism in their plots but it really worked well for this Christmas story.  I liked the two main characters but I really liked the relationship between Astra and her girlfriends.  They had been friends for years and always looked out for each other.  This book will make you smile and look forward to the magic of Christmas that is available to all of us.

Buy Once Upon a December at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is three hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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