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December 29, 2023

2 Christmas Books You Don't Want to Miss

by Donna Huber

On Christmas Day, I posted about the 3 Christmas books in my TBR pile that I hoped to get to before the clock struck midnight on December 31. I've been able to read 2 of them. I still have 3 days, so hopefully I will get the 3rd one read too. If you haven't had your fill of Christmas novels yet, be sure to pick up these two.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of holiday romance novel The Wishing Bridge by Viola Shipman
November 2023; Graydon House; 978-1525812002
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); holiday romance

Once the hottest mergers and acquisitions executive in the company, Henrietta Wegner can see the ambitious and impossibly young up-and-comers gunning for her job. When Henri’s boss makes it clear she’ll be starting the New Year unemployed unless she can close a big deal before the holidays, Henri impulsively tells him that she can convince her aging parents to sell Wegner’s—their iconic Frankenmuth, Michigan, Christmas store—to a massive, soulless corporation. It’s the kind of deal cool, corporate Henri has built her career on.

I love Viola Shipman's Christmas books. They read like a Hallmark Christmas movie. The plot of The Wishing Bridge was very similar to one of the early Christmas movies I watched this year so it was pretty predictable. I also watched the same movie last year, so I don't mind predictability in my Christmas entertainment.

The characters are great, and the small-town setting is wonderful. The novel is filled with all the things of the holidays - snow and Christmas lights, friends and family. 

I don't often picture actors/actresses as the characters of a book. But I kept picturing Andrea Bang from A Million Little Things whenever Henri's assistant Bea appeared on the page.

I spent a lovely morning on the couch in my PJs, with a hot cup of tea, a fuzzy blanket, a cat (or three), and the Christmas tree lit while reading more than half of this book. It is the perfect story for a lazy day of reading. So if you are trying to fit in a day of self-care over the holidays, you should pick up this book.

Buy The Wishing Bridge at Amazon

The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan

book cover of holiday women's fiction novel The Book Club Hotel by Sarah Morgan
September 2023; Canary Street Press; 978-1335009265
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); women's fiction

With its historic charm and picture-perfect library, the Maple Sugar Inn is considered the winter destination. As the holidays approach, the inn is fully booked with guests looking for their dream vacation. But widowed far too young, and exhausted from juggling the hotel with being a dedicated single mom, Hattie Coleman dreams only of making it through the festive season.

I chose this book because I love books about books so a book club hotel sounded like a fun read. And it was a fun read.

It started off a bit slow as the 4 main characters were introduced: Hattie, Erika, Claudia, and Anna. But it picked up just before the halfway mark. Then I couldn't put it down. I'm so glad that I'm on Christmas vacation from work so I could stay up late reading.

The story is told in 3rd person, but in rotating chapters, we get "inside the head" of one of the female characters. I liked this style as it was easy to keep up with whose eyes we were seeing in the story through in each chapter.

While there is a bit of romance, the story is more about friendship and family. It reminded me of one of my favorite Christmas books: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

The setting is very Christmasy as it is in Vermont and the town is all decked out. But Christmas is sort of in the background as the various relationships and life issues of the main characters take front and center.

The characters are great - I want to be their friend. It makes me want to plan a trip with my college best friends. 

The Book Club Hotel is the perfect book for fans of character-focused stories. It is also feel-good story. There is a little bit of conflict but it is a really light read. It would be perfect to read on a sunny beach or lodge on a snow-top mountain.

Buy The Book Club Hotel at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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