The holidays are almost here, and it’s time to get your winter TBR in order. If you’re looking for a holiday romance to curl up with, RaeAnne Thayne has you covered. Thayne is the author of Season of Wonder, which follows Dani Capelli as she celebrates Christmas with her daughters in the small town of Haven Point, where love just might be in the air. Here, she rounds up her very favorite holiday romances. Get cozy, and get reading!
I love everything about the holidays, from the music to the decorations to cherished time spent with loved ones. After a long day of baking or fighting the holiday crowds, I like nothing more than to stir up a mug of hot cocoa, pull on my favorite reading socks, and sit by the fire while reading a delicious holiday-themed romance. Here are a few of my favorites.
The Christmas Sisters is set in the snowy Highlands of Scotland and tells the story of three sisters heading home for the holidays. Their mother Suzanne is determined to create the perfect family Christmas but along with their gifts, the three sisters are bringing plenty of personal baggage along with a few secrets and sisterly rivalry. It’s a family drama, with twists, turns, humor, and romance set in a Scottish village, complete with cozy pub, a craft and coffee shop and a cast of quirky locals. I adore Sarah Morgan’s books. They’re warm, funny, emotional, and perfect comfort reading.
Dear Santa is a heartwarming Christmas retelling of You’ve Got Mail that will have you falling in love! Angela Carson is the owner of a struggling beach town Christmas shop. When her niece talks her into submitting an online letter to Santa about the business rival who threatens to put her out of business, she has no idea the trusted confidant she’s fallen in love with through those letters is her business rival, Geoff Paisley. Will Christmas tinsel fly when Angela and Geoff square off, or is there enough holiday magic to bring these two together?
After the devastating loss of her job in the big city, the small town of Sweetwater Springs, North Carolina, feels like heaven to Kaitlyn Russo. She’s inherited her grandparents’ charming bed and breakfast. Of course, there’s a catch—and a completely infuriating one at that. Mitch Hargrove wants nothing more than to put his hometown in the rearview mirror. But his plans get derailed when he learns he’s now half-owner of the Sweetwater B&B. This is a delightful holiday story filled with everything I love in a seasonal story: great characters, a compelling plot, and a beautiful story about facing the past and finding the courage to build a better future.
For those who like their Christmas books with a little sizzle, there is Jill Shalvis’ Hot Winter Nights, her sixth stand-alone Heartbreaker Bay book. The funny and emotional story spices up Christmas with a hint of humor, a dash of suspense, and a whole lot of fun under the mistletoe. It starts off with the hero Lucas waking up in bed, unsure how he got there, and shocked to find he’s not alone. What happened? I’m not telling. But add in a bad Santa, a heroine who has to go undercover into a holiday village as an elf, and a misguided hero who thinks he’s going to save the day (but ends up needing to be rescued himself) and you end up with a fun, warm, emotional Christmas story that is trademark Shalvis.
What’s more perfectly romantic than Christmas in Victorian England? In Lisa Kleypas’ classic story, American Rafe Bowman has arrived for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. He’s used to getting his own way but quickly learns that winning the hand of this heiress isn’t the walk in the park he expected. Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic into a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts. Kleypas’ stories never disappoint, and this one has all her usual charm, humor, and unforgettable characters.
To add a little modern suspense to your holiday reading selections, consider something at the opposite end of the spectrum from Victorian England. I can’t get enough of the compelling In Death series from J. D. Robb (i.e., Nora Roberts). A fan for many years, I’ve been re-reading them in order over the last year and particular enjoyed Holiday in Death, which is book seven of the long-running series. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer who likes to dress up as Santa Claus. Throw in beloved characters like Roarke and Peabody and Mabel and you’ve got an unforgettable holiday read.
Sometimes during the craziness of the holidays, a Christmas novella is the perfect shorter-length read to provide an opportunity for me to put my feet up and relax for an afternoon or unwind at the end of a busy day. I love everything Mary Balogh writes. Her stories are emotional, sometimes heartrending, but always tender. This collection of five classic novellas set in the Regency period that Balogh writes so beautifully is a personal favorite and sits on my bedside table every holiday season.
Whatever you read, I wish you the very happiest of holidays!
New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.