We’ve just posted the revised versions of three special title lists, including the Christmas Romances list. This seemed to be the perfect time to open up the Christmas list, and we’re glad we did. The revised list includes four full anthologies in which all of the stories were submitted, 23 full-length romances, and another 23 short stories. The new entries are in a variety of genres, from historical, to contemporary, to paranormal. No matter what your reading preference, if you’re in the mood for some Christmas reading suggestions, we think the new additions to the list will give you something to read.
Strangely enough, neither Cindy nor LinnieGayl (the two who worked on this revised list) are particular fans of Christmas romances. LinnieGayl has read a few Christmas mysteries this year, including Deanna Raybourn’s Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella and Rhys Bowen’s latest Lady Georgie book, The Twelve Clues of Christmas. But it’s been years since she’s read a Christmas romance for pure enjoyment (mediocre Christmas review books do not count).
When we talked about writing up the results of this list, Cindy commented that, “Like you, it has been years since I read a Christmas short story – the last anthology I read was so depressing for lack of a better term as it was an historical and the last story was about poor people who really had no hope even after falling in love. I decided that was it with the Yuletide stories. Although I keep thinking about an anthology called Upon A Midnight Clear that I remember enjoying way back in 1997 (I have the original small hardback still). One other title that made the list was Anne Stuart’s single title Falling Angel, which I adored and even though there is a HEA, this story is not without darkness much like many of Stuart’s books.”
Clearly we’re not representative of the many AAR staff and readers who do love Christmas romances, so, we decided to ask other AAR staff to share their favorite Christmas romances with us. Maggie says that, “My favorite Christmas romances are A Christmas Bride and A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh. Both describe the kind of festive, joyful, magical holiday we all dream of having and normally don’t. What makes them extra special is everything doesn’t start out perfect – it just mostly ends up that way.”
Dabney says that, “I love This Wicked Gift by Courtney Milan and Ruthie Knox’s latest: Room at the Inn.” Milan’s This Wicked Gift was in the 2009 anthology The Heart of Christmas while Knox’s Room at the Inn is a recent release in the Naughty & Nice anthology.
LeeB says that, “I am a huge Anglophile so love reading Christmas romances no matter if they are historical or contemporary. In the past couple of months I’ve enjoyed What Happens at Christmas by Victoria Alexander and Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight by Grace Burrowes. And favorite re-reads were also historicals, such as A Midnight Clear by Lynn Kerstan, The Holly and the Ivy by Elisabeth Fairchild and Once Upon a Christmas by Diane Farr. On a recent trip to London, I also picked up several contemporary holiday books, mostly all set in the UK: Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey, With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews, A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson and Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements. When I Fall in Love by Miranda Dickinson and A Merry Little Christmas by Julia Williams are also in my TBR pile.”
Blythe says, “I really enjoyed Carla Kelly’s Christmas book from last year, Coming Home for Christmas, and I used to be completely addicted to the Signet Regency anthologies. I also have some fond memories of Christmas regencies by Mary Balogh, Diane Farr, and Elisabeth Fairchild. But I don’t make time for much – if any – rereading. Instead, I try a few holiday romances every year, with mixed success. Zebra publishes several Christmas romances each year, and I keep trying them, but none have been memorable. I have somewhat better luck with Harlequin Historicals.”
Do you enjoy Christmas romances? Do you prefer to re-read old favorites or do you look for a new author to enjoy the holiday with? Either way, we hope that the revised list will provide you with some enjoyable new reads. Happy reading!
– LinnieGayl Kimmel and Cindy Smith