Christmas is coming. I know because decorations for the shopping holiday began to show up in local stores in September. (My grocery store started with Halloween candy displays in August, so it isn’t only a Christmas thing.) And I began to see a clear uptick in the number of novels, and especially romance novels, about Christmas.
I went on a binge. I read eight Christmas romance novels. In two weeks. It was a bit like binging on the Hallmark channel. We’re not talking great Western literature here, but we are talking rather light holiday entertainment. Or pure escapism. Sometimes you need to read a story, or eight of them, that make zero demands on you. You read them and are entertained, and they make no pretensions beyond entertainment. Here are four. I’ll have the other four next week.
In A Christmas Crisis in Chancey by Kay Shostak, Carolina Jessup is summoned with the other women in the town to a crisis meeting. The summoning is done by “Missus,” the self-appointed town matriarch. The town has lost its expected grant, and the official holiday celebration is threatened. Should the town utilize laser shows and other modern elements to attract people and compete with nearby Atlanta,, or should it reach back into its history and its roots? This story is exactly a romance, but it has the same feel as one.
In Carousel Horse Christmas by Danni Roan, Audrey Alberton is a party planner in Colorado. She and a friend are driving home from Christmas shopping when they almost collide with a cowboy on a horse. Audrey receives a last-minute party to organize that will tax her to the max, and the cowboy and his family will come to play a role in making the party succeed – and in attracting Audrey’s heart.
Gift of the Magpie by Zoe McCarthy is a riff on “Gift of the Magi,” the famous Christmas story by O. Henry. Amanda Larrowe is desperately trying to finish a book manuscript under contract during the Christmas holidays. A new neighbor, Cam Lancaster, is moving next door. He’s a photographer, and Amanda is suddenly having a hard time focusing on her manuscript.
In Christmas Love Year Round by Elaine Stock, Cami Richardson and her eight-year-old son Danny live in Kindred Lake, Pennsylvania. Cami is a widow. A new neighbor moving in across the street also happens to be the new “Big Brother” Danny is supposed to get in a “Friends” program for kids without dads. When Cami realizes who it is, she’s flooded with guilt; this is the guy she and her friends ridiculed and bullied in high school because his family weren’t the “quality” the rest of them were. More than a decade has passed, and she wonders if he’ll realize who she is. He does, and so does his family. But romance is sparking.
Next week: Four More Christmas Romances