After the First Snowfall in November (the 7th)










Thursday, December 6, 2018

Virtual Advent Calendar 12/7--Favorite Christmas Books Since 2013

My favorite late November and December reading activity is to devour Christmas-themed books, whether they be mysteries, romance, general fiction, or nonfiction. Today, December 7th, I'm devoting my commentary to telling you about a host of Christmas novels that I have truly loved during the past 5-6 years.  I am also hosting the Virtual Advent Calendar Tour on December 14th.

Before I begin, I was a bit startled to read some of the GoodReads criticisms of these novels. Some readers diss them, saying they're too cozy, too Hallmarkesque, not edgy enough, and I say, "What???"  The following Christmas reads, like the stories that came generations before them, are full of Christmas spirit. They are cozy through and through, and though mishaps abound, they are full of happy endings. That's the genre. If you're looking for realism, you're in the wrong aisle.

For those of you who love Christmas whimsy, read on.

I've mentioned in previous posts that I recently read Anne Perry's 2017 Christmas-themed mystery, A Christmas Return, which I found to be pleasurable. But even better, and the best Anne Perry Christmas mystery I've read is A New York Christmas, published in 2014.

Another book I thoroughly enjoyed in 2014 was Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron, a book in her Jane Austen mystery series. I must say up front that I do not gravitate to contemporary series that feature famous authors as protagonists.  However, I was drawn to this one, because it included an atmospheric element that I find irresistible in fiction--overwhelming blizzards and blinding snowstorms! I love Disaster by Snow.
I do enthusiastically recommend this title in the series because it was extremely Christmassy, with Jane Austen-era Christmas traditions,  and it did not hold back in isolating the wonderful Christmas household from the world for several weeks.

For Americans, Canadians, and for all who do not reside in the UK, I heartily recommend Christmas in London by Anita Hughes, which was published in 2017, I believe. I read it last December and it was so much fun. Why not recommend it for UK readers? I think any UK reader who knows London at all will find it too-over-the-top with the characters' wide-eyed wonder at London tourist attractions. I, on the other hand, admired its luscious and gooey appreciation for London in all its December glory.

And last but not least for today, one of my all-time favorite Christmas novels:
I reread Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice last year, and this time I had the time to luxuriate in it deeply, think inhale deeply. It is a five-star novel that does not disappoint in any respect. Ranging from Hampshire to Scotland, to my mind, it's the best Christmas novel I have ever read, with something to offer to women of all ages--from teens to 90s. I have had readers tell me that they pick it up every Christmas.  


8 comments:

  1. Ooh! Thanks for joining the Virtual Advent Tour this year! This is a great post. I've only read one of the four. I listened to and enjoyed the Barron novel last year during the holidays and will now have to check out the others.

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    1. Hi sprite,
      It was so hard to pick just four. There are so many really good ones from years past. A few more will be in the offering for December 14th.

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  2. I just bought Christmas in London for $2.99 (why, oh why, can't people sell at $3 instead?!). Thank you for the recommendation! I see she has other Christmas books. I'm with you. I hate "edgy" and a book can't be too cozy for me this time of year! I have read Winter Solstice, and I love so much of it, but that beginning kills me so much that I can't get past it. If only that episode wasn't part of the book. The utter sadness of it, the worst thing that can happen. It just stops me from enjoying the rest. I remember whole descriptions of the later parts. Maybe I should pick it up again, and just skip that part!

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    1. Hi Nan,
      I agree that if you read the beginning of Winter Solstice once, you don't need to read it again. It's too joyful an experience to read this novel just once.

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  3. Great post! I just finished the New York Christmas and found it to be one of her better Christmas novellas. I try to listen to one each year. Your other Christmas books look good as well. I'll keep my eye out!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked A New York Christmas. I also enjoyed the Anne Perry I read this year, A Christmas Return. A very merry, merry to you!

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  4. Who doesn't want a bit of schmaltz at this time of year? I haven't read any of these, but I will surely try, at least Winter Solstice, because I used to like Rosamunde Pilcher's books, but I haven't read one in a long time.

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  5. Hi Jo,
    If you have liked other Pilcher books, I think I can assure you that you may very well love Winter Solstice. It's a peak experience of the reading sort.

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