festive holiday fiction features

With her parents in Louisiana for Christmas and a freshly broken heart to nurse, Sophie goes to spend the holidays with her grandparents and huge extended family. Hoping to cheer up her granddaughter, Sophie's nonna makes a plan to set her up on 10 blind dates, chosen by different family members. The dates are just as eclectic and surprising as her family members, filling her Christmas break with memorable moments. But when her ex-boyfriend turns up, she has new feelings to sort out. This charming YA novel is perfect for fans of big family stories; I thoroughly enjoyed it last year.
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Get your holiday rom-com fix with this fun new novel from writing duo Christina & Lauren. Maelynn Jones is dreading the holidays this year. She hates her job, messed up her love life, and wishes she could move out of her parents' house. To cap it all off, this is the very last Christmas that she'll spend in her favorite place in the world: a snow Utah retreat that her family shares with two other close families. At least...she thinks it's the last Christmas until she slips on her way out, hits her head, and finds herself repeating the holiday from the beginning again. Now, Mae gets a chance to win back her true love as she finds a way out of this weird time loop. Swoony, funny, full of cheer (and open door).
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This baking show-inspired novella is on my list of holiday reads this year and comes highly recommended from a romance-enthusiast friend. Adriana Herrera writes heartfelt, realistic romance; her characters have depth and charm. She also writes amazing food scenes. In this holiday story, pastry chef Kiskeya Burgos is determined to win this year’s Holiday Baking Challenge in Scotland, but sparks fly when she faces off with home-cook Sully Morales. Heads up for open door moments.
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When I asked what books every woman's gotta read, Alcott's 1869 novel about New England sisters growing up in the Civil War Era was an overwhelming crowd favorite. I only recently learned that Alcott herself didn't want to write Little Women: when a publisher asked her to write a book for girls, she put aside the thrillers she'd been writing and wrote about the only girls she knew— her sisters. The book's unexpected success changed her life and literary career.
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In this quiet novel (sometimes categorized as a romance, but don't let that scare you off), five individuals, each dealing with their own painful personal tragedy, are unexpectedly brought together during the Christmas season in the Scottish countryside—though they've decided not to celebrate the holiday; it's too painful this year. But redemption is found in surprising places, and in the midst of so much loss, love and redemption emerge.This book was a delightful surprise; I enjoyed it so much.
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It's Alaska, 1920, the night of the first snowfall, which inspires a typically serious couple to indulge in a bit of silliness: they build a child out of snow, just for fun. In the morning, the snow child is gone, but, in a way that eerily mirrors a much-loved fairy tale, the couple spies a young girl they've never seen before running through the trees. I loved this magic-infused story about love, loss, and the wildness of nature.
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O Magazine says, "If you have a Jane Austen-would-have-been-my-best-friend complex, look no further . . . [Barron] has painstakingly sifted through the famed author's letters and writings, as well as extensive biographical information, to create a finely detailed portrait of Austen's life—with a dash of fictional murder . . . Some of the most enjoyable, well-written fanfic ever created."
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This was a fun, more-or-less lighthearted read about a Boston pastry chef who flees to the country after literally setting her workplace on fire with a flambéed dessert. Reviewers called this parts Jan Karon and parts Gilmore Girls. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan's <em>The Little Beach Street Bakery</em> or Laura Dave's <em>Eight Hundred Grapes</em>.
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Anthony Doerr, author of All The Light We Cannot See calls this "A charming, comic, and ultimately poignant story about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written. It's as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it's all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps." You don't need to appreciate Dickens in order to be charmed by this novel full of London atmosphere and holiday spirit. But after reading, you might be tempted to pick up the original tale.
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From the publisher: "Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie's work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can't refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality. Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling. Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year's Day. . . or are they?" Heads up, readers: open door romance.
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