Ask A Wench – December

Christmas WWR
Susanna here, with this month’s Ask-A-Wench post, in which our question is—appropriately enough for the season—“What Christmas stories have you been reading lately?"

Every year I settle in with my holiday comfort reads—Dinah Dean’s The Cockermouth Mail, and the paperback novelization of The Gift of Love (a wonderfully sappy romantic TV movie from the 1970s based on O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi) and, if I’m not in the middle of writing a book myself, Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice. This year, I added a book I’d bought last year and saved as a treat—Happy Christmas, by Daphne du Maurier.

Daphne du Maurier, for me, is a hit-or-miss author. I love some of her novels (Jamaica Inn found me at just the right time in my life) and am meh about others, which adds to the general excitement and anticipation of picking up one of her books. When I stumbled on this second-hand copy of Happy Christmas for sale online, my excitement was high, because here was a book of hers I’d never heard of—a Christmas book! And better yet, it was only a tiny thing, one I could easily fit on my holiday reading list, and one the cover flap promised was “one of the most touching Christmas stories of modern times—as compelling, for men and women of today, as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.” So I bought it and read it and…well…it was one of her misses, for me, to be honest. It did have touches of her gift for characterization and imagery, like this:

DuMaurier Happy Christmas“Mrs. Lawrence had cut bridge for once and was threading lanterns across the drawing room. Actually it was the garden boy who threaded the lanterns, but Mrs. Lawrence stuck little frills of coloured paper round them and handed them to him, and as she was smoking all the time the smoke got in the garden boy’s eyes, but he was too polite to brush it away.”

I genuinely enjoyed those bits. And I fully realize it was published in 1940—her next published story after Rebecca, in fact—and may have struck readers differently within the context of those times (although the theme remains unfortunately relevant today). I’m sure she wrote with a very good intent, trying to, as the book’s cover flap says, reveal “the greatest spiritual cankers in today’s world—intolerance and smug complacency”, but for me, her attempt fell flat. Her parable was sledge-hammer simplistic from page 4, when the self-indulgent Lawrence family learns that they must make space for a Jewish refugee couple on Christmas eve, and chooses not to put them in the house, but in a little-used room over the garage. I mean, what do you think will happen? (Because yes, that’s what does happen). Apart from the predictability—and my personal feeling that Daphne du Maurier undermined her own efforts to show up the racism of others by using stereotypcially racist language to describe the Jewish refugee couple—there’s the disappointing end fact that the Lawrences, unlike Dickens’ Scrooge, don’t change from any part of this. Their lodgers come and go and they learn nothing by it. And the reader sets the book aside without that feel-good, peace on earth, goodwill-towards-men-glow that we are seeking at this time of year. And so, a miss for me. And Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is, in my opinion, safe.

* * * * *

Seduction on a Snowy NightAndrea here.

Am I a Scrooge? Honestly, I don’t feel like a crotchety curmudgeon who has no warm-hearted sentiment for the holidays. I love getting together with family and friends . . . cooking, eating, drinking and enjoying shared laughter and camaderie. That said, I just don’t find myself actively hunting for Christmas stories. Maybe the season itself writes its own unique story each year and that’s enough. Go figure, as I very much enjoy writing Chritsmas stories. That said, when I’m alerted to a lovely tale, I’m happy to jump in. Mary Jo’s latest Christmas story, in Seduction on a Snowy Night, is absolutely delightful. And having had a sneak peak at the Wench recommendations for this post, I’m going to rush and grab Trisha Ashley's Twelve Days of Christmas and Jasmine Guillory's Royal Holiday, which sounds wonderful. So maybe I’m changing my mind.

* * * * *

ThumbnailJoanna here:

I didn't read a lick of Christmas cheer this year. It's all been women waving swords and punching out inhuman monsters bent on destroying the world.
Good in its way and useful and matching my mood, but not exactly a message of peace and love.

So I will think back to other years.

The holiday reads I remember are the books I shared with the kids.

Thumbnail2One book, Every Man Heart Lay Down, brings back so many memories. It's told in West African Creole. I was lucky enough to hear a friend from Jamaica read it to his kids and mine one year. It was magical.

Also remembered, Eloise at Christmastime, which can still make me smile.

And here—A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories. I didn't have this exact book when the kids were little, but at some time or other we read all these passages. They're Laura Ingalls Wilder's Christmas bits from the Little House series.

* * * * *

Anne here.

Really, with bushfires and blizzards and volcanoes, not to mention depressing politics, what can one do except curl up with a good book and escape into a happier time and place?

At this time of year I like reading (and rereading) Christmas stories, and a fave I read every year is Trisha Ashley's Twelve Days of Christmas. A cook/house-sitter who doesn't do Christmas takes on a house-sitting job in a remote Lancashire location . . . and finds herself sucked slowly into celebrating Christmas with a bunch of strangers, who become family. No hot-and-heavy sex, but lots of Christmas food and squirty cream — the only vegetables that appear are carrots that go to the horse . . .

AshleyXmasInvitationTrisha Ashley is known for her Christmas books and I've also read her latest, The Christmas Invitation. It's much the same kind of thing, only this time the heroine is an artist who's never experienced a traditional Christmas. She's invited to paint two portraits in a house where Christmas is the highlight of their year, and discovers more about Christmas—and herself—than she bargained for. Again, an enjoyable read for a busy time of year.

As well, I've reread some of Mary Jo's Christmas stories — in the collections Christmas Candles and also Christmas Revels, as well as Mary Balogh's Christmas Gifts and Christmas Miracles. And yes, I reread some of the stories in the two Wench Christmas anthologies — The Last Chance Christmas Ball, and Mischief and Mistletoe, both of which I bought for my kindle as they're on special. And then I turned to Sarah Morgan, who has written a number of Christmas stories. And there are more. Can you tell I'm a sucker for a Christmas story?

* * * * *

Pat here:

I have read no Christmas stories lately. I have several favorite collections on my shelves, but at best, I may have an hour in the evening for reading, and I’d rather read something new to me. I’d have to be truly depressed and stressed to reach for a comfort read, and then I’d more likely read something I can sink deeply into. I can’t sink into a short story or novella, so it’s not just Christmas stories I don’t read. I generally read nothing short unless it’s a new collection by a favorite author. If it’s any consolation, I don’t re-watch Christmas specials either. <G> Pat, really enjoying a Mercedes Lackey book with Sherlock Holmes and not a Christmas tree in sight.

* * * * *

Mary Jo here.

I love a good Christmas story that is overflowing with warmth and sentimentality and good food. <G> Anne Gracie introduced me to Trisha Ashley, who excels at such stories, particularly The Twelve Days of Christmas. (For a link, see above!)

Back in the day, the Signet Regency line produced many wonderful Christmas anthologies, and a lot those authors (including me) have independently released those stories. One such collection is the just released collection of Edith Layton stories, It’s a Wonderful Regency Christmas.

Royal holidayBut a fun story by an author new to me is Jasmine Guillory's Royal Holiday. Guillory is an African-American author who writes smart, funny books that I'd classify as somewhere between romance and women's fiction. There is a lot about family and friends, and also work: I really like the fact that her characters have jobs that matter, and they care about that work. But there's definitely romance as well!

Her Wedding Date series is about a group of characters who know each other (which is something else I like) and her book before this one was The Wedding Party, the heroine of which was a high level stylist called Maddie Forest. In Royal Holiday, Maddie has received a last minute request to fly from California to the UK for Christmas with the royal family at Sandringham so she can style clothing for the Duchess. And she asks her mother, Vivian, to come with her.

The Duchess is never named, though it's pretty clear who Guillory had in mind. <G> But the story belongs to Vivian, a hard working hospital social worker, and to Malcolm Hudson, private secretary to the Queen, the first man of color to hold that post. The first time Vivian sees him scrounging for scones in the Duchess's kitchen, she thinks of him as "Hot Chocolate." <G>

He's pretty impressed with her, too, and soon she's outside of her comfort zone on a royal horse, and he's needing her ability to smooth out a tense situation with his cherished nephew. It's a lovely romance of two people in their early '50s who have different nationalities and very different backgrounds, but find something with each other that neither has known before. Now how do they deal with that pesky 8,000 mile distance between them…? Suffice it to say that this is a lovely romance with a satisfying ending–and a lot of Christmas!

* * * * *

We've given you our answers, now let's hear yours: What Christmas or holiday books have you read lately?

80 thoughts on “Ask A Wench – December”

  1. The Cockermouth Mail! One of my all time favorites. But one I reach for in the summer when it’s 100 plus in Los Angeles and I need to cool off.
    Back in the day, every October I would look forward to all those wonderful regency Christmas titles from Signet, Fawcett and Zebra, displayed in baskets in my local Waldenbooks like so many jewels. I loved the covers bright with Christmas colors. I kept all my copies, of course, but I so wish there was something new that exciting in my local bookstore now.

    Reply
  2. The Cockermouth Mail! One of my all time favorites. But one I reach for in the summer when it’s 100 plus in Los Angeles and I need to cool off.
    Back in the day, every October I would look forward to all those wonderful regency Christmas titles from Signet, Fawcett and Zebra, displayed in baskets in my local Waldenbooks like so many jewels. I loved the covers bright with Christmas colors. I kept all my copies, of course, but I so wish there was something new that exciting in my local bookstore now.

    Reply
  3. The Cockermouth Mail! One of my all time favorites. But one I reach for in the summer when it’s 100 plus in Los Angeles and I need to cool off.
    Back in the day, every October I would look forward to all those wonderful regency Christmas titles from Signet, Fawcett and Zebra, displayed in baskets in my local Waldenbooks like so many jewels. I loved the covers bright with Christmas colors. I kept all my copies, of course, but I so wish there was something new that exciting in my local bookstore now.

    Reply
  4. The Cockermouth Mail! One of my all time favorites. But one I reach for in the summer when it’s 100 plus in Los Angeles and I need to cool off.
    Back in the day, every October I would look forward to all those wonderful regency Christmas titles from Signet, Fawcett and Zebra, displayed in baskets in my local Waldenbooks like so many jewels. I loved the covers bright with Christmas colors. I kept all my copies, of course, but I so wish there was something new that exciting in my local bookstore now.

    Reply
  5. The Cockermouth Mail! One of my all time favorites. But one I reach for in the summer when it’s 100 plus in Los Angeles and I need to cool off.
    Back in the day, every October I would look forward to all those wonderful regency Christmas titles from Signet, Fawcett and Zebra, displayed in baskets in my local Waldenbooks like so many jewels. I loved the covers bright with Christmas colors. I kept all my copies, of course, but I so wish there was something new that exciting in my local bookstore now.

    Reply
  6. Oh gosh, always A Christmas Carol. I read it, I watch almost every incarnation of it in movie form though the Alistair Sim version is the best as far as I’m concerned. The Wench Christmas anthologies are always beside me so I can sink into a great, quick read any time I have some time. I haven’t any other ‘regulars’ but do pick up those that look interesting. Sometimes, they are. Sometimes, not so much.

    Reply
  7. Oh gosh, always A Christmas Carol. I read it, I watch almost every incarnation of it in movie form though the Alistair Sim version is the best as far as I’m concerned. The Wench Christmas anthologies are always beside me so I can sink into a great, quick read any time I have some time. I haven’t any other ‘regulars’ but do pick up those that look interesting. Sometimes, they are. Sometimes, not so much.

    Reply
  8. Oh gosh, always A Christmas Carol. I read it, I watch almost every incarnation of it in movie form though the Alistair Sim version is the best as far as I’m concerned. The Wench Christmas anthologies are always beside me so I can sink into a great, quick read any time I have some time. I haven’t any other ‘regulars’ but do pick up those that look interesting. Sometimes, they are. Sometimes, not so much.

    Reply
  9. Oh gosh, always A Christmas Carol. I read it, I watch almost every incarnation of it in movie form though the Alistair Sim version is the best as far as I’m concerned. The Wench Christmas anthologies are always beside me so I can sink into a great, quick read any time I have some time. I haven’t any other ‘regulars’ but do pick up those that look interesting. Sometimes, they are. Sometimes, not so much.

    Reply
  10. Oh gosh, always A Christmas Carol. I read it, I watch almost every incarnation of it in movie form though the Alistair Sim version is the best as far as I’m concerned. The Wench Christmas anthologies are always beside me so I can sink into a great, quick read any time I have some time. I haven’t any other ‘regulars’ but do pick up those that look interesting. Sometimes, they are. Sometimes, not so much.

    Reply
  11. I love Christmas novellas. They are delicious comfort food for the soul. I have a list of favorites that is too long to mention.
    Right now I’m re-reading Barbara Metzger’s GREETINGS OF THE SEASON AND OTHER STORIES. It’s an anthology of five short stories. My favorite is “Three Good Deeds” – about three young brothers who break a church window and must perform three selfless good deeds. I love Metzger’s sense of humor. She writes about children and animals so well. And I love to laugh!

    Reply
  12. I love Christmas novellas. They are delicious comfort food for the soul. I have a list of favorites that is too long to mention.
    Right now I’m re-reading Barbara Metzger’s GREETINGS OF THE SEASON AND OTHER STORIES. It’s an anthology of five short stories. My favorite is “Three Good Deeds” – about three young brothers who break a church window and must perform three selfless good deeds. I love Metzger’s sense of humor. She writes about children and animals so well. And I love to laugh!

    Reply
  13. I love Christmas novellas. They are delicious comfort food for the soul. I have a list of favorites that is too long to mention.
    Right now I’m re-reading Barbara Metzger’s GREETINGS OF THE SEASON AND OTHER STORIES. It’s an anthology of five short stories. My favorite is “Three Good Deeds” – about three young brothers who break a church window and must perform three selfless good deeds. I love Metzger’s sense of humor. She writes about children and animals so well. And I love to laugh!

    Reply
  14. I love Christmas novellas. They are delicious comfort food for the soul. I have a list of favorites that is too long to mention.
    Right now I’m re-reading Barbara Metzger’s GREETINGS OF THE SEASON AND OTHER STORIES. It’s an anthology of five short stories. My favorite is “Three Good Deeds” – about three young brothers who break a church window and must perform three selfless good deeds. I love Metzger’s sense of humor. She writes about children and animals so well. And I love to laugh!

    Reply
  15. I love Christmas novellas. They are delicious comfort food for the soul. I have a list of favorites that is too long to mention.
    Right now I’m re-reading Barbara Metzger’s GREETINGS OF THE SEASON AND OTHER STORIES. It’s an anthology of five short stories. My favorite is “Three Good Deeds” – about three young brothers who break a church window and must perform three selfless good deeds. I love Metzger’s sense of humor. She writes about children and animals so well. And I love to laugh!

    Reply
  16. I have two I read every year for Christmas. They are the Christmas Pearl, Dorothea Benton Frank. The heroine in the story hates that Christmas has become so commercialized. She is an older adult who longs for family traditions. A ghostly encounter visits her home in the form of a cook and brings back all of the traditions of her youth. A wonderful read.
    2nd is A Blue Christmas, Mary Kay Andrews. An antique dealer enters a store window decorating contest. Mayhem ensues.
    Thanks for sharing what you read. I plan to add Twelve Days of Christmas as well as Royal Holiday to my list of reads.

    Reply
  17. I have two I read every year for Christmas. They are the Christmas Pearl, Dorothea Benton Frank. The heroine in the story hates that Christmas has become so commercialized. She is an older adult who longs for family traditions. A ghostly encounter visits her home in the form of a cook and brings back all of the traditions of her youth. A wonderful read.
    2nd is A Blue Christmas, Mary Kay Andrews. An antique dealer enters a store window decorating contest. Mayhem ensues.
    Thanks for sharing what you read. I plan to add Twelve Days of Christmas as well as Royal Holiday to my list of reads.

    Reply
  18. I have two I read every year for Christmas. They are the Christmas Pearl, Dorothea Benton Frank. The heroine in the story hates that Christmas has become so commercialized. She is an older adult who longs for family traditions. A ghostly encounter visits her home in the form of a cook and brings back all of the traditions of her youth. A wonderful read.
    2nd is A Blue Christmas, Mary Kay Andrews. An antique dealer enters a store window decorating contest. Mayhem ensues.
    Thanks for sharing what you read. I plan to add Twelve Days of Christmas as well as Royal Holiday to my list of reads.

    Reply
  19. I have two I read every year for Christmas. They are the Christmas Pearl, Dorothea Benton Frank. The heroine in the story hates that Christmas has become so commercialized. She is an older adult who longs for family traditions. A ghostly encounter visits her home in the form of a cook and brings back all of the traditions of her youth. A wonderful read.
    2nd is A Blue Christmas, Mary Kay Andrews. An antique dealer enters a store window decorating contest. Mayhem ensues.
    Thanks for sharing what you read. I plan to add Twelve Days of Christmas as well as Royal Holiday to my list of reads.

    Reply
  20. I have two I read every year for Christmas. They are the Christmas Pearl, Dorothea Benton Frank. The heroine in the story hates that Christmas has become so commercialized. She is an older adult who longs for family traditions. A ghostly encounter visits her home in the form of a cook and brings back all of the traditions of her youth. A wonderful read.
    2nd is A Blue Christmas, Mary Kay Andrews. An antique dealer enters a store window decorating contest. Mayhem ensues.
    Thanks for sharing what you read. I plan to add Twelve Days of Christmas as well as Royal Holiday to my list of reads.

    Reply
  21. I too love Rosamund Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” and old fashioned authors like Elizabeth Goudge’s “Dean’s Watch” and “Village Christmas” by Miss Read. I am going to try an author new to me this year – Jayne Fresina and her book is “The Snow Angel”. Romance with a bit of paranormal thrown in so the blurb says.

    Reply
  22. I too love Rosamund Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” and old fashioned authors like Elizabeth Goudge’s “Dean’s Watch” and “Village Christmas” by Miss Read. I am going to try an author new to me this year – Jayne Fresina and her book is “The Snow Angel”. Romance with a bit of paranormal thrown in so the blurb says.

    Reply
  23. I too love Rosamund Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” and old fashioned authors like Elizabeth Goudge’s “Dean’s Watch” and “Village Christmas” by Miss Read. I am going to try an author new to me this year – Jayne Fresina and her book is “The Snow Angel”. Romance with a bit of paranormal thrown in so the blurb says.

    Reply
  24. I too love Rosamund Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” and old fashioned authors like Elizabeth Goudge’s “Dean’s Watch” and “Village Christmas” by Miss Read. I am going to try an author new to me this year – Jayne Fresina and her book is “The Snow Angel”. Romance with a bit of paranormal thrown in so the blurb says.

    Reply
  25. I too love Rosamund Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” and old fashioned authors like Elizabeth Goudge’s “Dean’s Watch” and “Village Christmas” by Miss Read. I am going to try an author new to me this year – Jayne Fresina and her book is “The Snow Angel”. Romance with a bit of paranormal thrown in so the blurb says.

    Reply
  26. I love Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas! I’m also on about the 5th read of Christmas Invitation since it dropped to my Kindle app in about October.
    I actively seek Christmas books but I want novel length, not novella and want an actual developed storyline as well.
    If it’s OK to mention, I also have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens’ Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas books – #3 out this year. The 1st one was probably the best but they are all enjoyable.

    Reply
  27. I love Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas! I’m also on about the 5th read of Christmas Invitation since it dropped to my Kindle app in about October.
    I actively seek Christmas books but I want novel length, not novella and want an actual developed storyline as well.
    If it’s OK to mention, I also have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens’ Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas books – #3 out this year. The 1st one was probably the best but they are all enjoyable.

    Reply
  28. I love Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas! I’m also on about the 5th read of Christmas Invitation since it dropped to my Kindle app in about October.
    I actively seek Christmas books but I want novel length, not novella and want an actual developed storyline as well.
    If it’s OK to mention, I also have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens’ Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas books – #3 out this year. The 1st one was probably the best but they are all enjoyable.

    Reply
  29. I love Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas! I’m also on about the 5th read of Christmas Invitation since it dropped to my Kindle app in about October.
    I actively seek Christmas books but I want novel length, not novella and want an actual developed storyline as well.
    If it’s OK to mention, I also have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens’ Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas books – #3 out this year. The 1st one was probably the best but they are all enjoyable.

    Reply
  30. I love Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas! I’m also on about the 5th read of Christmas Invitation since it dropped to my Kindle app in about October.
    I actively seek Christmas books but I want novel length, not novella and want an actual developed storyline as well.
    If it’s OK to mention, I also have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens’ Lady Osbaldestone’s Christmas books – #3 out this year. The 1st one was probably the best but they are all enjoyable.

    Reply
  31. I love reading Christmas stories and try and glut myself on them from October on! Like Anne, I enjoy Trisha Ashley, and I truly enjoy Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas story. I love reading romance at this time. It’s so busy and hectic, and romance is uplifting and happy, so you feel like you’ve had an injection of warm fuzzies when you read. Happy Christmas to all. I do enjoy your blog.

    Reply
  32. I love reading Christmas stories and try and glut myself on them from October on! Like Anne, I enjoy Trisha Ashley, and I truly enjoy Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas story. I love reading romance at this time. It’s so busy and hectic, and romance is uplifting and happy, so you feel like you’ve had an injection of warm fuzzies when you read. Happy Christmas to all. I do enjoy your blog.

    Reply
  33. I love reading Christmas stories and try and glut myself on them from October on! Like Anne, I enjoy Trisha Ashley, and I truly enjoy Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas story. I love reading romance at this time. It’s so busy and hectic, and romance is uplifting and happy, so you feel like you’ve had an injection of warm fuzzies when you read. Happy Christmas to all. I do enjoy your blog.

    Reply
  34. I love reading Christmas stories and try and glut myself on them from October on! Like Anne, I enjoy Trisha Ashley, and I truly enjoy Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas story. I love reading romance at this time. It’s so busy and hectic, and romance is uplifting and happy, so you feel like you’ve had an injection of warm fuzzies when you read. Happy Christmas to all. I do enjoy your blog.

    Reply
  35. I love reading Christmas stories and try and glut myself on them from October on! Like Anne, I enjoy Trisha Ashley, and I truly enjoy Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas story. I love reading romance at this time. It’s so busy and hectic, and romance is uplifting and happy, so you feel like you’ve had an injection of warm fuzzies when you read. Happy Christmas to all. I do enjoy your blog.

    Reply
  36. I have been rereading Christmas stories: all of the have altready been mentioned above. I also read the new collection of Edith Layton stories – ALL of them were new to me..
    Susannah: I’m with you on DuMaurier. I like Rebecca and Jamaica Inn when the came out, but they never made it to my reread list. And I didn’t care for any of her other books.
    I grew tired of A Christmas Carol and Gift of the Magi about 30 years ago. Yes, both are good stories and both are well written, but 60 years of the same story is a bit much (let alone the current 90 years!).

    Reply
  37. I have been rereading Christmas stories: all of the have altready been mentioned above. I also read the new collection of Edith Layton stories – ALL of them were new to me..
    Susannah: I’m with you on DuMaurier. I like Rebecca and Jamaica Inn when the came out, but they never made it to my reread list. And I didn’t care for any of her other books.
    I grew tired of A Christmas Carol and Gift of the Magi about 30 years ago. Yes, both are good stories and both are well written, but 60 years of the same story is a bit much (let alone the current 90 years!).

    Reply
  38. I have been rereading Christmas stories: all of the have altready been mentioned above. I also read the new collection of Edith Layton stories – ALL of them were new to me..
    Susannah: I’m with you on DuMaurier. I like Rebecca and Jamaica Inn when the came out, but they never made it to my reread list. And I didn’t care for any of her other books.
    I grew tired of A Christmas Carol and Gift of the Magi about 30 years ago. Yes, both are good stories and both are well written, but 60 years of the same story is a bit much (let alone the current 90 years!).

    Reply
  39. I have been rereading Christmas stories: all of the have altready been mentioned above. I also read the new collection of Edith Layton stories – ALL of them were new to me..
    Susannah: I’m with you on DuMaurier. I like Rebecca and Jamaica Inn when the came out, but they never made it to my reread list. And I didn’t care for any of her other books.
    I grew tired of A Christmas Carol and Gift of the Magi about 30 years ago. Yes, both are good stories and both are well written, but 60 years of the same story is a bit much (let alone the current 90 years!).

    Reply
  40. I have been rereading Christmas stories: all of the have altready been mentioned above. I also read the new collection of Edith Layton stories – ALL of them were new to me..
    Susannah: I’m with you on DuMaurier. I like Rebecca and Jamaica Inn when the came out, but they never made it to my reread list. And I didn’t care for any of her other books.
    I grew tired of A Christmas Carol and Gift of the Magi about 30 years ago. Yes, both are good stories and both are well written, but 60 years of the same story is a bit much (let alone the current 90 years!).

    Reply
  41. How far to Bethlehem by Norah Lofts is the book I reread at Christmas every year. She retells the Nativity story with freshness, giving the points of view and back stories of the characters and interweaving them until they all converge at a small town in a Roman province 2 000 years ago. It’s a rich rendition of a familiar narrative.

    Reply
  42. How far to Bethlehem by Norah Lofts is the book I reread at Christmas every year. She retells the Nativity story with freshness, giving the points of view and back stories of the characters and interweaving them until they all converge at a small town in a Roman province 2 000 years ago. It’s a rich rendition of a familiar narrative.

    Reply
  43. How far to Bethlehem by Norah Lofts is the book I reread at Christmas every year. She retells the Nativity story with freshness, giving the points of view and back stories of the characters and interweaving them until they all converge at a small town in a Roman province 2 000 years ago. It’s a rich rendition of a familiar narrative.

    Reply
  44. How far to Bethlehem by Norah Lofts is the book I reread at Christmas every year. She retells the Nativity story with freshness, giving the points of view and back stories of the characters and interweaving them until they all converge at a small town in a Roman province 2 000 years ago. It’s a rich rendition of a familiar narrative.

    Reply
  45. How far to Bethlehem by Norah Lofts is the book I reread at Christmas every year. She retells the Nativity story with freshness, giving the points of view and back stories of the characters and interweaving them until they all converge at a small town in a Roman province 2 000 years ago. It’s a rich rendition of a familiar narrative.

    Reply
  46. I haven’t read any Christmas stories lately but when the urge arises …. usually sometime after Christmas dinner, I tend to dig out my Mary Balogh stories. Three favs are:
    Christmas Belle
    Snow Angels
    A Christmas Bride

    Reply
  47. I haven’t read any Christmas stories lately but when the urge arises …. usually sometime after Christmas dinner, I tend to dig out my Mary Balogh stories. Three favs are:
    Christmas Belle
    Snow Angels
    A Christmas Bride

    Reply
  48. I haven’t read any Christmas stories lately but when the urge arises …. usually sometime after Christmas dinner, I tend to dig out my Mary Balogh stories. Three favs are:
    Christmas Belle
    Snow Angels
    A Christmas Bride

    Reply
  49. I haven’t read any Christmas stories lately but when the urge arises …. usually sometime after Christmas dinner, I tend to dig out my Mary Balogh stories. Three favs are:
    Christmas Belle
    Snow Angels
    A Christmas Bride

    Reply
  50. I haven’t read any Christmas stories lately but when the urge arises …. usually sometime after Christmas dinner, I tend to dig out my Mary Balogh stories. Three favs are:
    Christmas Belle
    Snow Angels
    A Christmas Bride

    Reply
  51. I have read a few holiday themed stories lately ~
    — The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    — read and enjoyed A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews. I’d heard some good reviews of this author’s books and would happily read others by her.
    — enjoyed Reindeer Games by N.R. Walker which was a short male/male romance.
    — stayed up late finishing Christmas Hope by Caroline Warfield which I purchased after reading a wonderful review on the Dear Author site. It’s a historical romance set during WWI and takes place mostly in France. I recommend it.

    Reply
  52. I have read a few holiday themed stories lately ~
    — The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    — read and enjoyed A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews. I’d heard some good reviews of this author’s books and would happily read others by her.
    — enjoyed Reindeer Games by N.R. Walker which was a short male/male romance.
    — stayed up late finishing Christmas Hope by Caroline Warfield which I purchased after reading a wonderful review on the Dear Author site. It’s a historical romance set during WWI and takes place mostly in France. I recommend it.

    Reply
  53. I have read a few holiday themed stories lately ~
    — The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    — read and enjoyed A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews. I’d heard some good reviews of this author’s books and would happily read others by her.
    — enjoyed Reindeer Games by N.R. Walker which was a short male/male romance.
    — stayed up late finishing Christmas Hope by Caroline Warfield which I purchased after reading a wonderful review on the Dear Author site. It’s a historical romance set during WWI and takes place mostly in France. I recommend it.

    Reply
  54. I have read a few holiday themed stories lately ~
    — The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    — read and enjoyed A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews. I’d heard some good reviews of this author’s books and would happily read others by her.
    — enjoyed Reindeer Games by N.R. Walker which was a short male/male romance.
    — stayed up late finishing Christmas Hope by Caroline Warfield which I purchased after reading a wonderful review on the Dear Author site. It’s a historical romance set during WWI and takes place mostly in France. I recommend it.

    Reply
  55. I have read a few holiday themed stories lately ~
    — The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    — read and enjoyed A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews. I’d heard some good reviews of this author’s books and would happily read others by her.
    — enjoyed Reindeer Games by N.R. Walker which was a short male/male romance.
    — stayed up late finishing Christmas Hope by Caroline Warfield which I purchased after reading a wonderful review on the Dear Author site. It’s a historical romance set during WWI and takes place mostly in France. I recommend it.

    Reply
  56. I’ve had Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas on my wish list forever but with this many recommendations I really need to bump it up to the Buy list. Unfortunately I have to wait until the 25th to see if anyone got it for me for Christmas!
    My main go to at Christmas is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher as read by Lisa Burgett. I just love the immersive experience of listening to it.
    Fortunately for me, I don’t have a hangup about having to wait to read Christmas books at Christmas so when they appear in my reading que, I allow myself to read them.

    Reply
  57. I’ve had Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas on my wish list forever but with this many recommendations I really need to bump it up to the Buy list. Unfortunately I have to wait until the 25th to see if anyone got it for me for Christmas!
    My main go to at Christmas is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher as read by Lisa Burgett. I just love the immersive experience of listening to it.
    Fortunately for me, I don’t have a hangup about having to wait to read Christmas books at Christmas so when they appear in my reading que, I allow myself to read them.

    Reply
  58. I’ve had Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas on my wish list forever but with this many recommendations I really need to bump it up to the Buy list. Unfortunately I have to wait until the 25th to see if anyone got it for me for Christmas!
    My main go to at Christmas is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher as read by Lisa Burgett. I just love the immersive experience of listening to it.
    Fortunately for me, I don’t have a hangup about having to wait to read Christmas books at Christmas so when they appear in my reading que, I allow myself to read them.

    Reply
  59. I’ve had Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas on my wish list forever but with this many recommendations I really need to bump it up to the Buy list. Unfortunately I have to wait until the 25th to see if anyone got it for me for Christmas!
    My main go to at Christmas is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher as read by Lisa Burgett. I just love the immersive experience of listening to it.
    Fortunately for me, I don’t have a hangup about having to wait to read Christmas books at Christmas so when they appear in my reading que, I allow myself to read them.

    Reply
  60. I’ve had Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas on my wish list forever but with this many recommendations I really need to bump it up to the Buy list. Unfortunately I have to wait until the 25th to see if anyone got it for me for Christmas!
    My main go to at Christmas is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher as read by Lisa Burgett. I just love the immersive experience of listening to it.
    Fortunately for me, I don’t have a hangup about having to wait to read Christmas books at Christmas so when they appear in my reading que, I allow myself to read them.

    Reply
  61. I have a book I bought many years ago called A Time-Travel Christmas. There are four stories in the book. My favorite is The Ghost of Christmas Past by Eugenia Riley. I tend to read it every year as a tradition now for me.
    Also It Happened One Christmas. Another anthology containing three stories. I won an autographed copy of this one year. These books just get me into the spirit of Christmas.
    I only recently read The Cockermouth Mail having seen it on this site as someone’s read and I loved it!!
    Have added Christmas Hope to my TBR. Sounds lovely.

    Reply
  62. I have a book I bought many years ago called A Time-Travel Christmas. There are four stories in the book. My favorite is The Ghost of Christmas Past by Eugenia Riley. I tend to read it every year as a tradition now for me.
    Also It Happened One Christmas. Another anthology containing three stories. I won an autographed copy of this one year. These books just get me into the spirit of Christmas.
    I only recently read The Cockermouth Mail having seen it on this site as someone’s read and I loved it!!
    Have added Christmas Hope to my TBR. Sounds lovely.

    Reply
  63. I have a book I bought many years ago called A Time-Travel Christmas. There are four stories in the book. My favorite is The Ghost of Christmas Past by Eugenia Riley. I tend to read it every year as a tradition now for me.
    Also It Happened One Christmas. Another anthology containing three stories. I won an autographed copy of this one year. These books just get me into the spirit of Christmas.
    I only recently read The Cockermouth Mail having seen it on this site as someone’s read and I loved it!!
    Have added Christmas Hope to my TBR. Sounds lovely.

    Reply
  64. I have a book I bought many years ago called A Time-Travel Christmas. There are four stories in the book. My favorite is The Ghost of Christmas Past by Eugenia Riley. I tend to read it every year as a tradition now for me.
    Also It Happened One Christmas. Another anthology containing three stories. I won an autographed copy of this one year. These books just get me into the spirit of Christmas.
    I only recently read The Cockermouth Mail having seen it on this site as someone’s read and I loved it!!
    Have added Christmas Hope to my TBR. Sounds lovely.

    Reply
  65. I have a book I bought many years ago called A Time-Travel Christmas. There are four stories in the book. My favorite is The Ghost of Christmas Past by Eugenia Riley. I tend to read it every year as a tradition now for me.
    Also It Happened One Christmas. Another anthology containing three stories. I won an autographed copy of this one year. These books just get me into the spirit of Christmas.
    I only recently read The Cockermouth Mail having seen it on this site as someone’s read and I loved it!!
    Have added Christmas Hope to my TBR. Sounds lovely.

    Reply
  66. I will be travelling with limited space for my things so books are limited. I am taking some novella collections with me to read on the plane and in the evening after the rest of the family go to sleep – I am a night owl. (my sister’s taste in books varies from mine so I may not find anything I like at her house)
    I read Royal Holiday and liked it very much as I also liked Guillory’s other books. I have Twelve days of Christmas, but have not yet started it and if I have room in by suitcase it will come with me since all of you have spoken so highly of it. I re-read some of the short Christmas stories that I grew up with by various authors and those are always fun to read again every decade or so.
    Happy Holidays to all, Happy new year celebration too.

    Reply
  67. I will be travelling with limited space for my things so books are limited. I am taking some novella collections with me to read on the plane and in the evening after the rest of the family go to sleep – I am a night owl. (my sister’s taste in books varies from mine so I may not find anything I like at her house)
    I read Royal Holiday and liked it very much as I also liked Guillory’s other books. I have Twelve days of Christmas, but have not yet started it and if I have room in by suitcase it will come with me since all of you have spoken so highly of it. I re-read some of the short Christmas stories that I grew up with by various authors and those are always fun to read again every decade or so.
    Happy Holidays to all, Happy new year celebration too.

    Reply
  68. I will be travelling with limited space for my things so books are limited. I am taking some novella collections with me to read on the plane and in the evening after the rest of the family go to sleep – I am a night owl. (my sister’s taste in books varies from mine so I may not find anything I like at her house)
    I read Royal Holiday and liked it very much as I also liked Guillory’s other books. I have Twelve days of Christmas, but have not yet started it and if I have room in by suitcase it will come with me since all of you have spoken so highly of it. I re-read some of the short Christmas stories that I grew up with by various authors and those are always fun to read again every decade or so.
    Happy Holidays to all, Happy new year celebration too.

    Reply
  69. I will be travelling with limited space for my things so books are limited. I am taking some novella collections with me to read on the plane and in the evening after the rest of the family go to sleep – I am a night owl. (my sister’s taste in books varies from mine so I may not find anything I like at her house)
    I read Royal Holiday and liked it very much as I also liked Guillory’s other books. I have Twelve days of Christmas, but have not yet started it and if I have room in by suitcase it will come with me since all of you have spoken so highly of it. I re-read some of the short Christmas stories that I grew up with by various authors and those are always fun to read again every decade or so.
    Happy Holidays to all, Happy new year celebration too.

    Reply
  70. I will be travelling with limited space for my things so books are limited. I am taking some novella collections with me to read on the plane and in the evening after the rest of the family go to sleep – I am a night owl. (my sister’s taste in books varies from mine so I may not find anything I like at her house)
    I read Royal Holiday and liked it very much as I also liked Guillory’s other books. I have Twelve days of Christmas, but have not yet started it and if I have room in by suitcase it will come with me since all of you have spoken so highly of it. I re-read some of the short Christmas stories that I grew up with by various authors and those are always fun to read again every decade or so.
    Happy Holidays to all, Happy new year celebration too.

    Reply
  71. I loved “The Cockermouth Mail”! It set me off on a search for other Dinah Dean books, which is how I learned about her wonderful series set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Sometimes for Christmas I like a totally relaxing angst-free story, and that means Betty Neels “A Christmas Romance”.
    Some of my Christmas novella favorites are “The Scandal Before Christmas” by Elizabeth Essex, and Anna Campbell has a bunch of good Christmas novellas; my favorite is “Her Christmas Earl”.
    I’ve also reread Mary Jo’s “Christmas Angel” several times, regardless of the season!

    Reply
  72. I loved “The Cockermouth Mail”! It set me off on a search for other Dinah Dean books, which is how I learned about her wonderful series set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Sometimes for Christmas I like a totally relaxing angst-free story, and that means Betty Neels “A Christmas Romance”.
    Some of my Christmas novella favorites are “The Scandal Before Christmas” by Elizabeth Essex, and Anna Campbell has a bunch of good Christmas novellas; my favorite is “Her Christmas Earl”.
    I’ve also reread Mary Jo’s “Christmas Angel” several times, regardless of the season!

    Reply
  73. I loved “The Cockermouth Mail”! It set me off on a search for other Dinah Dean books, which is how I learned about her wonderful series set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Sometimes for Christmas I like a totally relaxing angst-free story, and that means Betty Neels “A Christmas Romance”.
    Some of my Christmas novella favorites are “The Scandal Before Christmas” by Elizabeth Essex, and Anna Campbell has a bunch of good Christmas novellas; my favorite is “Her Christmas Earl”.
    I’ve also reread Mary Jo’s “Christmas Angel” several times, regardless of the season!

    Reply
  74. I loved “The Cockermouth Mail”! It set me off on a search for other Dinah Dean books, which is how I learned about her wonderful series set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Sometimes for Christmas I like a totally relaxing angst-free story, and that means Betty Neels “A Christmas Romance”.
    Some of my Christmas novella favorites are “The Scandal Before Christmas” by Elizabeth Essex, and Anna Campbell has a bunch of good Christmas novellas; my favorite is “Her Christmas Earl”.
    I’ve also reread Mary Jo’s “Christmas Angel” several times, regardless of the season!

    Reply
  75. I loved “The Cockermouth Mail”! It set me off on a search for other Dinah Dean books, which is how I learned about her wonderful series set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.
    Sometimes for Christmas I like a totally relaxing angst-free story, and that means Betty Neels “A Christmas Romance”.
    Some of my Christmas novella favorites are “The Scandal Before Christmas” by Elizabeth Essex, and Anna Campbell has a bunch of good Christmas novellas; my favorite is “Her Christmas Earl”.
    I’ve also reread Mary Jo’s “Christmas Angel” several times, regardless of the season!

    Reply

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