The Romance of Christmas

Cbk2006'Tis the season, and though Charlie and Billy aren't yet in their Christmas clothes this year, I found myself thinking about the appeal of Christmas romances. I hope you don't groan that it's too early, but they're already hitting the bestseller lists. No other genre creates as many Christmas themed stories. That's my observation, at least. Am I wrong? I think it's because Christmas and romance are so in tune.

I'm not talking about the religious festival, but the social celebration, which is often shared by non-Christians and atheists. It's not an unsullied celebration. Some of us aren't happy with the commercialism, and the whole business of sending cards and buying presents can become a burden. Often on the women of the family, yes? The family gatherings can highlight stresses and open old wounds, or at the least oblige people to behave well around people they don't like. I don't think that's a bad thing. It's the sort of behaviour that keeps the world together. Cardpagkageboy

It's a peak time for suicide, however, especially for the outcasts and lonely, for whom the hype about happy families becomes unbearable. 

However, for many of us it is an uplifting time, and romances seem to fit with it.


I suspect that historical romances set at Christmas are particularly popular because even if today's Christmas isn't ideal for the reader she can enjoy them in the misty past.

They generally contain many of the elements of the "ideal Christmas." There's usually a party of some kind, nearly always a gathering of family, and a large one at that. The healing of old wounds is a common theme, often so that family becomes closer. Naturally there are gifts, which can often be symbolic, or even metaphors. As best I can tell, gift giving wasn't a large part of a Regency Christmas, but we modern writers rarely resist the need to put it in. 

Very often the stories are set in the countryside even if the characters aren't country-based. I'm trying to think of a Christmas historical romance set in a town or city. There have to be some. Well, there's A Gift of Light, mentioned above, but that was part of the contrarian content. Forbidden Magic is mostly set in London, but it's not really a Christmas story. To me there's a difference between that and set at Christmas. 

The last common element that comes to mind is a perhaps unconscious reach to those who are lonely at Christmas — bringing someone who's isolated into the ideal Christmas warmth. Cinderella fits in here.

So we have family, healing, gifts, countryside, and inclusion.

XmasgirlbirdWhen I look at my own Christmas stories, Christmas Angel involves healing the breech in the hero's family and ends in the country. The Wise Virgin involves settling an old family feud. However, typically, I have contrarian ones. A Gift of Light involves two lonely people in the city and ends with a quiet celebration, and A Mummers' Play deals with pain and revenge and ends on a slightly bittersweet tone.

Christmas stories are ideal for novellas, especially historical ones, because they naturally stretch over a short period — Christmastide, which goes from Christmas Eve to Twelfth Night. In the past, Twelfth Night was often the grand celebration, which can bring a story to a great end. Firstchristmascard

Because the time period is short, re-union stories are common. That comes under healing. It's easier to bring two old lovers together and sort them out in 12 days than to get them from meet to marriage — though I've done it, not infrequently, in and out of Christmas.

(That's the first Christmas card, and it's all about family and charity. Does charity to the poor pay a big part in Christmas historical romance?)

What do you think of my key elements? Have I missed any?

For a final thought, what stories don't we get in Christmas historical romance?

1. Murder and suspense. Can you think of any examples? There are genre mysteries with a Christmas theme, and some Christmasy novels have suspense, but I can't think of a romance novella with one. Wouldn't it be discordant?

However, I don't think we get some classic romance plots set at Christmas either.

2. Arranged Marriage. This is less obvious, but I think it's a strong storyline on its own, so adding Christmas would be excessive. Some of you will immediately think, Hold on. Christmas Angel! You're right, but despite the title, it's not truly a Christmas story. I could have set it at another time of year without losing much.  CAsm

3. Governess. You know — lady turns up to be governess and ends up married. Again, a strong storyline that doesn't need another one, though perhaps she could heal the whole family at Christmas. Anyone remember examples of that?

4. Guardian-ward. Again, a powerful storyline where Christmas would be incidental, but I bet someone's done it.

Can you think of any other classic romance plots that are rare in Christmas stories?

So there you have it. My rather off-the-cuff thoughts about Christmas themes. Expand upon it for me. 

And if you've not yet enjoyed the Wenches' Christmas Anthology, Mischief and Mistletoe, it's out again now in a specially-priced paperback. Mismist

I'll give a prize to one commenter.

FinalpsamEither a copy of Forbidden Magic or my e-book Christmas collection, Mistletoe Kisses and Yuletide Joy.

Hope you're not already snowed under, literally or not.

Jo

 

 

 

165 thoughts on “The Romance of Christmas”

  1. Mischief and Mistletoe is how I found your blog. I just loved it!
    It’s set at Christmas in London, but it is not a Christmas story: Grace Burrowes The Heir. And it captures that I don’t get into Christmas theme with the appropriate redemption.
    The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas by Lauren Willig is a Christmas story, with Christmas pudding as main character, and even a dash of suspense. The suspense never gets intense because Willig creates one of the most loveable beta heroes ever–Turnip. And it’s a homage to Jane Austen.
    As for weather, it’s supposed to be 70 next Tuesday! After being in the teens! Rejoice!

    Reply
  2. Mischief and Mistletoe is how I found your blog. I just loved it!
    It’s set at Christmas in London, but it is not a Christmas story: Grace Burrowes The Heir. And it captures that I don’t get into Christmas theme with the appropriate redemption.
    The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas by Lauren Willig is a Christmas story, with Christmas pudding as main character, and even a dash of suspense. The suspense never gets intense because Willig creates one of the most loveable beta heroes ever–Turnip. And it’s a homage to Jane Austen.
    As for weather, it’s supposed to be 70 next Tuesday! After being in the teens! Rejoice!

    Reply
  3. Mischief and Mistletoe is how I found your blog. I just loved it!
    It’s set at Christmas in London, but it is not a Christmas story: Grace Burrowes The Heir. And it captures that I don’t get into Christmas theme with the appropriate redemption.
    The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas by Lauren Willig is a Christmas story, with Christmas pudding as main character, and even a dash of suspense. The suspense never gets intense because Willig creates one of the most loveable beta heroes ever–Turnip. And it’s a homage to Jane Austen.
    As for weather, it’s supposed to be 70 next Tuesday! After being in the teens! Rejoice!

    Reply
  4. Mischief and Mistletoe is how I found your blog. I just loved it!
    It’s set at Christmas in London, but it is not a Christmas story: Grace Burrowes The Heir. And it captures that I don’t get into Christmas theme with the appropriate redemption.
    The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas by Lauren Willig is a Christmas story, with Christmas pudding as main character, and even a dash of suspense. The suspense never gets intense because Willig creates one of the most loveable beta heroes ever–Turnip. And it’s a homage to Jane Austen.
    As for weather, it’s supposed to be 70 next Tuesday! After being in the teens! Rejoice!

    Reply
  5. Mischief and Mistletoe is how I found your blog. I just loved it!
    It’s set at Christmas in London, but it is not a Christmas story: Grace Burrowes The Heir. And it captures that I don’t get into Christmas theme with the appropriate redemption.
    The Mischief of the Mistletoe: A Pink Carnation Christmas by Lauren Willig is a Christmas story, with Christmas pudding as main character, and even a dash of suspense. The suspense never gets intense because Willig creates one of the most loveable beta heroes ever–Turnip. And it’s a homage to Jane Austen.
    As for weather, it’s supposed to be 70 next Tuesday! After being in the teens! Rejoice!

    Reply
  6. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise, one of her old traditional regencies, is an arranged marriage story with lots of healing and forgiveness, but I can’t think of any others with that theme.

    Reply
  7. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise, one of her old traditional regencies, is an arranged marriage story with lots of healing and forgiveness, but I can’t think of any others with that theme.

    Reply
  8. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise, one of her old traditional regencies, is an arranged marriage story with lots of healing and forgiveness, but I can’t think of any others with that theme.

    Reply
  9. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise, one of her old traditional regencies, is an arranged marriage story with lots of healing and forgiveness, but I can’t think of any others with that theme.

    Reply
  10. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise, one of her old traditional regencies, is an arranged marriage story with lots of healing and forgiveness, but I can’t think of any others with that theme.

    Reply
  11. You could almost include “Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella” by Deanna Raybourn in this list because it combines historical fiction, an ongoing romantic relationship (series) between the protagonists, and mystery.
    As for one of the frequently seen plot devices in holiday romances, what about the stand-in wife/husband/fiancee/fiance? It falls into the mix of the ‘healing family relationshps (through deceit)” category!

    Reply
  12. You could almost include “Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella” by Deanna Raybourn in this list because it combines historical fiction, an ongoing romantic relationship (series) between the protagonists, and mystery.
    As for one of the frequently seen plot devices in holiday romances, what about the stand-in wife/husband/fiancee/fiance? It falls into the mix of the ‘healing family relationshps (through deceit)” category!

    Reply
  13. You could almost include “Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella” by Deanna Raybourn in this list because it combines historical fiction, an ongoing romantic relationship (series) between the protagonists, and mystery.
    As for one of the frequently seen plot devices in holiday romances, what about the stand-in wife/husband/fiancee/fiance? It falls into the mix of the ‘healing family relationshps (through deceit)” category!

    Reply
  14. You could almost include “Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella” by Deanna Raybourn in this list because it combines historical fiction, an ongoing romantic relationship (series) between the protagonists, and mystery.
    As for one of the frequently seen plot devices in holiday romances, what about the stand-in wife/husband/fiancee/fiance? It falls into the mix of the ‘healing family relationshps (through deceit)” category!

    Reply
  15. You could almost include “Silent Night: A Lady Julia Christmas Novella” by Deanna Raybourn in this list because it combines historical fiction, an ongoing romantic relationship (series) between the protagonists, and mystery.
    As for one of the frequently seen plot devices in holiday romances, what about the stand-in wife/husband/fiancee/fiance? It falls into the mix of the ‘healing family relationshps (through deceit)” category!

    Reply
  16. I have a book of Christmas murders, edited by Dorothy Sayers that I read every year. Now that I think of it many mystery writers use Christmas as a theme. Interesting that Yuletide lends itself to murder more than romance.

    Reply
  17. I have a book of Christmas murders, edited by Dorothy Sayers that I read every year. Now that I think of it many mystery writers use Christmas as a theme. Interesting that Yuletide lends itself to murder more than romance.

    Reply
  18. I have a book of Christmas murders, edited by Dorothy Sayers that I read every year. Now that I think of it many mystery writers use Christmas as a theme. Interesting that Yuletide lends itself to murder more than romance.

    Reply
  19. I have a book of Christmas murders, edited by Dorothy Sayers that I read every year. Now that I think of it many mystery writers use Christmas as a theme. Interesting that Yuletide lends itself to murder more than romance.

    Reply
  20. I have a book of Christmas murders, edited by Dorothy Sayers that I read every year. Now that I think of it many mystery writers use Christmas as a theme. Interesting that Yuletide lends itself to murder more than romance.

    Reply
  21. I would argue that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has many elements of an historical romance. In the end, the old miser learns to love mankind, especially his nephew and his clerk and their families.

    Reply
  22. I would argue that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has many elements of an historical romance. In the end, the old miser learns to love mankind, especially his nephew and his clerk and their families.

    Reply
  23. I would argue that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has many elements of an historical romance. In the end, the old miser learns to love mankind, especially his nephew and his clerk and their families.

    Reply
  24. I would argue that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has many elements of an historical romance. In the end, the old miser learns to love mankind, especially his nephew and his clerk and their families.

    Reply
  25. I would argue that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has many elements of an historical romance. In the end, the old miser learns to love mankind, especially his nephew and his clerk and their families.

    Reply
  26. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise is one of my favorite Christmas time stories. I also just finished Christmas in the Dukes Arms which was a novella collection situated around a coaching inn. There was mystery throughout the stories and a bad guy to catch in the end. In general I love the Christmas season so reading about it makes it even better. Especially when there is a HEA.

    Reply
  27. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise is one of my favorite Christmas time stories. I also just finished Christmas in the Dukes Arms which was a novella collection situated around a coaching inn. There was mystery throughout the stories and a bad guy to catch in the end. In general I love the Christmas season so reading about it makes it even better. Especially when there is a HEA.

    Reply
  28. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise is one of my favorite Christmas time stories. I also just finished Christmas in the Dukes Arms which was a novella collection situated around a coaching inn. There was mystery throughout the stories and a bad guy to catch in the end. In general I love the Christmas season so reading about it makes it even better. Especially when there is a HEA.

    Reply
  29. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise is one of my favorite Christmas time stories. I also just finished Christmas in the Dukes Arms which was a novella collection situated around a coaching inn. There was mystery throughout the stories and a bad guy to catch in the end. In general I love the Christmas season so reading about it makes it even better. Especially when there is a HEA.

    Reply
  30. Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise is one of my favorite Christmas time stories. I also just finished Christmas in the Dukes Arms which was a novella collection situated around a coaching inn. There was mystery throughout the stories and a bad guy to catch in the end. In general I love the Christmas season so reading about it makes it even better. Especially when there is a HEA.

    Reply
  31. I don’t remember coming across the stand in, Robin. I wonder if that’s more common in contemporaries. In historicals, mostly people knew who was who. It would be much harder to slip in a ringer!

    Reply
  32. I don’t remember coming across the stand in, Robin. I wonder if that’s more common in contemporaries. In historicals, mostly people knew who was who. It would be much harder to slip in a ringer!

    Reply
  33. I don’t remember coming across the stand in, Robin. I wonder if that’s more common in contemporaries. In historicals, mostly people knew who was who. It would be much harder to slip in a ringer!

    Reply
  34. I don’t remember coming across the stand in, Robin. I wonder if that’s more common in contemporaries. In historicals, mostly people knew who was who. It would be much harder to slip in a ringer!

    Reply
  35. I don’t remember coming across the stand in, Robin. I wonder if that’s more common in contemporaries. In historicals, mostly people knew who was who. It would be much harder to slip in a ringer!

    Reply
  36. I’m not sure there are more of them, Dory, but I think it’s the contrast/conflict that makes Christmas mysteries work. In the season of joy, we have anger and misery under the surface.

    Reply
  37. I’m not sure there are more of them, Dory, but I think it’s the contrast/conflict that makes Christmas mysteries work. In the season of joy, we have anger and misery under the surface.

    Reply
  38. I’m not sure there are more of them, Dory, but I think it’s the contrast/conflict that makes Christmas mysteries work. In the season of joy, we have anger and misery under the surface.

    Reply
  39. I’m not sure there are more of them, Dory, but I think it’s the contrast/conflict that makes Christmas mysteries work. In the season of joy, we have anger and misery under the surface.

    Reply
  40. I’m not sure there are more of them, Dory, but I think it’s the contrast/conflict that makes Christmas mysteries work. In the season of joy, we have anger and misery under the surface.

    Reply
  41. Yes, I think A Christmas Carol is the first Christmas fiction, and it does have many of the elements.
    It was part of a Christmas revival movement, because during the Regency and for a while later the old traditions were seen as pagan. The “bring back Christmas” people argued that it was a time for healing rifts and strengthening the community.

    Reply
  42. Yes, I think A Christmas Carol is the first Christmas fiction, and it does have many of the elements.
    It was part of a Christmas revival movement, because during the Regency and for a while later the old traditions were seen as pagan. The “bring back Christmas” people argued that it was a time for healing rifts and strengthening the community.

    Reply
  43. Yes, I think A Christmas Carol is the first Christmas fiction, and it does have many of the elements.
    It was part of a Christmas revival movement, because during the Regency and for a while later the old traditions were seen as pagan. The “bring back Christmas” people argued that it was a time for healing rifts and strengthening the community.

    Reply
  44. Yes, I think A Christmas Carol is the first Christmas fiction, and it does have many of the elements.
    It was part of a Christmas revival movement, because during the Regency and for a while later the old traditions were seen as pagan. The “bring back Christmas” people argued that it was a time for healing rifts and strengthening the community.

    Reply
  45. Yes, I think A Christmas Carol is the first Christmas fiction, and it does have many of the elements.
    It was part of a Christmas revival movement, because during the Regency and for a while later the old traditions were seen as pagan. The “bring back Christmas” people argued that it was a time for healing rifts and strengthening the community.

    Reply
  46. My mind is going. I just picked up The Heir and it opens in summer, hot summer. Now I have no idea of the book’s title. It’s about a lord who hides out in his house in London and meets a lady on a cold night. He hates Christmas, and for her it’s about family that she no longer has. There’s a subplot involving a tomcat and a kitty in distress. With that, I’ll urge those of you who do have your wits about you, keep them close so they don’t go astray.

    Reply
  47. My mind is going. I just picked up The Heir and it opens in summer, hot summer. Now I have no idea of the book’s title. It’s about a lord who hides out in his house in London and meets a lady on a cold night. He hates Christmas, and for her it’s about family that she no longer has. There’s a subplot involving a tomcat and a kitty in distress. With that, I’ll urge those of you who do have your wits about you, keep them close so they don’t go astray.

    Reply
  48. My mind is going. I just picked up The Heir and it opens in summer, hot summer. Now I have no idea of the book’s title. It’s about a lord who hides out in his house in London and meets a lady on a cold night. He hates Christmas, and for her it’s about family that she no longer has. There’s a subplot involving a tomcat and a kitty in distress. With that, I’ll urge those of you who do have your wits about you, keep them close so they don’t go astray.

    Reply
  49. My mind is going. I just picked up The Heir and it opens in summer, hot summer. Now I have no idea of the book’s title. It’s about a lord who hides out in his house in London and meets a lady on a cold night. He hates Christmas, and for her it’s about family that she no longer has. There’s a subplot involving a tomcat and a kitty in distress. With that, I’ll urge those of you who do have your wits about you, keep them close so they don’t go astray.

    Reply
  50. My mind is going. I just picked up The Heir and it opens in summer, hot summer. Now I have no idea of the book’s title. It’s about a lord who hides out in his house in London and meets a lady on a cold night. He hates Christmas, and for her it’s about family that she no longer has. There’s a subplot involving a tomcat and a kitty in distress. With that, I’ll urge those of you who do have your wits about you, keep them close so they don’t go astray.

    Reply
  51. LOL, Shannon! That’s my novella in The Christmas Cat. My story is A Gift of Light, mentioned above. It’s one of the novellas in the Mistletoe Kisses boxed set.

    Reply
  52. LOL, Shannon! That’s my novella in The Christmas Cat. My story is A Gift of Light, mentioned above. It’s one of the novellas in the Mistletoe Kisses boxed set.

    Reply
  53. LOL, Shannon! That’s my novella in The Christmas Cat. My story is A Gift of Light, mentioned above. It’s one of the novellas in the Mistletoe Kisses boxed set.

    Reply
  54. LOL, Shannon! That’s my novella in The Christmas Cat. My story is A Gift of Light, mentioned above. It’s one of the novellas in the Mistletoe Kisses boxed set.

    Reply
  55. LOL, Shannon! That’s my novella in The Christmas Cat. My story is A Gift of Light, mentioned above. It’s one of the novellas in the Mistletoe Kisses boxed set.

    Reply
  56. Interestingly enough, I just read a book by Grace Burrowes where again, Christmas is an important element. Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. The theme of it is family reconciliation/healing for the hero as well as being strong enough to fight for what you want (Heroine) with a dash of family reconciliation/healing. Actually 3 of the books in that series of 5 are centered on Christmas.
    I have run across the stand-in fiancé a time or two in historical fiction. In fact, just this week in Nicola Cornick’s One Night of Scandal. The Heroine claimed to have a fiancé but didn’t so had to scrounge a fake one up.
    Another Christmas story that I recall is A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. A very short time because all is resolved by Christmas Eve but a good book.
    Interesting….the more I think about Christmas in historical romance it assumes the role of a minor character or a major component of the story as a whole.

    Reply
  57. Interestingly enough, I just read a book by Grace Burrowes where again, Christmas is an important element. Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. The theme of it is family reconciliation/healing for the hero as well as being strong enough to fight for what you want (Heroine) with a dash of family reconciliation/healing. Actually 3 of the books in that series of 5 are centered on Christmas.
    I have run across the stand-in fiancé a time or two in historical fiction. In fact, just this week in Nicola Cornick’s One Night of Scandal. The Heroine claimed to have a fiancé but didn’t so had to scrounge a fake one up.
    Another Christmas story that I recall is A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. A very short time because all is resolved by Christmas Eve but a good book.
    Interesting….the more I think about Christmas in historical romance it assumes the role of a minor character or a major component of the story as a whole.

    Reply
  58. Interestingly enough, I just read a book by Grace Burrowes where again, Christmas is an important element. Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. The theme of it is family reconciliation/healing for the hero as well as being strong enough to fight for what you want (Heroine) with a dash of family reconciliation/healing. Actually 3 of the books in that series of 5 are centered on Christmas.
    I have run across the stand-in fiancé a time or two in historical fiction. In fact, just this week in Nicola Cornick’s One Night of Scandal. The Heroine claimed to have a fiancé but didn’t so had to scrounge a fake one up.
    Another Christmas story that I recall is A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. A very short time because all is resolved by Christmas Eve but a good book.
    Interesting….the more I think about Christmas in historical romance it assumes the role of a minor character or a major component of the story as a whole.

    Reply
  59. Interestingly enough, I just read a book by Grace Burrowes where again, Christmas is an important element. Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. The theme of it is family reconciliation/healing for the hero as well as being strong enough to fight for what you want (Heroine) with a dash of family reconciliation/healing. Actually 3 of the books in that series of 5 are centered on Christmas.
    I have run across the stand-in fiancé a time or two in historical fiction. In fact, just this week in Nicola Cornick’s One Night of Scandal. The Heroine claimed to have a fiancé but didn’t so had to scrounge a fake one up.
    Another Christmas story that I recall is A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. A very short time because all is resolved by Christmas Eve but a good book.
    Interesting….the more I think about Christmas in historical romance it assumes the role of a minor character or a major component of the story as a whole.

    Reply
  60. Interestingly enough, I just read a book by Grace Burrowes where again, Christmas is an important element. Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. The theme of it is family reconciliation/healing for the hero as well as being strong enough to fight for what you want (Heroine) with a dash of family reconciliation/healing. Actually 3 of the books in that series of 5 are centered on Christmas.
    I have run across the stand-in fiancé a time or two in historical fiction. In fact, just this week in Nicola Cornick’s One Night of Scandal. The Heroine claimed to have a fiancé but didn’t so had to scrounge a fake one up.
    Another Christmas story that I recall is A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. A very short time because all is resolved by Christmas Eve but a good book.
    Interesting….the more I think about Christmas in historical romance it assumes the role of a minor character or a major component of the story as a whole.

    Reply
  61. Oh, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.by Lauren Willig. I love this book.It’s become my Christmas must read ( even my Mum, that well known romance hating “give me my mafia/serial killer/world war 2 novel!!) LOVED it. It’s got it all. Turnip Fitzhugh(NOT a beta hero, but a Chap ), exploding Christmas puddings, a fantastic down to earth teacher heroine, dastardly Froggie spies, & a trio of school girls who know just HOW to create havoc. And Jane Austen in a brilliant supporting role. This book has it all..& it’s so much fun too.
    As it’s Stir Up Sunday tomorrow, & as my dried fruit has been soaking in booze for the last week, & as you chaps have inspired me .. as usual. I shall be pulling my copy off the shelf to read tomorrow, after I’ve made my Christmas Puds . Merry Christmas ! 🙂

    Reply
  62. Oh, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.by Lauren Willig. I love this book.It’s become my Christmas must read ( even my Mum, that well known romance hating “give me my mafia/serial killer/world war 2 novel!!) LOVED it. It’s got it all. Turnip Fitzhugh(NOT a beta hero, but a Chap ), exploding Christmas puddings, a fantastic down to earth teacher heroine, dastardly Froggie spies, & a trio of school girls who know just HOW to create havoc. And Jane Austen in a brilliant supporting role. This book has it all..& it’s so much fun too.
    As it’s Stir Up Sunday tomorrow, & as my dried fruit has been soaking in booze for the last week, & as you chaps have inspired me .. as usual. I shall be pulling my copy off the shelf to read tomorrow, after I’ve made my Christmas Puds . Merry Christmas ! 🙂

    Reply
  63. Oh, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.by Lauren Willig. I love this book.It’s become my Christmas must read ( even my Mum, that well known romance hating “give me my mafia/serial killer/world war 2 novel!!) LOVED it. It’s got it all. Turnip Fitzhugh(NOT a beta hero, but a Chap ), exploding Christmas puddings, a fantastic down to earth teacher heroine, dastardly Froggie spies, & a trio of school girls who know just HOW to create havoc. And Jane Austen in a brilliant supporting role. This book has it all..& it’s so much fun too.
    As it’s Stir Up Sunday tomorrow, & as my dried fruit has been soaking in booze for the last week, & as you chaps have inspired me .. as usual. I shall be pulling my copy off the shelf to read tomorrow, after I’ve made my Christmas Puds . Merry Christmas ! 🙂

    Reply
  64. Oh, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.by Lauren Willig. I love this book.It’s become my Christmas must read ( even my Mum, that well known romance hating “give me my mafia/serial killer/world war 2 novel!!) LOVED it. It’s got it all. Turnip Fitzhugh(NOT a beta hero, but a Chap ), exploding Christmas puddings, a fantastic down to earth teacher heroine, dastardly Froggie spies, & a trio of school girls who know just HOW to create havoc. And Jane Austen in a brilliant supporting role. This book has it all..& it’s so much fun too.
    As it’s Stir Up Sunday tomorrow, & as my dried fruit has been soaking in booze for the last week, & as you chaps have inspired me .. as usual. I shall be pulling my copy off the shelf to read tomorrow, after I’ve made my Christmas Puds . Merry Christmas ! 🙂

    Reply
  65. Oh, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.by Lauren Willig. I love this book.It’s become my Christmas must read ( even my Mum, that well known romance hating “give me my mafia/serial killer/world war 2 novel!!) LOVED it. It’s got it all. Turnip Fitzhugh(NOT a beta hero, but a Chap ), exploding Christmas puddings, a fantastic down to earth teacher heroine, dastardly Froggie spies, & a trio of school girls who know just HOW to create havoc. And Jane Austen in a brilliant supporting role. This book has it all..& it’s so much fun too.
    As it’s Stir Up Sunday tomorrow, & as my dried fruit has been soaking in booze for the last week, & as you chaps have inspired me .. as usual. I shall be pulling my copy off the shelf to read tomorrow, after I’ve made my Christmas Puds . Merry Christmas ! 🙂

    Reply
  66. I think when you put “Christmas” in the title, you’re letting the reader know they are not going to be tortured with angst. I can’t recall any Christmas stories with women who were abused, or heroes who are suffering from the aftermath of war, either physically or mentally.
    I am very fond of “Christmas Angel”. I also enjoyed “His Mistletoe Bride” by Vanessa Kelly. It has a very realistic conflict that occurs when a pacifist Quaker heroine marries an ex-military man. I don’t think I’ve seen that done very often.
    And I just read my first Christmas novella of this season, “Her Christmas Earl” by Anna Campbell. It’s got the compromised heroine plot(her and the hero must marry or she’ll be ruined) which is strong enough to stand on its own. It’s a great feel-good story, but could have been set at any time of the year.

    Reply
  67. I think when you put “Christmas” in the title, you’re letting the reader know they are not going to be tortured with angst. I can’t recall any Christmas stories with women who were abused, or heroes who are suffering from the aftermath of war, either physically or mentally.
    I am very fond of “Christmas Angel”. I also enjoyed “His Mistletoe Bride” by Vanessa Kelly. It has a very realistic conflict that occurs when a pacifist Quaker heroine marries an ex-military man. I don’t think I’ve seen that done very often.
    And I just read my first Christmas novella of this season, “Her Christmas Earl” by Anna Campbell. It’s got the compromised heroine plot(her and the hero must marry or she’ll be ruined) which is strong enough to stand on its own. It’s a great feel-good story, but could have been set at any time of the year.

    Reply
  68. I think when you put “Christmas” in the title, you’re letting the reader know they are not going to be tortured with angst. I can’t recall any Christmas stories with women who were abused, or heroes who are suffering from the aftermath of war, either physically or mentally.
    I am very fond of “Christmas Angel”. I also enjoyed “His Mistletoe Bride” by Vanessa Kelly. It has a very realistic conflict that occurs when a pacifist Quaker heroine marries an ex-military man. I don’t think I’ve seen that done very often.
    And I just read my first Christmas novella of this season, “Her Christmas Earl” by Anna Campbell. It’s got the compromised heroine plot(her and the hero must marry or she’ll be ruined) which is strong enough to stand on its own. It’s a great feel-good story, but could have been set at any time of the year.

    Reply
  69. I think when you put “Christmas” in the title, you’re letting the reader know they are not going to be tortured with angst. I can’t recall any Christmas stories with women who were abused, or heroes who are suffering from the aftermath of war, either physically or mentally.
    I am very fond of “Christmas Angel”. I also enjoyed “His Mistletoe Bride” by Vanessa Kelly. It has a very realistic conflict that occurs when a pacifist Quaker heroine marries an ex-military man. I don’t think I’ve seen that done very often.
    And I just read my first Christmas novella of this season, “Her Christmas Earl” by Anna Campbell. It’s got the compromised heroine plot(her and the hero must marry or she’ll be ruined) which is strong enough to stand on its own. It’s a great feel-good story, but could have been set at any time of the year.

    Reply
  70. I think when you put “Christmas” in the title, you’re letting the reader know they are not going to be tortured with angst. I can’t recall any Christmas stories with women who were abused, or heroes who are suffering from the aftermath of war, either physically or mentally.
    I am very fond of “Christmas Angel”. I also enjoyed “His Mistletoe Bride” by Vanessa Kelly. It has a very realistic conflict that occurs when a pacifist Quaker heroine marries an ex-military man. I don’t think I’ve seen that done very often.
    And I just read my first Christmas novella of this season, “Her Christmas Earl” by Anna Campbell. It’s got the compromised heroine plot(her and the hero must marry or she’ll be ruined) which is strong enough to stand on its own. It’s a great feel-good story, but could have been set at any time of the year.

    Reply
  71. For the last couple days I’ve been trying to remember the title of a story in a Mary Balogh Christmas collection that almost fits category #3. I finally had to dig out the book itself, Under the Mistletoe, to find it.
    The story I was thinking of was called “The Best Gift” and the heroine is a teacher at a school for young ladies. She was an illegitimate daughter who was placed at the school as a child and remained as a teacher. The hero enlists her to accompany his niece who has been foisted on him for the holidays.
    However, when I found the book and looked at the titles, I realized that there was another story in the collection that featured a governess, “No Room at the Inn.” It is one of those stories where a group of people are stranded at an in by the weather (rain rather than snow in this case) and all unhappy in their circumstances.
    There is also an arranged marriage story that is a bit of a turnabout – the hero is the wealthy one who married a lady to please his dying father and the heroine is a lady whose obnoxious family (mother in particular) married her off for her husband’s money while looking down their noses at him.
    There don’t seem to be as many historical Christmas collections out this year, so I suppose I’ll be re-reading the old ones.

    Reply
  72. For the last couple days I’ve been trying to remember the title of a story in a Mary Balogh Christmas collection that almost fits category #3. I finally had to dig out the book itself, Under the Mistletoe, to find it.
    The story I was thinking of was called “The Best Gift” and the heroine is a teacher at a school for young ladies. She was an illegitimate daughter who was placed at the school as a child and remained as a teacher. The hero enlists her to accompany his niece who has been foisted on him for the holidays.
    However, when I found the book and looked at the titles, I realized that there was another story in the collection that featured a governess, “No Room at the Inn.” It is one of those stories where a group of people are stranded at an in by the weather (rain rather than snow in this case) and all unhappy in their circumstances.
    There is also an arranged marriage story that is a bit of a turnabout – the hero is the wealthy one who married a lady to please his dying father and the heroine is a lady whose obnoxious family (mother in particular) married her off for her husband’s money while looking down their noses at him.
    There don’t seem to be as many historical Christmas collections out this year, so I suppose I’ll be re-reading the old ones.

    Reply
  73. For the last couple days I’ve been trying to remember the title of a story in a Mary Balogh Christmas collection that almost fits category #3. I finally had to dig out the book itself, Under the Mistletoe, to find it.
    The story I was thinking of was called “The Best Gift” and the heroine is a teacher at a school for young ladies. She was an illegitimate daughter who was placed at the school as a child and remained as a teacher. The hero enlists her to accompany his niece who has been foisted on him for the holidays.
    However, when I found the book and looked at the titles, I realized that there was another story in the collection that featured a governess, “No Room at the Inn.” It is one of those stories where a group of people are stranded at an in by the weather (rain rather than snow in this case) and all unhappy in their circumstances.
    There is also an arranged marriage story that is a bit of a turnabout – the hero is the wealthy one who married a lady to please his dying father and the heroine is a lady whose obnoxious family (mother in particular) married her off for her husband’s money while looking down their noses at him.
    There don’t seem to be as many historical Christmas collections out this year, so I suppose I’ll be re-reading the old ones.

    Reply
  74. For the last couple days I’ve been trying to remember the title of a story in a Mary Balogh Christmas collection that almost fits category #3. I finally had to dig out the book itself, Under the Mistletoe, to find it.
    The story I was thinking of was called “The Best Gift” and the heroine is a teacher at a school for young ladies. She was an illegitimate daughter who was placed at the school as a child and remained as a teacher. The hero enlists her to accompany his niece who has been foisted on him for the holidays.
    However, when I found the book and looked at the titles, I realized that there was another story in the collection that featured a governess, “No Room at the Inn.” It is one of those stories where a group of people are stranded at an in by the weather (rain rather than snow in this case) and all unhappy in their circumstances.
    There is also an arranged marriage story that is a bit of a turnabout – the hero is the wealthy one who married a lady to please his dying father and the heroine is a lady whose obnoxious family (mother in particular) married her off for her husband’s money while looking down their noses at him.
    There don’t seem to be as many historical Christmas collections out this year, so I suppose I’ll be re-reading the old ones.

    Reply
  75. For the last couple days I’ve been trying to remember the title of a story in a Mary Balogh Christmas collection that almost fits category #3. I finally had to dig out the book itself, Under the Mistletoe, to find it.
    The story I was thinking of was called “The Best Gift” and the heroine is a teacher at a school for young ladies. She was an illegitimate daughter who was placed at the school as a child and remained as a teacher. The hero enlists her to accompany his niece who has been foisted on him for the holidays.
    However, when I found the book and looked at the titles, I realized that there was another story in the collection that featured a governess, “No Room at the Inn.” It is one of those stories where a group of people are stranded at an in by the weather (rain rather than snow in this case) and all unhappy in their circumstances.
    There is also an arranged marriage story that is a bit of a turnabout – the hero is the wealthy one who married a lady to please his dying father and the heroine is a lady whose obnoxious family (mother in particular) married her off for her husband’s money while looking down their noses at him.
    There don’t seem to be as many historical Christmas collections out this year, so I suppose I’ll be re-reading the old ones.

    Reply
  76. Romances understandably usually focus on the relationships between adults. Christmas however is a particularly magical time for children. The ways that children can catalyse romantic feelings and bring adults together; A lonely child writing to Santa requesting a new Dad for Xmas; A child born out of wedlock where the father secretly follows and assists development until some unforeseen event brings them all together at Christmas. The possibilities are endless and as complex as life itself.
    Perhaps the risk is that sentimentality will make a poor story, but I’m sure that the superb writers here can avoid that danger.
    Sharon refers to ‘The Best Gift’ which seems to come close to the sort of story that I’m looking for, and of course who else but Mary Balogh could write it! LOL

    Reply
  77. Romances understandably usually focus on the relationships between adults. Christmas however is a particularly magical time for children. The ways that children can catalyse romantic feelings and bring adults together; A lonely child writing to Santa requesting a new Dad for Xmas; A child born out of wedlock where the father secretly follows and assists development until some unforeseen event brings them all together at Christmas. The possibilities are endless and as complex as life itself.
    Perhaps the risk is that sentimentality will make a poor story, but I’m sure that the superb writers here can avoid that danger.
    Sharon refers to ‘The Best Gift’ which seems to come close to the sort of story that I’m looking for, and of course who else but Mary Balogh could write it! LOL

    Reply
  78. Romances understandably usually focus on the relationships between adults. Christmas however is a particularly magical time for children. The ways that children can catalyse romantic feelings and bring adults together; A lonely child writing to Santa requesting a new Dad for Xmas; A child born out of wedlock where the father secretly follows and assists development until some unforeseen event brings them all together at Christmas. The possibilities are endless and as complex as life itself.
    Perhaps the risk is that sentimentality will make a poor story, but I’m sure that the superb writers here can avoid that danger.
    Sharon refers to ‘The Best Gift’ which seems to come close to the sort of story that I’m looking for, and of course who else but Mary Balogh could write it! LOL

    Reply
  79. Romances understandably usually focus on the relationships between adults. Christmas however is a particularly magical time for children. The ways that children can catalyse romantic feelings and bring adults together; A lonely child writing to Santa requesting a new Dad for Xmas; A child born out of wedlock where the father secretly follows and assists development until some unforeseen event brings them all together at Christmas. The possibilities are endless and as complex as life itself.
    Perhaps the risk is that sentimentality will make a poor story, but I’m sure that the superb writers here can avoid that danger.
    Sharon refers to ‘The Best Gift’ which seems to come close to the sort of story that I’m looking for, and of course who else but Mary Balogh could write it! LOL

    Reply
  80. Romances understandably usually focus on the relationships between adults. Christmas however is a particularly magical time for children. The ways that children can catalyse romantic feelings and bring adults together; A lonely child writing to Santa requesting a new Dad for Xmas; A child born out of wedlock where the father secretly follows and assists development until some unforeseen event brings them all together at Christmas. The possibilities are endless and as complex as life itself.
    Perhaps the risk is that sentimentality will make a poor story, but I’m sure that the superb writers here can avoid that danger.
    Sharon refers to ‘The Best Gift’ which seems to come close to the sort of story that I’m looking for, and of course who else but Mary Balogh could write it! LOL

    Reply
  81. Quantum, “The Best Gift” does fit what you’re describing perfectly even though it’s probably a spoiler to say even that there is a child in the story.
    I checked her website and a new edition of the book was put out last year, so it should still be available. I have the older trade paperback from 2003.

    Reply
  82. Quantum, “The Best Gift” does fit what you’re describing perfectly even though it’s probably a spoiler to say even that there is a child in the story.
    I checked her website and a new edition of the book was put out last year, so it should still be available. I have the older trade paperback from 2003.

    Reply
  83. Quantum, “The Best Gift” does fit what you’re describing perfectly even though it’s probably a spoiler to say even that there is a child in the story.
    I checked her website and a new edition of the book was put out last year, so it should still be available. I have the older trade paperback from 2003.

    Reply
  84. Quantum, “The Best Gift” does fit what you’re describing perfectly even though it’s probably a spoiler to say even that there is a child in the story.
    I checked her website and a new edition of the book was put out last year, so it should still be available. I have the older trade paperback from 2003.

    Reply
  85. Quantum, “The Best Gift” does fit what you’re describing perfectly even though it’s probably a spoiler to say even that there is a child in the story.
    I checked her website and a new edition of the book was put out last year, so it should still be available. I have the older trade paperback from 2003.

    Reply
  86. Good point about children, Quantum. I wonder if we don’t see them that often because of that risk of it becoming too sentimental, especially in novel length. If there’s a real plot around the children, plus the romance, it could easily become overwhelming.

    Reply
  87. Good point about children, Quantum. I wonder if we don’t see them that often because of that risk of it becoming too sentimental, especially in novel length. If there’s a real plot around the children, plus the romance, it could easily become overwhelming.

    Reply
  88. Good point about children, Quantum. I wonder if we don’t see them that often because of that risk of it becoming too sentimental, especially in novel length. If there’s a real plot around the children, plus the romance, it could easily become overwhelming.

    Reply
  89. Good point about children, Quantum. I wonder if we don’t see them that often because of that risk of it becoming too sentimental, especially in novel length. If there’s a real plot around the children, plus the romance, it could easily become overwhelming.

    Reply
  90. Good point about children, Quantum. I wonder if we don’t see them that often because of that risk of it becoming too sentimental, especially in novel length. If there’s a real plot around the children, plus the romance, it could easily become overwhelming.

    Reply
  91. I’ve always loved Edith Layton’s Christmas novellas; The Hounds of Heaven is probably my favorite. Like Sharon, I too am missing new Christmas regency collections, so I’ll be pulling out my old Signets for a reread. A Christmas Promise as well, now that you’ve reminded me of it; it’s heartwrenching, but in a good way. My mother died the day after Christmas. I’ve always thought that some part of her hung on one day longer so that Christmas wouldn’t be a bad memory for me.

    Reply
  92. I’ve always loved Edith Layton’s Christmas novellas; The Hounds of Heaven is probably my favorite. Like Sharon, I too am missing new Christmas regency collections, so I’ll be pulling out my old Signets for a reread. A Christmas Promise as well, now that you’ve reminded me of it; it’s heartwrenching, but in a good way. My mother died the day after Christmas. I’ve always thought that some part of her hung on one day longer so that Christmas wouldn’t be a bad memory for me.

    Reply
  93. I’ve always loved Edith Layton’s Christmas novellas; The Hounds of Heaven is probably my favorite. Like Sharon, I too am missing new Christmas regency collections, so I’ll be pulling out my old Signets for a reread. A Christmas Promise as well, now that you’ve reminded me of it; it’s heartwrenching, but in a good way. My mother died the day after Christmas. I’ve always thought that some part of her hung on one day longer so that Christmas wouldn’t be a bad memory for me.

    Reply
  94. I’ve always loved Edith Layton’s Christmas novellas; The Hounds of Heaven is probably my favorite. Like Sharon, I too am missing new Christmas regency collections, so I’ll be pulling out my old Signets for a reread. A Christmas Promise as well, now that you’ve reminded me of it; it’s heartwrenching, but in a good way. My mother died the day after Christmas. I’ve always thought that some part of her hung on one day longer so that Christmas wouldn’t be a bad memory for me.

    Reply
  95. I’ve always loved Edith Layton’s Christmas novellas; The Hounds of Heaven is probably my favorite. Like Sharon, I too am missing new Christmas regency collections, so I’ll be pulling out my old Signets for a reread. A Christmas Promise as well, now that you’ve reminded me of it; it’s heartwrenching, but in a good way. My mother died the day after Christmas. I’ve always thought that some part of her hung on one day longer so that Christmas wouldn’t be a bad memory for me.

    Reply
  96. ‘The Cockermouth Mail’ is my favourite story. It has everything – battle-scarred hero, governess heroine, ill-assorted travellers in a mail coach snowed in at a tiny Lake District inn, Christmas traditions and even a mystery in working out which of the passengers is an escaped comvict. Can’t recommend it enough – I read it every year and it’s about time I hunted it out again.

    Reply
  97. ‘The Cockermouth Mail’ is my favourite story. It has everything – battle-scarred hero, governess heroine, ill-assorted travellers in a mail coach snowed in at a tiny Lake District inn, Christmas traditions and even a mystery in working out which of the passengers is an escaped comvict. Can’t recommend it enough – I read it every year and it’s about time I hunted it out again.

    Reply
  98. ‘The Cockermouth Mail’ is my favourite story. It has everything – battle-scarred hero, governess heroine, ill-assorted travellers in a mail coach snowed in at a tiny Lake District inn, Christmas traditions and even a mystery in working out which of the passengers is an escaped comvict. Can’t recommend it enough – I read it every year and it’s about time I hunted it out again.

    Reply
  99. ‘The Cockermouth Mail’ is my favourite story. It has everything – battle-scarred hero, governess heroine, ill-assorted travellers in a mail coach snowed in at a tiny Lake District inn, Christmas traditions and even a mystery in working out which of the passengers is an escaped comvict. Can’t recommend it enough – I read it every year and it’s about time I hunted it out again.

    Reply
  100. ‘The Cockermouth Mail’ is my favourite story. It has everything – battle-scarred hero, governess heroine, ill-assorted travellers in a mail coach snowed in at a tiny Lake District inn, Christmas traditions and even a mystery in working out which of the passengers is an escaped comvict. Can’t recommend it enough – I read it every year and it’s about time I hunted it out again.

    Reply

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