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Romance: Fa-la-la falling in love during Christmas
The holidays can be overwhelming, so why not escape with these five romance novels about love under the mistletoe? From an Amish village to the snowy streets of New York City, these novels will transport you to another place—a place without all those seasonal stressors!
MAKING MERRY IN MANHATTAN
A fairy tale comes true in the engaging Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan. Eva Jordan, a bubbly, Christmas-loving partner in a concierge business, is heading to a penthouse in Manhattan, tasked with decorating the upscale apartment for the holidays and filling the freezer with home-cooked treats. Its resident, crime novelist Lucas Blade, is supposed to be absent, but instead, Eva is surprised to find the man at home. He is battling writer’s block and struggling to come to terms with his grief over his wife’s death three years before. Though at first eager to be rid of the enthusiastic Eva, he finds himself intrigued by the beautiful young woman—and inspired, too. Now he has an idea for his stalled book, and if having her bustling around the house keeps the creative juices flowing, so be it. The brooding, wounded man touches Eva’s heart, and she does her best to cheer him with all things Christmas as well as her friendly companionship. Over meals, through soul-baring conversations and one magical night at a Plaza Hotel ball, the two are seduced by each other. A brief physical union isn’t all that Eva wants, but it’s all that Lucas believes he has to give. If she leaves, can he let her go?
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
It’s Christmas, cowboy style in Carolyn Brown’s Merry Cowboy Christmas. Fiona Logan has returned to her hometown of Dry Creek, Texas, for the holidays. She flew the coop after high school, but following a divorce, she needs to regroup among family, including newcomer Jud Dawson, who has joined with her sisters’ husbands in running a local ranch. She settles in quickly, helping manage a convenience store and starting her own bookkeeping business. Then a crotchety elderly couple loses their home in a fire and joins the household that includes Fiona, her mother and Jud. Jud takes it upon himself to turn around the old man’s attitude while also charming the wary Fiona. Soon Fiona and Jud are sharing kisses, but he’s aware she wants to leave again, and she’s afraid he might be all charm and no staying power. But as the 25th approaches, it’s clear that Jud is serious about their relationship, and Fiona knows she’s fallen for him. When an opportunity to return to the city presents itself, she has to decide if a life with a cowboy is the life she wants. This one is both sweet and hot.
LOVE IN BLOOM
The evolution of an Old Order Amish marriage is chronicled in the touching The Angel of Forest Hill. When his wife dies after the birth of their third child, Joel Dienner needs someone to care for his children. Rose Kurtz, a young woman from a distant community, helps run his household for a month, but soon Rose must return home—unless she agrees to become his platonic wife. Rose, who grew up under her mother’s hypercritical eyes, sees this as an opportunity for a new start and marries Joel. Four years pass, and Rose and Joel have become successful parents and warm companions. Rose is devoted to the family, and she and Joel are inching toward a real, intimate marriage when unexpected trouble arrives right before Christmas. Joel’s innate kindness and Rose’s growing confidence in herself make them a couple readers will want to see happy. The scenes of Amish life and the pair’s devotion to their faith add welcome dimension to this beautiful story of love finding its way.
FANGS AND CLAUS
Christmas comes with teeth in A Very Jaguar Christmas by Terry Spear. Everett Anderson, jaguar shifter and police official for their kind, has longed for his best friend’s girl for years—even after his buddy dies on a dangerous mission. Everett is afraid to move too fast, but finds an opportunity to work with Demetria MacFarlane when they must return a shifting wolf cub to his family. Since the jaguars didn’t know wolf shifters existed, they’re curious to find the pup’s parents and learn about this new species. Road trips and hours of research bring Everett and Demetria closer together—and taking care of the little one allows them a glimpse of future family life. But it takes trust and honesty to get past guilt and grief and reach for new happiness. Plenty of action and romantic chemistry between the leads makes this furry holiday treat especially fun.
TOP PICK IN ROMANCE
Debbie Macomber pens a charming and uplifting story in Twelve Days of Christmas. Aspiring writer and Seattleite Julia Padden hopes to attract attention to her blog by chronicling her attempt to treat her grumpy across-the-hall neighbor, whom she nicknames Ebenezer, to 12 days of kindness leading up to Christmas. Morning-person Julia clearly annoys Ebenezer—real name Cain—every day on their elevator ride, and he has even complained about her singing carols. But as she tries to reform his curmudgeonly ways, she finds herself attracted to the man—especially when she can get him to smile. Soon they’re having coffee together and nursing each other through the flu, and all’s looking up. Julia’s blog becomes so popular that she gets a coveted job, and her romance with Cain heats up, cheered on by his lovable grandfather. But when Cain learns she wrote about him on social media, old pain arises and he feels he’s being used to further her goals instead of being loved for himself. Just when Julia realizes her kindness project changed not only Cain but her as well, she’s lost him. What will it take to heal the breach, and can they have a happy Christmas as well as a happy ending? Great characters and holiday ambience make this a pure delight!