10 Holiday Books To Snuggle Up With This Season: From Romance To Magical Realism

Books are like balms — grabbing the right book at the right time can provide the perfect antidote for what you’re going through at that very moment. Whether you need a dose of hope, happiness, comfort, inspiration, courage … you name it, a great book has the power to ease worries and offer a safe haven to rest and recharge. After a draining week or a long day, there are few things better than snuggling up with a good read that makes you smile. And during December, holiday books — with their charming settings and signature heartfelt charm — are the perfect way to celebrate the season.

Here, we’ve rounded up our favorite holiday books — both new and old — that feature a cozy festive feel. Grab yourself a blanket, a steaming mug of something delicious (like this creamy hot chocolate) and a novel that will warm your heart. Keep scrolling to discover 10 of the best holiday books from sweet romantic-comedies to magical realism and more. Happy reading!

If you like stories about big families and holiday drama…

Try Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand A360

Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand is known as the “Queen of Beach Reads,” but she also has a knack for penning cozy Christmas novels — and her Winter Street series is a delight. In Winter Street, the first installment of the series, the plot follows Kelley Quinn, who owns a quaint inn on Nantucket. Kelley is the proud father of four grown children…who are all living in varying states of disarray. He is looking forward to having them home for the holidays. But instead of the calm and peaceful holiday he was hoping for, he’s left dealing with all kinds of problems: First, he walks in on his wife kissing Santa Claus and then all the kids have a lot of drama going on in their own lives. A holiday story filled with fun chaos, caroling, and cheer!

What readers are saying: “I was immersed for days in this beautiful loving family and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the story play out. The estranged parents, the close siblings, the arrogant sibling falling from grace and the loves they each have. Great holiday read!”

If you like endearingly festive stories set in Scotland…

Try The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan A360

This picturesque and heartwarming holiday story transports readers to Edinburgh, Scotland. Carmen is out of a job and the last thing she wants is to move in with her seemingly perfect sister, Sofia. But Carmen is strapped for cash and Sofia has a client who needs help at his bookshop, so Carmen moves in and takes the job. Soon, at Mr. McCredie’s old bookshop, family wounds begin to heal, new romances spark and holiday hope abounds.

What readers are saying: “Sometimes we drift into a book for light reading and then we suddenly find ourselves miles away. This book took me to the streets of Edinburgh at Christmas with its beautiful descriptions of the bookstore on Victoria Street. The characters created a snowy Christmas family that will warm your heart.”

If you like second-chance love stories with delicious food descriptions…

Try Love & Latkes by Stacey Agdern

Stacey Agdern
Stacey Agdern

Small-town charm, second chances and big dreams…this love story has it all! When a latke fry-off committee chooses Batya Averman as their web designer, she’s ecstatic, until she realizes it’s in the hometown she fled years ago. Abe Neumann, Batya’s long-time crush, enters the competition with hopes the prize money will help him fulfill his dreams. Then during Hanukkah, Batya and Abe grow closer. Could it be true love?

What readers are saying: “I loved the romance between Batya and Abe. It was sweet, angsty and full of moments that made me swoon…and I’m sorry, but sending food to each other as a love language is brilliant and I just loved everything about this. There are delicious descriptions of food, characters from the other books make appearances (but this is a stand-alone and you don’t need to have read the others first) and the depiction of Jewish love and culture is breathtaking. I can’t wait for the next installment!”

If you like historical stories with dual timelines and love letters…

Try Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb A360

Filled with romance, heartbreak and a little bit of holiday magic, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined forces with Heather Webb to craft an unforgettable, decade-spanning love story. The year is 1914 and England is at war and all Evie Elliott can do is watch her brother Will and his best friend Thomas Harding leave Paris for the front lines with the hopes that they will be home for Christmas. But life has other plans and soon Evie and Thomas are writing each other letter after letter and slowly falling in love. Until Christmas in 1968 when Thomas returns to Paris and has one last letter to give. A moving historical holiday tale.

What readers are saying: “Even during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I couldn’t help but sneak away to devour this treasure for hours on end. I was so wrapped up in the romance, the bravery, the strength of the characters, and the lost art of letter writing that even after I finished the book, my head and my heart were still somewhere in France.”

If you like magical realism featuring happily ever afters…

Try Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert

Amy E. Reichert
Amy E. Reichert A360

Time travel, Yuletide magic and new love…this feel-good novel brings tidings of joy! Jack Clausen spends his life magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded his charmed existence until he meets Astra Noel Snow at a Milwaukee Christmas market. After a series of dates, Astra shows Jack the life he’s been missing. But will their new love last through all the seasons?

What readers are saying: “Such an amazingly inspirational, heartwarming, feel good Christmas romance makes you giddy, lighthearted, see things from bright side by experiencing full holiday spirit!”

If you like romantic stories set in small towns…

Try Christmas in Rose Bend by Naima Simone

Naima Simone
Naima Simone A360

Author Naima Simone returns with another installment in her beloved Rose Bend series. Grieving ER nurse Nessa Hunt is on a road trip to the festive, picturesque town of Rose Bend with her teen half-sister, Ivy. Nessa meets the innkeeper’s handsome son, Wolfgang Dennison, but she decides she has too much weighing on her after her mother’s death to think about love. But soon, she finds herself smiling and rediscovering home for the future in Rose Bend.

What readers are saying: “This was a beautiful story. It was also a very emotional story — and it left me feeling all warm and fuzzy. Wolf and Nessa had both been dealt some pretty tough events in their lives. I loved the way that somehow, through each other, they both found the strength to finally move forward and let go of their pasts to reach happiness.”

If you like sweet stories about meddling friends set amid snowstorms…

Try Three Holidays and a Wedding by Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley

Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley
Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley A360

When strangers Maryam Aziz and Anna Gibson fly to Toronto over the holidays — Maryam to her sister’s wedding and Anna to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time — neither of them expects to have an emergency landing in quirky Snow Falls Inn, Canada. While in town, Anna somehow gets the chance to hang out with her actor crush, and Maryam begins to bond with her childhood crush, Saif. But as the snow continues to fall, their problems escalate, and they are left with nothing but the hope of holiday magic.

What readers are saying: “This is a beautiful novel — which features three holidays — about letting go of preconceptions and discovering who you’re meant to be. It’s a heartwarming holiday story of friendship, romance, family, forgiveness, and self-acceptance.”

If you like royal-sized love stories set in England…

Try Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory A360

There’s just something extra special about a royal romance — and Jasmine Guillory, bestselling author of The Wedding Date, gave this royal romance a holiday twist! When Vivian Forest tags along on her grown daughter’s work trip to England, she’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights. But what she doesn’t expect is to have an instant attraction to Malcolm Hudson, the queen’s private secretary. Sparks fly in this festive and fun love story.

What readers are saying: “This was a memorable, cozy Christmas read. I think this story will stick in my mind for a while (especially the Sandringham setting in Norfolk, England). I also appreciated the more mature characters who were both are in their 50s.

If you like lighthearted and fun young adult novels…

Try Eight Dates and Nights by Betsy Aldredge

Betsy Aldredge
Betsy Aldredge A360

This cute and cozy novel follows New York native Hannah Levin, who gets snowed in with her grandmother in a small Texas town. Feeling lonely and listless, Hannah wanders into an old deli where she meets the only other Jewish teen around, Noah, who happens to be equal parts adorable and full of over-the-top holiday spirit. Noah loves Hanukkah and is determined to show Hannah how magical the holiday can be. And after a kiss takes place, Hannah starts to wonder if maybe there’s more magic to Hanukkah than she thought. A sweet coming-of-age holiday story!

What readers are saying: “I really enjoyed this YA romance that incorporated the ‘opposites attract’ concept. I know this is geared toward the YA age group, but anyone of any age is sure to enjoy this sugary, uplifting story.”

If you like stories about road trips and complex relationships…

Try The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan
Sarah Morgan A360

Bestselling author Sarah Morgan is known for her heartfelt love stories that are perfect for snuggling up with by the fire, and The Christmas Escape delivers all her inviting, signature charm. Best friends Christy and Alix have a snowy family getaway planned. But Christy is suddenly facing a make-or-break marriage crisis with her husband, Seb. Her fix? Alix and Seb’s oldest friend, Zac, will take Christy’s daughter on the trip and they’ll all reunite on Christmas Day. A journey of love and festive cheer!

What readers are saying: “This is escapist fiction at its absolute best, full of warmth, humor and heart…irresistible, joyful and a celebration of family love.”


For more book recommendations, click through the links below!

10 Books to Read If You Love ‘Bridgerton’: These Romances Will Make You Swoon!

10 Books To Keep You Company When You’re Feeling Lonely

And for all things books, click here!

Copyright 2023 A360 Media

This story was originally published December 10, 2023, 7:48 AM.


source: star-telegram

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