As I mentioned in October, the Christmas themed books are stacking up. Now the big day is approaching, I thought I’d start with my run down of the best of my Christmas reading so far. And to ease myself into the festive mood, I’ve been reading short stories. Some of these are new this year, some are from last year which I didn’t get around to until I was out of the Christmas mood and consequently held on to ready for this year! So as we hurtle towards December, here are my top picks of the Christmas novellas so far (in no particular order):
Now a popular theme this year has been the Christmas novella following on from a successful non-Christmas book. I actually find I prefer these novellas to the full length Christmas themed sequels in quite a lot of cases – the shorter form means there’s (often) no need to break up a couple who you’ve really got invested in in the first book just to provide enough drama and plot for the novella. Sealed with a Christmas Kiss by Rachel Lucas is a good example of this. I read Sealed with a Kiss a year or so ago before it was picked up with Pan and really enjoyed it. So I was pleased to reacquaint myself with Kate and Roddy and to read about the latest developments in the plans to save the Island. As always with these things, probably best to have read the original book first.
Unlike Christmas Kiss, I hadn’t read the book that preceded Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Sue Montaigne’s struggles to organise the Nativity Pageant in Poledore. This novella is festive but without being cloying or sickly – which is always good. One of my favourites of the Christmas themed reading so far – and I’ve gone and put one of the other Poledore books on my to-read list.
At the historical end of the Christmas market, The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley is another novella that’s Christmas themed without being too saccharine. It’s a prequel to her Dukes of War series (the first book of which is waiting on my Kindle) and focusses on the organisation of a Christmas ball. Standalone and fun, this is worth a look if you want a bit of Christmas themed historical romance.
Being a fool, I forgot that I’m several books behind in the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander and managed to spoil a couple of plot developments for myself by reading Star of the East. I still enjoyed it though – but suggest it’s only for people who are up to date with the series.
On to the non-novella but still Christmas and short section – and Trisha Ashley’s Christmas offering is a collection of her short stories – Footsteps in the Snow. These are stories that have previously been published in various magazines and are definitely at the shorter end of the market, but they still display Ashley’s trade mark wit and flair and I would say are perfect for reading in the tube or on the bus. I paid 99p for this and was perfectly content – but I wouldn’t want to pay overly much more than that – the back third of the book is a preview of her next novel.
Jill Mansell’s A – Z of Happiness is similarly short – but has the bonus of being free (or at least it was when I downloaded it and still was when I wrote this). It’s not stories, it’s more musings with an author Q&A, but if you like Jill’s writing, it’s definitely worth a look – especially as it’s gratis.
So there you have the best of my Christmas short stories so far to ease you into the Festive Season. Still to come, I’m planning a round-up of Christmas novels – ideal for curling up in front of the fire with once you’ve finished work for the holiday.