Written by Marybeth Whalen of SheReads.org
Christmas makes us think about shopping and planning and parties and busyness. But it also makes us think about the downtime in between all the shopping and busyness and parties– those quiet moments by the fire, sipping something warm and, hopefully, reading a great book. Before we go on our Christmas break here at She Reads, we thought that we’d share some new Christmas stories you might like to have in your hand when those downtime moments come along.
For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth.
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.
As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.
In this enchanting holiday novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer, family and friends gather on Nantucket for a gorgeous winter wedding with plenty of merry surprises in store.
As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker.
As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.
Lauren Hauser is home for the holidays, and she’s been given a challenge: preparing her grandmother’s pecan pie. The problem? Lauren’s not famed for her baking skills. In fact, while her sister would win Star Baker every week, and her mom at least knows a sieve from a spatula, Lauren’s bakes have always been more dangerous than delicious!
Still, no Thanksgiving would be complete without dessertwhich is why Lauren finds herself searching for pecans on Thanksgiving Eve. Stumbling into a gorgeous stranger laden down with bags of pecans seems like a holiday miraclebut despite Jack’s kissable lips he’s frostier than a snow coneand out of sight before she can say ‘Macy’s Parade’!
As the clock counts down to Thanksgiving dinner, Lauren is running out of time. And without her grandmother’s perfect pecan pie it won’t be a very Happy Thanksgiving! What Lauren needs is a knight in shining armour. And it might just be that the magic of Thanksgiving will find her one after all
And don’t miss book two in the series, How To Bake The Perfect Christmas Cake!
And finally, here are some not-so-new but definitely worth the read if you’ve never had the pleasure:
The Christmas Letters by Lee Smith
The story of a woman, told through the Christmas letters she pens each year.
Say When by Elizabeth Berg
Though this is not a distinctly Christmas book, the main character does take up playing Santa Clause.
Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts
This one is just fun. And clever.
She Reads is a website run by a team of 3 moms who love to read and have a passion for sharing not-to-be-missed novels with women. As busy moms with 13 children between us, we get how precious your downtime is and how choosy you are about how you spend it. So whether you read a few pages while nursing, sneak in a few chapters during naptime, zip through as much as you can in the carpool line, or pass out after only a few paragraphs when you climb into bed at night, it's important that the book in your hands excites you, makes you think, and gives you hope. We look for savvy characters, unique premises, and excellent writing. And we think you're looking for the same thing.