The holidays are going to be strange this year, with many of the familiar joys curtailed or canceled. But we can still celebrate with no worries through Christmas stories. Fiction set during the holidays has been popular since Dickens charmed his readers with A Christmas Carol, and this year is no exception.
Speaking of Dickens, a new mystery called A Christmas Carol Murder features a young Charles Dickens as the sleuth. It’s the third in the Dickens of a Crime series by Heather Redmond. Other new holiday-themed mysteries include The Christmas Fair Killer by Amy Patricia Meade, Murder at an Irish Christmas: An Irish Village Mystery by Carlene O’Connor and Gingerdead Man by Maya Corrigan. For truly silly Christmas mystery fun, there is Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings by Liz Ireland, and popular author Joanne Fluke’s latest holiday offering is the Christmas Cupcake Murder.
Romance readers love Christmas and every year there are lots of new romances with Christmas settings. Cheyenne author Joanne Kennedy celebrates the season with Blue Sky Cowboy Christmas, where a recent veteran with PTSD finds love with a misfit heroine who believes in second chances for everyone except herself. In The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Lizzie Shane, rescue pups add to the romantic fun. Western romance author Diana Palmer entertains with Christmas Kisses With My Cowboy, while author Jessica Clare continues her Wyoming Cowboy series with Her Christmas Cowboy, featuring an elementary school teacher and a gruff cowboy who struggles to convey his interest.
Some authors enjoy Christmas-themed stories so much they write one every year. Acclaimed mystery author Anne Perry has written eighteen Christmas-themed stories, including this year’s A Christmas Resolution. Donna VanLiere has built her career writing feel-good Christmas stories. This year’s tale is The Christmas Table, which focuses on a wooden kitchen table that plays a part in two families’ lives in 1972 and 2012. Romance and women’s fiction author Debbie Macomber has penned well over a dozen Christmas-themed books, including this year’s Jingle All The Way.
A number of best-selling authors write Christmas stories. Most of women’s fiction author Elin Hilderbrand’s novels are set on Nantucket Island in the summer. Her Winter Street Inn series features the same island setting, but the books take place around the holidays. For heartwarming holiday stories, check out Richard Paul Evans’s Noel series or the Christmas books in the late Thomas Kinkade’s Cape Hope series, which is now written by Katherine Spencer.
If most Christmas stories are too sweet and fluffy for your taste, there are also Christmas books that are a little meatier. John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas is a modern classic; the story is the basis for the movie Christmas with the Kranks. Mid-century true-crime author Truman Capote wrote A Christmas Memory, an account of the author’s childhood Christmas rituals. Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel is sub-titled “A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror.” If you really want to stretch things, Stephen King’s horror classic Pet Sematary takes place during the holidays, so theoretically qualifies as a Christmas book. And finally, even Lee Child’s famous action-adventure hero Jack Reacher gets into the holiday spirit in a novella entitled The Christmas Scorpion. It’s not available in print, but the eBook can be read in the Cloud Library.