One more list this week, by popular demand. I mentioned on Facebook that I had a number of Christmas books since I'm getting ready for my brown bag luncheon. And, some of my friends enjoy Christmas books as much as I did. So, I promised to share some of this year's new releases. It's a fabulous selection for those of us who love holiday reading.
I'll start with the mysteries first.
The twelfth entry in Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse Mystery series is Holiday Buzz. Cleo Coyle is providing the beverages for the Great New York Cookie Swap. But, when she finds the bodies of two bludgeoned bakers, she's going to spend her holiday season poring over clues.
Kate Kingsbury's new Pennyfoot Hotel mystery is a holiday one, The Clue is in the Pudding. Cecily Sinclair Baxter is forced to hire a temporary housekeeper for the hotel, a woman who fights with everyone, including an actor who drops dead after the huffy woman serves him some plum pudding. The housekeeper may be the number one suspect, but Cecily suspects someone else might be a killer.
Anne Perry takes readers to India in this year's annual holiday story, A Christmas Garland. India is in the midst of rebellion in 1857. When a guard is killed at the British garrison, and more deaths follow, a medical orderly is arrested. Lieutenant Victor Narraway searches for the truth, despite his superiors' wish for a show trial. Thanks to a simple Christmas garland and some brilliant detective work, Narraway turns a dark hour into one full of joy and light.
The last mystery is Livia J. Washburn's Wedding Cake Killer. Phyllis Newsom helped her best friend plan a Christmas wedding in Weatherford, Texas. Phyllis is happy to host the event, despite the forecast of a snowstorm that could be a recipe for disaster. When the new groom is found dead at a bed-and-breakfast, Phyllis' newlywed friend is the top suspect.
Now, onto the Christmas romances and stories that embody the Christmas spirit. Speaking of Christmas spirit, I'm starting with The Ghost of Christmas Present by Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton. Peter Guthrie faces the worst holiday of his life. His son needs heart surgery, he loses his job, and his former father-in-law sets him up to prove he's an unfit father. In desperation, he takes to the streets as the Ghost of Christmas Present, a performance that changes lives.
Amanda Cabot takes readers back to 1882 Wyoming territory in Christmas Roses. Celia Anderson is a widow determined to take care of herself and her daughter unless she can have the romantic marriage she only read about. She tells Mark Williams she wants a man who will bring her roses for Christmas, or she won't marry again.
Melody Carlson always deals with miracles in her holiday books. This year, The Christmas Pony, tells of Lucy Turnbull, a young girl who wished for a pony for Christmas, even though her mother and grandmother told her they couldn't afford a pony. It's too hard to put food on the table in 1937, and no little girl should ask for such nonsense. But, the arrival of a glamorous woman in town could change everything.
In A Wreath of Snow, Liz Curtis Higgs takes readers to a Victorian Scottish Christmas. In 1894, a schoolteacher's holiday plans crumble in the face of her brother's bitterness, so she only wants to get back to Edinburgh and the students she loves. An unexpected detour throws her together with a newspaperman who shares a secret history with her, a past that could lead to regret or a future together.
Karen Kingsbury's Christmas story is The Bridge, a story of tragedy and love set against the background of a small bookstore. Molly Allen left her love behind in Tennessee when she walked away five years earlier. Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville and hasn't forgotten Molly. He can still visit the bookstore, The Bridge, that they both loved. But a flood that swept through Franklin, Tennessee destroyed almost every book, leaving the owners despondent, with no hope when the bank pulls the lease. It seems a few people are going to need miracles and a second chance.
A Fool's Gold Christmas is Susan Mallery's contribution to the holiday books. Dancer Evie Stryker doesn't appreciate the unrelenting cheer in Fool's Gold, California, but she was forced to return home after an injury. Recruited to stage the town's winter festival, she hopes to leave town as soon as possible. However, the lawyer who works below the practice space for the young dancers is the best friend of Evie's brother. He's always seen love as dangerous until the magic of Fool's Gold proves miracles can happen.
It's a McKettrick holiday in Linda Lael Miller's An Outlaw's Christmas. Sawyer McKettrick wasn't ready to settle down on the family's Arizona ranch. Instead he headed for Blue River, Texas and a job as marshal. But, he's injured in a snowstorm, and ends up stranded with teacher Piper St. James in her room behind the schoolhouse. As the storm clears, Piper's long-ago dreams of marriage and motherhood might turn into a holiday wish.
Lisa Plumley combines humor and romance in Together for Christmas.Talent agent Casey Jackson doesn't do Christmas.But, when he's called to Michigan to get a pop star's holiday special back on track, he meets the star's sister, a down-home diner owner who is crazy about Christmas. Can a Christmas-lover find romance with a sexy Scrooge?
Charles Todd, author of the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mysteries, has a holiday tale, The Walnut Tree. It's a bittersweet love story set at Christmas during the opening months of World War I. Just after Lady Elspeth Douglas agrees to marry her friend's brother, Alain, the Germans overrun Belgium, threatening France, and Alain leaves to join his unit. Trapped on the French coast, Elspeth tries to make herself useful carrying water to the soldiers. She's rescued by a solider, and then separated. But, she can't forget the horrors she saw or the man who rescued her.
Jason F. Wright, author of Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters, brings us The 13th Day of Christmas. Marva Ferguson, an aging widow with a special tradition that happens every December 26, befriends a nine-year-old boy who also loves Christmas. After Charlee becomes critically ill, he receives a mysterious note. Beginning with December 12, it promises twelve days of gifts and stories that will reveal the truth behind the carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas". It's a story of laughter, tenderness, faith, and hope.
Stories of tenderness, faith, and hope, with a few mysteries thrown in. If you're a fan of Christmas books, and can't find a story in this list, you just might have a little Grinch in your soul. Maybe I can change that with the promise of a Christmas book giveaway coming up on Thursday. Anticipation. That's appropriate when discussing holidays and holiday reading.