Holiday time is upon us, dear readers. Whether you’re looking forward to a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, have already celebrated Yule, or are holding out for New Year’s, the season is here, and that means so are the seasonal romances. They’re in paperback and hardcover, in our keeper cases, in library stacks, on bookstore shelves, on our wish lists, and wrapped to present to our loved ones on our special gift-giving days. They’re stashed in our luggage for those of us who travel, on the nightstands of those of us staying put. They’re in e-book form on our phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and dedicated e-readers. In short, they’re everywhere. The big question here is, what holiday romances are you reading?
First things first; if you’re feeling the pinch of holiday spending, and haven’t started your holiday romance reading yet, there is no cause for alarm. No reason to spend a single penny to read the romance of the season. Free holiday e-books are thick upon the ground this year, at e-retailers, on the websites of favorite authors, and through lists such as BookBub. For those of us who prefer to hold a paperback or hardcover, get thee to a library. Odds are, many of us have holiday themed reads waiting in our TBR piles, shelves, crates, etc, so diving into the deliciousness of a great holiday read may not even require changing out of pajamas or leaving the house.
For those who don’t mind getting a little spendy, even more e-books are available for prices as low as ninety-nine cents. Less than a dollar, less, often, than half a cup of coffee (and who buys half a cup of coffee, anyway?) and, in the case of self or indie-published works, your money goes directly to the author, which lets them concentrate on writing your next favorite read. Maybe even a new holiday read for you to celebrate in the coming year. Wouldn’t you love to be part of that? Paper book people, this is where the used book stores come in. Nothing says treating oneself like wandering the aisles of a new or favorite UBS, either randomly or with list in hand, checking for classic holiday titles by beloved authors, or those we’ve always wanted to try. Think Signet Regency anthologies, or those that bundle together themed historical or contemporary tales. Futuristic or paranormal holiday stories? There have been some of those, too. Ready for a time travel Christmas, or a visit to the western frontier? The UBS is the place to be.
Category people, we see that smug smile that comes from having your holiday reads delivered directly to you, and yes, you do have the sweet seat when it comes to this. Bundling up to take the walk to the mailbox suddenly becomes a lot less arduous when we know there are going to be brand new holiday reads in that box, intricately crafted stories that deliver all the feels in doses quick enough to fit in between real life obligations and fun, or to savor over a cold winter’s night.
Hmm, night, knight, same difference, right? While Regency and Victorian set stories may be the norm when it comes to holiday historicals, there’s a heck of a lot more history to be had. People have been celebrating for thousands of years, and everybody has been getting some holiday loving at some point in history, so why not explore that in romances of the season? Medieval and Tudor set romances can take us back to the start of many of our time honored customs, as well as allow us to revisit traditions that may have fallen by the wayside through the intervening years. If we want to go even further back, some of those people of the ancient world sure knew how to party -and find the love of a lifetime- on days that come but once a year.
With the wide umbrella of the romance genre, it’s possible to find romance novels that not only mirror the holidays we already know and love, but allow us to share in (or crash) holidays for times and cultures other than our own. Not only do we get a timeless love story to give us all the feels, but we might end up learning a thing or two along the way. Not a bad arrangement, if you ask me.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. What holiday romances are you reading this holiday season? Yours truly is gorging on For Christmas, Forever, by Barbara Samuel, The Queen’s Christmas Summons, by Amanda McCabe, and A Pirate For Christmas, by Anna Campbell. Is three a bit much to juggle at one time, or does the more, the merrier, apply even more when it comes to holiday romance novels? What holidays do you prefer for your seasonal reading? Do you prefer to read about the holidays you personally celebrate, those celebrated by others, or is everybody invited to your holiday reading party? What would you like to see more or less of in holiday romances, in general? Do you celebrate a holiday that doesn’t get enough love this time of year? What sorts of stories do you think could convey the best parts of your holiday in a romance context? If you’re reading this with arms crossed and a muttered “bah, humbug,” for whatever reason, we want to hear about that, too. Pull up a chair in the comments section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.