So now that we’re in the end of November, are people a little more in the mood for Christmas books? Here at the Field Library we have a number of new Christmas novels, worth checking out as we get closer and closer to the holiday season.
Mary Alice Monroe continues her Lowcountry Summer series with A Lowcountry Christmas, a heartwarming story of the bonds of family and love overcoming difficult circumstances. The ten year old protagonist, Miller McClellan, starts out certain that this is going to be the worst Christmas ever: family finances are really tight, his mother is working two jobs, and his parents tell him he’s not going to get the dog he’s dreaming of for Christmas. Even the longed-for return of his older brother from the war is overshadowed by his brother’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, making the holidays even more stressful for everyone in the family. When Troy, his brother’s service dog, arrives, Miller’s really bummed that even the dog is for his brother and not for him. But with the arrival of Christmas, the family pulls together and Miller discovers that this might not be a bad Christmas after all.
In A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury, another family faces the aftermath of tragedy and pain, of a different sort. Two years ago, Erin Baxter, her husband, and three of her four daughters were killed in a car accident. This year, Erin’s father, John, has invited the recipient of Erin’s heart for Christmas, over the objections of his other family members, who are concerned about the effect on the one surviving member of that family. Kendra, the guest, is trying to put her life together and appreciate the amazing second chance she’s been given, and together the Baxter family and those connected to them come together in healing and hope.
Those who know Anne Perry from her mystery series — William Monk, or Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, or her World War I series — might not immediately see her as a Christmas story author, but they would be underestimating her range. For several years now, Anne Perry has been writing Christmas mystery stories, and this year her latest is A Christmas Message. Set in her familiar Victorian world, it begins with a wonderful Christmas present Victor Narraway gives his wife, Vespasia (don’t you love those Victorian names?): a trip to the Holy Land for the two of them. On their way, they meet a charming man with a curious old parchment, and when the man is killed because of the parchment, their pilgrimage turns into a different kind of quest, complete with danger and excitement and ultimately a revelation about the nature of that parchment
Richard Paul Evans is famous for his Christmas stories, and his newest book, The Mistletoe Secret, follows in the tradition of his other bestsellers. A lonely 29 year old woman, Kelly Arrington, starts a blog called The Mistletoe Letters, after the street on which she lives, and signs each painful entry LBH, which stands for Last Breaking Heart. Meanwhile, Tyler Richards, a New York writer, has been following the blog and, moved by her posts, sets out to find the mysterious LBH. He thinks those are the initials of the writer, and he enlists the aid of one Kelly Arrington to help him find this writer. If you know Richard Paul Evans, you can guess how the story is going to end, but that doesn’t make the journey any less fun.
Finally, if you want some variety and some quirky humor in your Christmas reading, give Jeanette Winterson’s Christmas Days a read. Every year, Winterson’s been writing Christmas stories, and this year she’s brought twelve of them together in one volume, along with a personal story of her own Christmas memories. She brings us trees with mysterious powers, a talking tinsel baby, philosophical fairies, flying dogs, and even a haunted house, all infused with the magic of the Christmas season. These are not your ordinary Christmas stories, but if you’re in the mood for something a little different, to read before the fire or to read aloud to family, Christmas Days is just what you’re looking for.