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Feeling festive: 10 books to get you in the Christmas spirit

Feeling festive: 10 books to get you in the Christmas spirit

It’s a little over a week until Christmas and if you’re still mulling over which books to read over the yuletide season, we’ve rounded up some of our festive favourites. From heart-warming romance to a twisty murder mystery, these books are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Cosy Vibes & Heartwarming Tales

Lovelight Farms by B. K. Borison

If you’re a fan of Borison’s sweet and steamy rom-coms, this holiday happily-ever-after is just the book to keep you warm this festive season. The titular first instalment in the heart-flutteringly romantic Lovelight Farms series follows an optimist Christmas tree farm owner and a freckled data analyst as they enter into a fake relationship to win money to save the financially struggling farm. Set against a wholesome Christmassy backdrop, this is a lovely fake-dating, friends-to-lovers story that will put the biggest smile on your face. (Pan)

Winter’s Wishfall by Ceri Houlbrook


With her life falling apart, Ellie has nothing to lose when a mysterious job proposition with a curious NDA comes her way. Arriving on a tiny Scottish island, she’s introduced to a network of underground caverns filled with old scrolls and begins her work archiving letters to Father Christmas in languages from across the world. Ellie quickly falls in love with her new island home and the people she works with, but a chance meeting with a stranger makes her question everything. With a dash of magical realism, a sprinkle of mystery and some slow-burn romance, Ceri Houlbrook delivers a wintry journey of self-discovery and Christmas miracles. (Black & White Publishing)

One December Day by Rachel Marks

Laura has always preferred summer to winter but then one December day, she meets Luke – the charismatic frontman of an up-and-coming band. As Luke’s band skyrockets to fame, Laura is left at home with their son, and as the years roll by, the once hopelessly in love couple find themselves drifting apart. But under the sparkle of festive lights, can they find their way back to each other? Spanning from 2004 to 2018, and split between Laura and Luke’s perspectives, Rachel Marks’ third novel is an emotional contemporary romance that pulls at the heartstrings. It’s also not too Christmassy, for those after just a hint of seasonal spirit. (Penguin)

Only For The Holidays by Abiola Bello

Billed as The Spanish Love Deception meets The Holiday, Abiola Bello’s YA romance centres on a city girl and a farm boy whose lives collide in the countryside. Desperate to escape London and concoct a plan to win her ex back, Tia heads to Saiyan Hedge Farm where she meets Quincy, who’s working round the clock to make the annual Winter Ball a success. Though they get off to a bad start, Tia and Quincy realise they both have something to gain from pretending to be a couple. But as their pretence continues, real feelings threaten to get in the way… Only For The Holidays is a sweet and fun opposites-attract novel that pairs perfectly with a blanket and a comforting mug of hot chocolate. (Simon & Schuster)

Wreck The Halls by Tessa Bailey

You can always rely on Tessa Bailey to deliver a sizzling and light-hearted contemporary romance filled with all the best loved tropes of the genre. Wreck The Halls – a standalone rom-com about the adult children of two former rock stars who team up to rekindle their mothers’ band for one last show – features polar-opposite characters reconnecting, forced proximity (hello only one bed), rock ‘n’ roll drama and plenty of witty banter. It’s like a cosy Hallmark movie, only with more spice. A must-read for long-time Bailey fans, it can be enjoyed at any time of year, but it hits all the right beats for a holiday read too. (Avon)

Flying Home For Christmas by Helen Whitaker

Thea is desperate to make it back to her family for Christmas after six months away. But when her flight home is grounded at Portland Airport by a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, she spends her entire bank balance on the last available room at a luxury airport hotel. The only problem? It’s been double booked. Logan is desperate to get home for Christmas too, so – putting aside the fact they’re total strangers and also very attracted to each other – the two decide to share. Cue the inevitable sparks. If you enjoyed Helen Whitaker’s festive rom-com Single In The Snow, you’ll adore this one just as much, if not more. It’s a pure comfort read with a serendipitous meet-cute and loveable characters. (Hodder Paperbacks)

A December To Remember by Jenny Bayliss

See Also

Half-sisters Maggie, Simone and Star have hardly seen each other since their idyllic summers spent with their eccentric, enigmatic ladies’ man father. Now, years later, the estranged women have reunited for the reading of their father’s will. But in order to unlock their inheritance, the sisters are forced to confront the lives they left behind and learn to work together. And the only place that can happen, is where it all began. Wintry small-town books don’t get any cosier than this heartening tale of complicated families, sisterhood and community spirit. (Pan)

Darker Festive Reads

Murder On The Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

For those who prefer their festive reads with less tender romance and more murder mystery, Alexandra Benedict’s modern homage to Agatha Christie will have you channelling your inner Poirot. Set aboard a derailed sleeper train in the early hours of Christmas Eve, the story sees a killer stalking the carriages, picking off the passengers one by one. It’s up to former Met detective Roz Parker to find the killer before they strike again. Contrary to the Christmassy cover, this twisty locked-room mystery is much darker than you might expect, with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. (Simon & Schuster)

The Kingdom of Sweets by Erika Johansen

The Nutcracker is synonymous with the joys and sparkle of Christmastime. Yet Erika Johansen’s standalone reimagining of the classic festive tale puts a new spin on the old story. One that captures the whimsical nature of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, whilst at the same time exploring a more sinister thread. In The Kingdom of Sweets, twin sisters Clara and Natasha become pawns in an old feud between the mysterious sorcerer Drosselmeyer and the powerful Sugar Plum Fairy. Dark in spirit and gothic in its atmosphere, this is The Nutcracker as you’ve never known it. (Bantam)

Christmas and Other Horrors: A Winter Solstice Anthology – Edited by Ellen Datlow

If you’re tired of all the cosy Christmas novels lining bookshelves this festive season, you’ll find some respite from the sugar and sparkle with this anthology of short stories inspired by the horrors of wintertime. With contributions from the likes of Alma Katsu, Garth Nix, Christopher Golden and Tananarive Due amongst others, you’re guaranteed to get chills with these superbly spine-tingling bedtime tales for adults. A fine collection for horror aficionados. (Titan Books)

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