Following the success of my Top 5 books to read at Halloween, I decided to follow up with a recommendation of the top 5 books to read this Christmas. Whether you’re in search of a cuddly Christmas romance to read in front of a warming fire, hot chocolate in hand, a spine tingling Christmas horror story, or even a thrilling Christmas adventure there’s something here for everyone to get the reader in you to get into the Christmas spirit.
For the thrill seeker and of course any fan of James Patterson. At number five is Merry Christmas Alex Cross. Detective Alex Cross is called out on Christmas Eve when someone tries to rob the poor box of his local church. No sooner is he back home and decorating the tree with his family than he is called back out to deal with a hostage situation quickly spiralling out of control. This novel is a sharp reminder of how different Christmas is for people who work in jobs like law enforcement. Not just for Alex but for his family as well who wait anxiously at home unsure if he will return to spend Christmas Day with them or even if he’ll come back alive.
Go on then… I’ll admit it… I’m a sucker for a romantic chic lit novel. It’s no fun being a serious reader all the time and studying books from the long eighteenth century for uni means I get enough of the serious stuff day to day.
I’ll also admit I’d never read anything by Trisha Ashley before but I certainly will be reading books by her in future.
A Christmas Cracker is centralised around the character Tabby a nice enough girl who has a bit of a bad time when she’s framed for fraud, her fiancé leaves her and sends her cat to a rescue centre. Things take a turn for the better though when she is rescued by a kindly Quaker woman who gives her a job revitalising the old cracker making factory left to her by her husband. The cute little cracker jokes at the beginning of each chapter are a great touch as well which give the Christmas feel more authenticity.
What I love about books like this one are the wonderful happy endings. The idea that no matter what goes wrong things will turn out right in the end. I love their sense of romanticism and the wonderful ideas they give you about life in general. I love the warm fuzzy feeling I got inside when I’d finished this book and also the outside interest it gave me in further researching the Quakers; A religion I previously knew nothing about.
I really liked the character of Tabby. With her sharp wit and sarcastic humour she was a very relatable character. I also loved the eccentric mill workers, grumpy Silas and ‘trouble at t’Mill’ Randall. Even the pets were great characters in their own right. There were sections to make you laugh out loud and parts that pulled at the heartstrings as well.
The story didn’t just centre around the main romantic aspects either. Family history, village life, marketing, building a business, religion and true friendship were all part of it while sensitive subjects were brought in and dealt with in a respectful manner.
The Christmas cheer it spread was perfect reading for this time of year as well. It’s left me with the feeling that I want to go and put my decorations up tomorrow and sip some mulled wine round a hot fire. A truly wonderful piece of Christmassy romantic fiction writing that gives you faith in humanity.
This was a firm favourite as a child. Chilling is exactly the right word to use to describe this book. I remember waiting with anticipation for it to come out of the Christmas box, feeling both excited and terrified to get back into stories like ‘The Road from Rushout Wood’. Featuring famous horror writers like Robert Swindells, Joan Aiken and Gillian Cross this anthology is a true Christmas horror that will stay with you for the rest of the year.
Of course this one has to be in here somewhere. One if not The most iconic Christmas novel of all. Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a book that is familiar to everyone even if their only experience of it is The Muppets version (come on we all love it). On Christmas Eve the grumpy miser Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts; past, present and future who try to change him from his stingy, unfriendly ways. Featuring loveable characters like Tiny Tim it’s a classic Christmas staple.
This one may come as a surprise to be in the number 1 spot. I’m not even sure that it qualifies as a Christmas novel especially as it does have an alternative cover with a summery picture. But I first read it at Christmas and the sparkly snow covered jacket and the beautiful romance of the story make it my favourite Christmas read of all time. It’s just not Christmas unless I’ve read it. Folly follows the story of Jamie Ballantyne and Artemis King who fall in love despite the feud between their families. The novel skips between the two lovers in the present and the story of the feuds origins in the past. A beautiful wintry tale. Perfect to snuggle up to.