Heating up the Holidays with Theresa Romain!
Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book.
Holiday Book Traditions
Christmas is a time of traditions: of food, gift exchanges, decorations, family visits; of joyful moments and (let’s be honest) sometimes tense ones too.
Over the years, I’ve developed my own traditions related to books. Once the weather turns cold, I love to curl up with a festive read. Sometimes they remind me of what I love about the holidays; sometimes they make me grateful for what I have. Sometimes they’re just for fun! Here are a few of the holiday books I’ve revisited year after year.
1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.
Don’t take away my reader card, but this tradition started with a film adaptation called Scrooge. Every year since I was about seven years old, my family has watched this. It’s a musical featuring young Albert Finney as Scrooges old and young (trust me, it works). As a teen, after seeing Scrooge time and again, I finally read the book that inspired so many adaptations. A Christmas Carol is a short book, about novella length, and incredibly vivid. Short as it is, it includes some lovely scenes that aren’t often included in film versions. Check it out for the whole story of Scrooge’s redemption.
2. Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, Connie Willis.
Connie Willis is best known as a science-fiction writer, but her books also include mystery, history, romance, wit, and humor. In Miracle, there’s a story for everyone, no matter what mood you’re in. Flooded with joy? Overwhelmed? Ready for a break? Craving a little romance? They’re all here. Seasonal underpinnings are religious in some stories, secular in others. I would tell you my favorite, but I’ve never been able to settle on just one.
3. Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories, L.M. Montgomery.
I’m sure I’m in company with many of you in having loved the Anne books growing up. Besides her novels, L.M. Montgomery wrote hundreds of short stories, and in the 1990s, some of these were finally collected by theme and published. (Now you can get all the stories on Project Gutenberg!) As you can guess from the title, this book includes holiday chapters from the Anne books, as well as stand-alone stories. These are gentle, cozy tales, perfect for when you have ten or fifteen minutes and you want to wind down.
4. A really delicious holiday romance. Every year, new holiday romances are published, and I rarely feel more content than when I’m browsing bookstore shelves for my next festive HEA. In the past, I’ve loved Mary Balogh’s A Christmas Promise, Courtney Milan’s This Wicked Gift and A Kiss for Midwinter, and Sarah Morgan’s Sleigh Bells in the Snow. This year, I’ve snapped up Christmas in the Duke’s Arms and Christmas Brides—two marvelous anthologies by the other authors visiting today! Be sure to check those out. J
5. Whatever I’m writing. For the past several years, I’ve had a tradition of working through the holidays. January deadlines kept me writing, revising, polishing, writing more, revising yet again. This year, I’m turning in a book in mid-November, so I’ll be free for holiday leisure! Er, except for my next spring deadline…
Do you have any book traditions, either for the winter holidays or for some other time of year? Tell me all about it!
One random commenter will win two of my Holiday Pleasures romances: SEASON FOR SCANDAL and SEASON FOR DESIRE. Open internationally! Winner’s choice of print copies, Kindle books, or Nook books.
Theresa is also hosting a giveaway for her newsletter subscribers. Subscribe at her website.
Don't forget to "like" The Romance Dish Facebook page for a chance to win a four-book giveaway from today's authors!
Like her four sisters, Lady Audrina Bradleigh is expected to marry a duke, lead fashion, and behave with propriety. Consequently, Audrina pursues mischief with gusto, attending scandalous parties and indulging in illicit affairs. But when an erstwhile lover threatens to ruin her reputation, Audrina has no choice but to find a respectable husband at once.
Who would guess that her search would lead her to Giles Rutherford, a blunt-spoken American on a treasure hunt of his own? When a Christmas snowstorm strands the pair at a country inn, more secrets are traded than gifts—along with kisses that require no mistletoe—and Audrina discovers even proper gentlemen have their wicked side…
Book order links:
Print: amazon • barnes & noble • books-a-million • indiebound • indigo • walmart
Welcome, Theresa! I love the holiday romance reading season. Happy to say I kicked off this year's Christmas romance reading with your Season for Desire. Loved it! ♥ReplyDelete
Thank you, PJ! So glad you liked it. :) Having traditions, from food to books, does seem to make the holiday season more special, doesn't it?Delete
Thanks so much for hosting us at the Dish today!
Thanks for the chance to win. I don't have a "must read" for Christmas but I've got lots of "must watch" movies-some were books- if that counts? "Saving Christmas" AKA "Skipping Christmas" is one I never miss. "Charlie Brown Christmas", "A Christmas Story", and "Elf" are always watched too. I bought "It was the Night Before Christmas" book but did not get around to reading it last year. Maybe this year I will start that tradition. On a side note, most the time when a new book in a series comes out, I reread the other books prior to it. That's prob, the closest tradition book thing I've got going on. :)ReplyDelete
I love holiday movies, Sally. This time of year I stock up on tissues and set my DVR to record the new Hallmark Channel holiday movie every Saturday night. One of my favorite traditions and, yes, I'm a crier. LOL!Delete
Sally, I have the same book tradition year-round. :) I love hearing about movie traditions too! We often wind up watching A Christmas Story and Elf along with the Scrooge adaptation I mentioned.Delete
I keep a stack of Christmas books on the coffee table.ReplyDelete
What a good idea! I think I'll do that too. Do you have old favorites that you read every year or do you focus on the new releases?Delete
So handy to pick up and browse! What's in the stack, or have you put one together yet?Delete
There are classics, new books, some of the kids' books, anything I've collected over the years. I got the idea from a friend's mom. She died a couple of weeks after we met to exchange Christmas gifts in 93. I guess I've been honoring her memory for 20 years.Delete
What a lovely way to honor her memory. ♥Delete
That really is. Thanks for sharing your tradition, D.Delete
We read The Polar Express starting Thanksgiving night and throughout the holidays until Christmas morning.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful tradition! We love watching the movie and usually gather at some point over the holidays, snug in our pj's and cozy blankets, to watch it as a family.Delete
That's what my list is missing--a shared book tradition with family. Sheryl, this is such a cool idea.Delete
I have a container full of Christmas romance books, both contemporary and historical. Some of them go way back to when Signet published Regency Christmas anthologies. They're still some of my favorite holiday stories. I usually get the container out the day after Thanksgiving & start reading. This year I'll be adding lots of new Christmas romances. I may need a bigger container!ReplyDelete
Judy, I wish I could browse your container of Christmas books! That's got to be so fun to pull it out every year and look through favorites.Delete
I have a friend who does the same, Judy. I got rid of a lot of my holiday romances when I downsized a couple years ago. Wishing now that I'd kept them. :(Delete
I love holiday romances set during Christmas time! We can never get enough of those beautiful festive stories! Thank you for giving away your books!ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by, Nicole! I'm glad you enjoy Christmas books as much as I do. :)Delete
I agree, Nicole!Delete
My tradition for Christmas is we bake Shortbread cookies. The recipe was handed down from my great-grandmother :)ReplyDelete
Yum, Aimée! Do you make them as a family, or is there a designated bake? My mom and I have taken over the Christmas baking tradition of cuccidatis (fruit-filled pastries) and we send them to relatives.Delete
Albert Finney musical? I'm in!ReplyDelete
It's so good! Even after all these years, I notice new layers in the story. The songs have so much of that dry British wit--there's one that rhymes "inexplicable" with "kickable" and "despicable."Delete
My holiday book favorites are all the stories I read to the Essex sprigs when they were little: Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree; I'll be Home for Christmas with Toot & Puddles; Santa Calls; The Polar Express... Oh, I could go on for hours.
But I will say I am incredibly excited to hear about the Montgomery story collections. Anne of Green Gables was one of the favorites of my youth, and I would love to read some of her stories that are new-to-me! Thanks so much for sharing!
Hi, Elizabeth! Ooh, thank you for listing out those titles. Little Miss R and I have read The Polar Express, but none of the others. I see a library visit in our future. (Well, honestly, there's ALWAYS a library visit in our future, but you know what I mean.)Delete
Yes, A Christmas Carol but I also have a childrens book that my kids and I still read (20 and 22). It is about a Christmas Morning on the farm. It is just such a sweet read and we loved it when I first read it to them, so we reread every year. I love the holidays and all the stories and books that come out now. And yes, I am a sucker for reading the year round. Love your books Theresa!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Hope--that's lovely to hear. :) What is the title of the farm book? Is it called "Christmas Morning on the Farm"? I wonder if I could find a copy to read with Little Miss R.Delete
There are a couple of books that I read every year before Christmas. The first is Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story. It's absolutely heart-warming! I read it to my kids last year, and they've both asked about it recently. Yes, I assured them...we'll be reading it again. This time we're going to take turns reading the book. I'm really looking forward to it, since the teen & tween rarely agree on anything.ReplyDelete
The other book that I read this time of year is Lisa Kleypas' A Wallflower Christmas. It's one of my favorites & always leaves me smiling. I'm a sucker for a great holiday romance, so this is my absolute favorite time of the year to read!
They've made a movie of Wishin' and Hopin'. I'm not sure, though, whether it will be theatrically released or if it will be on TV. I follow Wally Lamb on Facebook and he posted about the making of the movie.Delete
Cool news, Judy. Michelle, if you watch it, I wonder how it will compare to the book??Delete
I've loved the Wallflower series too, but I haven't read the Christmas novella since it came out. Thanks for the reminder; it's past time for a reread.
Thanks for sharing that with me, Judy. I just visited his page & it looks like it's going to be aired on Lifetime on December 6th. It has quite a lineup, so I have high hopes for the movie! I can't wait to tell my kids when they get home this afternoon.Delete
Molly Ringwald, Annabella Sciorra, Meat Loaf, Conchata Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, Danny Nucci, Wyatt Ralff, Quinn McColgan and Chevy Chase
One family tradition at Christmastime is to make Danish pebbern nodder cookies. They are much different than German pepper nuts in that there is no molasses and only 1/4 teaspoon of pepper for the 12 cups of flour. Made with lard, they literally melt in your mouth! We also make woven paper heart baskets to hang on the lower branches of the tree along with the garland of little Danish flags. (My grandfather immigrated from Denmark, and we are proud of our Danish roots.)ReplyDelete
I read THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER to my fifth graders every year. I also read all of Jan Brett's Christmas picture books; awesome author and illustrator! Another favorite picture book is THE YEAR OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE.
Favorite movie, hands-down....WHITE CHRISTMAS. But, enjoy the movies on the Hallmark Channel, too. :)
Deb, I've never had those cookies and now you make me really want to try them. Is it a difficult recipe? Would you be able to share?Delete
Ah, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! I haven't read that in so long. I wonder if my daughter (6 years) is quite old enough for it this year? We might give it a try. I think she'd enjoy meeting the Herdmans.
I love reading/rereading Christmas collections especially Regencies. I am going to add to the discussion watching the classic tv shows too like Rudolph.ReplyDelete
There's no favorite like a classic favorite, is there, knye?Delete
Miracle! So good! That's one of my traditions; I also have a few children's/YA Christmas books I love, particularly Forever Rose by Hilary McKay (it's the last in a series and best if you've read the others, but lovely on its own).ReplyDelete
*facepalm* I forgot Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. How could I forget Hogfather? It takes place over Hogswatchnight, a Discworld celebration that bears a certain resemblance to a certain Earth-based winter-solstice-ish holiday, and it's SO GOOD.Delete
Hogfather! I haven't read that, but now I must. Who could resist that title??Delete
When the holidays hit, I enjoy reading a Christmas-themed romance book or watching a holiday movie, such as Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Carol. Also, our local playhouse usually performs A Christmas Carol and I caught that a few years ago. There's nothing quite like experiencing a play.ReplyDelete
Good idea! Need to check local theaters to see if anyone is performing A Christmas Carol this year.Delete
Kim, that is really special, I agree. A composer in my city came up with a new musical version of A Christmas Carol a few years ago, and it's already become a local tradition.Delete
I think you would like Miracle by Connie Willis, at least the title story! It's a sweet, romantic short story with an ongoing plot thread about Miracle on 34th Street vs. It's a Wonderful Life.
I like Connie Willis. Looks like I need to find a copy of Miracle!Delete
Judy, if you already like Connie Willis, I think you're going to enjoy Miracle!Delete
I buy myself books as a Christmas gift for myself.ReplyDelete
Excellent idea! After all, who knows your taste better than you? ;-)Delete
I have to second PJ here, jcp. That's a great idea, because you know you're going to get something you enjoy!Delete
Lots of great book recs. Thanks, everyone! I start reading Christmas romances late October-early November but once Thanksgiving rolls around I typically focus on holiday novellas. I'm so busy from then through the end of the year that I rarely have time to devote to a full-length book. Christmas novellas are the perfect nugget of holiday happiness that I need to get me through the rest of the holiday craziness.;-)ReplyDelete
I'm on deadline, PJ, so I've been reading novellas too--they suit my shorter bites of reading time. The two holiday anthologies that are part of this event (Christmas Brides and Christmas in the Duke's Arms) are both awesome! And I just started Sophie Jordan's An Heiress for All Seasons--so far, lots of fun.Delete
Both anthologies are on my Kindle waiting for me, Theresa. :)Delete
The only book type tradition we have is to read the Christmas story from the bible the night before opening gifts to (temporarily at least) remind us that Christmas is not just about the orgy of presents. Other than that I really don't have a book tradition, except I won't read a holiday novel out of season.ReplyDelete
adaffern, what a wonderful tradition for your family. I like the idea of reading the Christmas story aloud. We go to church as a family, but I think my daughter (6 years old) would take in the story better if we read it at home too.Delete
We don't have any holiday traditions of reading a particular book. However, whenever, I am sick (especially with a fever), I like to reread my favorite romance novels. They always make me feel better.ReplyDelete
Elizabeth, I do that too! I hardly ever reread--the TBR is just too big--but when I'm sick, I'll go for a comfort book. Julia Quinn's Bridgertons are among my favorites.Delete
We don't read any particular books for the Holidays but we do watch the movie Elf. It always puts us in a good mood.ReplyDelete
RM, there are so many funny bits in that movie. And believe it or not, I'd never heard the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" before seeing Elf. How was that possible?Delete
I love Elf. It's just such a feel good kind of movie!Delete
This is the only time of year that I make that addictive snack mix of pretzels, nuts, cereals, etc..with butter.... And then I give most of it away or I'd never be able to leave my house because the doors would be too small.... Oh and I read lots of holiday books and watch Hallmark Channel for Christmas movies!ReplyDelete
girlygirlhoosier, I shouldn't ask, but I'm going to... what's the recipe??Delete
I'm a total slave to that snack mix...which is why I rarely make it. Even worse, at Christmas I make a version of it that includes M&Ms and is coated in white chocolate. I really can't say no to that one! *grin*Delete
I *really* shouldn't ask for your recipe, PJ! I have more than one sweet tooth. All my teeth are sweet.Delete
It's pretty easy to make, Theresa. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cheerios, 2 cups wheat chex, 2 cups rice chex, 1 cup pretzels, 1 cup peanuts and 1 bag M&M's. Pour 2 cups melted white chocolate over mixture, toss to coat then spread onto wax paper to set. Enjoy!Delete
Reading Christmas books is one of my favorite holiday rituals, one that starts in November and lasts through early January. I reread beloved books from childhood through last year. My romance rereads are too many to mention, but two favorite children's books not mentioned by others are The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and Anna Grossnickle Hines's Winter Lights, which celebrates all the winter holidays beautifully in poems and quilts.ReplyDelete
Janga, thank you for the recommendations! I've made a note of both. I won't have a right-after-Christmas deadline this year, so I'll take more time to read holiday books with my daughter.Delete
Janga, you were the first person I thought of when I read Theresa's post! :)Delete
Wow! That three hours sure went fast! Theresa, thank you so much for heating up the holidays with us today and for all the wonderful holiday reading recommendations!ReplyDelete
Thank you for hosting me! What a great time. I've been copying all these titles, and I am going to hit the library and bookstore HARD once I get through my deadline.ReplyDelete
Thanks to everyone who joined in! Hope you all can stick around for a bit--the delightful Valerie Bowman is up next. :)
Congratulations to Michelle H! You're Theresa's winner! Check the Theresa Romain Winner post for instructions to claim your prize.ReplyDelete
Please welcome Valerie Bowman as she blogs about the magic of Christmas! Valerie will be here until 6 pm.ReplyDelete