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Get Your Holly Jollies with 9 New Holiday Romances

Isabelle Popp

Senior Contributor

Isabelle Popp has written all sorts of things, ranging from astrophysics research articles and math tests to crossword puzzles and poetry. These days she's writing romance. When she's not reading or writing, she's probably knitting or scouring used book stores for vintage gothic romance paperbacks. Originally from New York, she's as surprised as anyone that she lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

This list of 2019 holiday romance books is sponsored by BookClubbish.

A good book makes the best gift. Check off your holiday shopping list with the best books for friends and family.




In case you’ve already torn through that backlist, here are nine new holiday romance books published in 2019. I myself am a recovering grinch, but I’ve come so far from my old holiday-hating ways. I will even watch the odd made-for-TV holiday movie, sometimes experiencing a strange warming sensation in my thoracic cavity. Reading romance has helped me soften to the holidays over the years. Romance authors filling so many different and specific niches is one of the greatest things about the genre. Readers, in turn, can really dial into what they’re interested in specifically, instead of settling for something anodyne like a lot of holiday entertainment tends to be. All of these books piqued my interest, so I hope you’ll find something here that might make you a little holly jolly.

A Mackenzie Yuletide coverA Mackenzie Yuletide by Jennifer Ashley

I can’t ever really quit ghosts, so a great transition from spooky season to the holidays is a Hogmanay ghost story, naturally. This historical romance takes place during Yuletide and the Scottish celebration of the new year. It’s the latest entry in the long-running Mackenzie series by Jennifer Ashley. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, the first in the series, is a favorite of many readers, myself included, who enjoy rooting for offbeat main characters. We catch up with the titular Ian in this novella, who, I am not surprised to learn, does not believe in ghosts.

The Earl's Christmas Pearl coverThe Earl’s Christmas Pearl by Megan Framton

If we’re reading historical romance, I’m always happy to pick up a book by the consistently delightful Megan Framton. The cast of this book includes a corgi named Mr. Shorty, the mere idea of whom augmented my Christmas wish list by one wiggly item. It also features a main character who is accidentally left home while the rest of her family travels for Christmas. Home Alone is one of the great Christmas movies if you ask me, and I love its conceit being used as a springboard to romance instead of (admittedly hilarious) slapstick violence.

A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas coverA Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas by Jackie Lau

I appreciate that this book has one of those “does what it says on the tin” titles. Do you like second chance romances? How about road trips? If you’ve made it this far, I’m guessing you like Christmas? Yes, yes, and yes for me! Road trips are essentially a subcategory of the “forced proximity” trope that is a forever favorite of mine. There’s also a snowstorm that forces the two main characters into a motel room with ONLY ONE BED. Road trip, snowed in, one bed…I’m no mathematician but I think forced proximity cubed might vaporize me with delight.

Love in the Stacks coverLove in the Stacks by Delilah Peters

More snowed-in Christmas romance! This time, with two main characters trapped in a library on Christmas Eve. As a former library worker, I often walked the floor at closing to make sure no one was still hanging out in the stacks. No one ever tried anything illicit on my watch, thank goodness. My duty to the stewardship of the materials would have to trump my hope for people to live out their fantasies. Knowing in this case that the fictional books are in safe hands because it’s the fictional library staff being shut in makes this one all the more enticing to me.

Stocking Stuffers coverStocking Stuffers by Erin McLellan

Honestly, I might have made this list entirely out of snowed-in books, but the spice of life, etc. etc. Nonetheless, here’s another snowed-in book. With a sex toy saleswoman in possession of her bag of tricks and a beardy tattooed guy. The term “catnip” is frequently used in Romancelandia, and I suspect it applies here for a goodly number of people. The author of this book also wrote Natural Disaster, a romance I adored with the pure genius tagline “Twister, but gay,” so this holiday title has rocketed to the top of my to-read list (which maybe also happens to be my naughty list?).

royal holiday by jasmine guilloryRoyal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory’s romances are sure to be breezy, fun reads with lots of delicious food and characters whom you genuinely wish to befriend. I am thrilled by all the ways romance is diversifying, and this one featuring a romance between characters who are a little older is a welcome addition to the holiday romance canon. Add in a holiday trip to England, and I’m positively shimmying with excitement like a jiggly Christmas pudding.

A Gingerbread Romance coverA Gingerbread Romance by Lacey Baker

Speaking of food, I do love holiday narratives that revolve around food. This is a novel based on a Hallmark movie that I will undoubtedly watch! An architect and a baker team up to compete in a gingerbread house contest? If that is not the perfect recipe for romance (pun completely intended), I don’t know what is. The food in this book may be primarily structural, but the book also has an actual gingerbread recipe in it. My suggested order of operations: read the book, bake the gingerbread, watch the movie while decorating said gingerbread.

Mangoes and Mistletoe coverMangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera

How about another holiday baking challenge romance? Add to that another holiday romance set in Scotland. By one of the most exciting contemporary romance writers in the game! This romance stars two Dominicanas fighting for gustatory glory and winning love in the process. This book doesn’t come out until Christmas Eve Eve. That makes it the perfect book to save for if you, like me, sometimes need a little time alone to escape from all that family converging at Christmas time.

Eight Kisses coverEight Kisses: Eight All-New Tales of Holiday Romance edited by Mindy Klasky and Lori Ann Bailey

If you’re looking to read something before December 23, I’ve got a book for you, because Hanukkah starts December 22 this year. This book would be absolutely perfect to read over the eight nights of Hanukkah, doling out one story per night after the candles have been lit, the dreidels spun, the latkes and sufganiyot eaten. The variety of stories in this book sound like an absolute treat. Interfaith romance, foodie romance, historical romance, this book has got it all. The story “A Highlander for Hanukkah,” like so many of the other books on this list, represents an especially intriguing overlap in the Venn diagram of my interests.