By Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 22, 2022
Cups of hot chocolate on a snowy night. Hand-in-hand ice skating dates. Catching your cutie under the mistletoe. There's something so romantic about the holidays. That's why love stories abound this time of year. Here are thirteen delightful novels to add a little flirtation to your festivities.
Meet-cutes and witty banter make for charming couplings. Love and laughter blend perfectly in these winning stories.
Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday
Falling in love was never part of the plan. When playboy Max (aka the Duke of Aquilla) and Dani, a professor who's sworn off relationships meet in New York City at the Christmas-time wedding of their respective best friends, they bond over their shared feelings about the futility of love.
You're a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky
After a PR snafu, privileged, young Matthew is shipped off by his distant parents to spend the holidays with his grandparents in their charming small-town hellscape. Making matters even worse, he has to share space with Hector, an obnoxiously attractive local who's utterly unimpressed by everything Matthew does.
The Calum by Xio Axelrod
When Lovie's roommate drags her to the Scottish Highlands for winter break, she isn't expecting much. But then she meets Duff—back in town for his best friend's wedding—and snowflakes, sparks, and insults fly. But as they grow closer, Duff's complicated past threatens to tear them apart.
Home is where the heart is in these stories featuring characters who find love when they return to their old stomping grounds.
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae
After a tabloid blowup derails her career, LA event planner Morgan Ross retreats to her hometown for the holidays. When she reconnects with her one-time best friend turned crush Rachel Reed, the two join forces to save the Reed family's struggling tree farm—and along with it, the whole town.
Love and Latkes by Stacey Agdern
When a job opportunity brings web designer Batya back to Rivertown, New York, she's determined to face down the embarrassing history she fled years ago. Finding out her one-time crush Abe is competing in the latke fry-off she's been hired to work on, she decides this time she won't run.
Whether missing a loved one who's no longer with us or yearning for lost connections, there's a certain melancholy to the holidays. Be sure to have the kleenex on hand for these heart-wrenching yarns.
The Wish by Nicholas Sparks
Renowned travel photographer Maggie finds herself unexpectedly grounded over Christmas and struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on her young assistant, she finds herself confiding in him about another Christmas, decades earlier—and her first love.
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
When 54-year-old single mom Vivian gets the chance to tag along with her daughter on a work trip to England, she's excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights. What she doesn't expect is to fall for a certain private secretary (to the Queen).
One Last Gift by Emily Stone
When she loses her brother, Tom, just before Christmas, Emily feels lost. Finding an envelope with her name written in Tom's handwriting, she realizes it's the first clue in the Christmas scavenger hunt Tom always made for her. Will she be brave enough to accept the final gift her brother has given her?
Fake it 'til you make it! The pressure of holiday togetherness lends itself well to the faux relationship trope. These stories offer some titillating takes on pretend paramours.
Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
Broke and alone, Portland transplant Ellie agrees to her landlord's drunken proposal: posing as his fiancée for the holidays to help him procure his inheritance and alleviate her own financial woes. But when she meets his family, she's shocked to discover that his sister is the mystery woman she fell for last Christmas.
Lovelight Farms by B. K. Borisons
In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she's loved since she was a kid, Stella enters a social media contest. There's just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns it with a nonexistent boyfriend. Enter best friend Luka Peters.
The holiday season is filled with magic and mysticism. Here are stories that bring a little enchantment into the scene.
The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk
Newly single lawyer Gwen is hoping that Christmas in her hometown will salve the sting of her ailing career and broken heart. But when everyone around her seems to have their lives sorted, she ends the day feeling as muddled as ever. Then Gwen wakes up to discover it's Christmas day all over again. And again and again.
Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But in reality she's broke and squatting in Colorado. When she plays a record of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" backward, she accidentally conjures up Hall, the Holiday Spirit, in the form of a charming and handsome (if offbeat) man.
The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street by Karen White
Melanie should be looking forward to Christmas with her husband, Jack and their twin toddlers. But the ongoing excavation of the centuries-old cistern in her garden has released a host of ghosts who have invaded her home. And at least one of them is definitely not filled with holiday cheer.
If a holiday romance is your jam, get yourself a toasty beverage and curl up under a warm blanket with one of these steamy love stories. Let us know if you have any favorites to add to the list.