C is for Christmas books whatever time of year it is

Author: Anne

Date Published: May 8th 2017, 9:48pm

I originally wrote this blog over a year ago - there seem to be more Christmas books now than there were then !


It may seem to you that it is only the middle of the year but I can tell you that Christmas is coming – and it is coming soon. I deduce this by the number of advance copies of Christmas books that I am now starting to be offered and which I am usually refusing as I cannot find myself in a Christmassy frame of mind whilst I am still holding out hope that we will have some sort of a summer this year.

Christmas books are an interesting phenomenon and one that I had quite a lot of exposure to last year because I opted to review a number of titles based on the time of year. You can find those on this site by popping the word “Christmas” in the search box on the books page.

In the real world Christmas is a very stressful time of the year. It causes debt issues, children overdose on sugar, the weather is always foul, and nothing lives up to expectations including the presents you receive. In the world of fiction Christmas is very different and books about this time of year have some consistent themes.

Firstly, Christmas in books is a time of miracles, or possibly magic depending on how the author sees things. There is a touch of whimsy about the season and things happen which you don’t expect – often there are angels in disguise. This can seriously provide an excess of sentimentality for the reader but it is also, on occasion, heart warming in a good way.

Added to the miracle theme is the importance of family at Christmas. In books this is a time for reunion and forgiveness. Families are reunited by the Christmas spirit. You might think that enforced proximity to your family for a week or so is unlikely to make you feel more warmly about them, but it is a common theme for books set at Christmas.

And then there is the snow. It always snows at Christmas in novels (unless the book is set in the Antipodes, of course). Despite the fact that in the UK it is unusual for snow to fall in late December, although it does happen from time to time, it is a recurring theme in Christmas novels and although it may cut people off or leave them without electricity so that they have to huddle in a romantic fashion around a coal fire and candles, it never, never turns to dirty slush.

You may get the feeling from this that I find Christmas novels unrealistic. This is true. I have, however, enjoyed many of them in the past as you will see from the reviews I have posted. They tend to be light and enjoyable and often romantic and provided that the sentimentality is below the level I deem unacceptable they make for quick and easy reads.

Watch out for the ones where the author plays with these preconceptions about the Christmas novel though. “Dying for Christmas” by Tammy Cohen which I reviewed on this site is definitely not for those looking for a feel good festive novel !!