This Year's Heart-Warming New Holiday Romance Books Are Mistletoe-Perfect
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a set of new holiday romance books to cosy up with! This year’s most romantic holiday books cover different cultures, different time periods, and different ways of celebrating, but they all have one thing in common: a firm belief in the magic of the season to lift spirits and open up to the possibility of love. It’s what we love most about romance books, all with a special holiday twist!
Holiday romances come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you’re looking for a cosy small-town read or something a little sparklier and spicier, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for our picks for the best holiday romance novels of 2021.
The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole
The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole has a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-esque setup where one gorgeous (and possibly magical) dress links two women looking for a fresh start. Fashion student Meg returns home to manage her late father’s apartment building and strikes up two very important relationships: one, with the building’s handsome handyman, and the other, with Ellie, an elderly resident who gifts her a vintage dress with the hopes that it will bring Meg a little holiday luck and magic.
The Christmas Village by Annie Rains
Annie Rains continues her Somerset Lake series with The Christmas Village. As Lucy faces her first Christmas without her mother, she’s stuck taking in tenants in order to make ends meet. Unfortunately, her only renter is Miles, her ex who seems like he’s trying to make amends. Lucy isn’t interested in Miles – or in the town’s holiday cheer – but as the season goes on, the ice starts to thaw, and Lucy might be able to have a merry Christmas after all.
The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery
With The Christmas Wedding Guest, Susan Mallery gives us not one, but two holiday romances all in one story! Sisters Reggie and Dena are both tired of waiting and hoping for “the one” to arrive, but they’re excited to help their parents with a Christmas vow renewal. Reggie is surprised when her first love Toby reappears, while Dena finds a spark with a songwriter with a sad past, but both sisters have to learn to let themselves be loved if they want that Christmas romance.
Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday
In her newest holiday romance, Duke, Actually, Jenny Holiday follows a pair of lonely singles who discover they’re not so different after all. Max, heir to a dukedom, and Dani, a professor, are the man of honour and best woman at the upcoming wedding of their mutual best friends. The duo bond over their cynical views on romance, but as they spend more time together, they start to reevaluate that outlook.
The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
It wouldn’t be the holidays without at least one switched-identity comedy! In this cute romance, twins Charlie and Cass are both struggling with their cooking careers and their messy lives. Both looking for a pre-holiday escape from stress, they agree to switch places, only for things to get extra messy when two very handsome men enter the picture. The Holiday Swap is a classic goofy rom-com with all the right ingredients for a holiday happily-ever-after.
The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo
Rivalries don’t stop for the holidays! That’s exactly what’s afoot in Tif Marcelo’s The Holiday Switch, a fun YA romance that’s wonderful for the season. Lila’s perfect holiday plans working at a small-town inn are ruined when the boss’s nephew Teddy joins the staff and immediately butts heads with Lila. When they accidentally switch phones, however, they’re forced to realise that there’s more to each other than they’ve realised so far.
A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Sonya Lalli sets her romance A Holly Jolly Diwali during the Festival of Lights in India, where laid-off data analyst Niki is reluctantly along for the ride for her friend’s wedding festivities. Niki is immediately drawn to musician Sam, but the more time they spend together, the clearer it becomes that this isn’t just going to be the fun holiday fling Niki was looking for.
Love and Latkes by Stacey Agdern
In Stacey Agdern’s Love and Latkes, Hanukkah takes centre stage. Batya is thrilled to get a gig as the web designer for a latke contest until she finds out that it’s taking place in the hometown she fled years ago – and her long-ago unrequited crush Abe is one of the contestants. When the celebrity host of the fry-off is forced to drop out, Batya is determined to seize the opportunity, and as she and Abe spend more time together, they both start to see each other in a new light.
A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes
Anita Hughes’s A Magical New York Christmas is the perfect holiday romance for everyone who still loves the old Eloise at Christmastime made-for-TV movie and the glamour of the Plaza Hotel. Struggling journalist Sabrina takes a job ghostwriting the memoirs of a famous art dealer who once worked at the Plaza decades ago. While staying at the hotel for work, Sabrina meets Ian, a charming Brit. He assumes she’s a fellow wealthy patron, and she assumes he’s a British aristocrat – but their burgeoning romance is happening under false pretenses on both ends.
Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo
Who doesn’t love a good fake-dating trope? In Meet Me in London, Georgia Toffolo follows two very different people who embark on a fake engagement for the holidays. Department store heir Oliver needs a girlfriend to get his meddling family off his back, while aspiring designer Chelsea is looking for her big break. What starts out as a mutually beneficial arrangement slowly turns into something more against the backdrop of a London Christmastime.
A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss
A Season for Second Chances is the latest holiday romance from Jenny Bayliss, and this time, it’s all about the possibilities of starting over again. When restaurateur Annie discovers her husband cheating on her (again), she turns down his pleas to reconcile and leaves her old life behind, taking a position as a winter guardian for a historic house in a seaside town. A prickly start with the landlady’s grumpy nephew soon turns into a second chance for love and community that Annie never thought she’d get to have.
Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnne Thayne
The magic of the holidays is on full display in RaeAnne Thayne’s Sleigh Bells Ring. Annelise works as the live-in caretaker on what used to be her family’s ranch, before it was sold off to a wealthy developer. This year, she brings her recently-orphaned niece and nephew to the ranch, only to be discovered by Tate, grandson of the property owner. Instead of firing her, Tate asks Annelise to stay and help with one last Christmas before he plans to sell the property for good.
So, This Is Christmas by Tracy Andreen
Netflix may have cancelled Dash & Lily, but if you’re looking for holiday-themed YA romantic comedy, then So, This Is Christmas by Tracy Andreen is for you! When Finley returns home from boarding school for Christmas, she’s shocked to find her family and life in total upheaval. To make matters worse, one of her classmates has shown up at her family’s inn after believing Finley’s exaggerated tales of Christmas magic. To save the day, Finley has to figure out how to make her fictionalised version of the holiday season into reality.
Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey
Tessa Bailey’s latest romance is the holiday-themed Window Shopping, a love letter to the romance of Christmas and the magic of Manhattan holiday window displays. Stella unexpectedly gets hired as a window dresser by store owner Aiden, and, as you might expect, sparks start to fly. It’s a gender reversal of the usual grumpy/sunshine trope (Stella is the ex-convict grump, while Aiden is the cheery sunshine), with sweet and sexy results.
A Yuletide Kiss by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, and Mary Jo Putney
A Yuletide Kiss is a trio of Regency romances from Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, and Mary Jo Putney. Hunter’s “The Unexpected Gift” centres on an inn owner and a man on a mission who comes to stay. In Jeffries’s “When We Finally Kiss Goodnight,” a theatre critic and a playwright get a second chance at love after a failed first meeting and years of professional animosity. Putney closes out the collection with “When Strangers Meet,” the story of two guests at a snowbound inn who may or may not have a very important shared history.