When the holiday seasons hits, there are trees, lights and all sorts of great holiday traditions. And for me that includes finding cheesy Christmas movies and equally romantic Christmas stories. But you see me and romance novels have a love-hate relationship. I love period romance, especially regency England, but I hate bodice-rippers. Cause that’s just porn, IMO. So finding romance novels in general that I CAN read is difficult. Add in the seasonal and time period requirements and the choices get even smaller. So you’ll find authors repeat, cause writers tend to either include porn or not. Below is my list of
CLEAN Christmas Regency Romance
A Country Christmas (Timeless Regency Collection Book 5)
This is a 3 story novella set. And this is where I admit that christmas romance and novella sets got well together. Cause Christmas equals a busy time of year. I don’t have the self control to put the story down, but know I won’t have reading time the next day. 5-9 chapters I can stay up late reading without ruining my functionality the next day. And what great chapters these are. In truth I am gonna tell you in this set you will discover Josi Kilpack work from Saints and Sinners. You’ll want to read more of her prose and characters. At least I did. And her story here, while completely predicatable (I don’t read romance novels for the shocking twists–cause that means an unhappy ending, yuck!), has an enjoyabe means of getting there. Brotherly protection develops into a sudden realization that the girl is a woman now and not much in need of protection…or a brother.
Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
This is the book for people who can’t stand, “people just talking in rooms”. Many regency romances are a lot of parlor time or ballroom time. This is a mystery starring some characters from a series called The Pink Carnation (kinda like Scarlet Pimpernel only less recognized). The Carnation himself isn’t really a part of this. That doesn’t keep the light-hearted mystery from developing. Turnip Fitzhugh is as goofy as his name and you can enjoy the whole tale as it’s trips along enjoyably through the holiday.
Winter Collection (A Timeless Romance Anthology)
OK, OK, OK, I admit not all the stories fit the time period or the holidays. But the story, “It Happened Twelth Night” does. And I sincerely enjoy this story. It’s just all about a guy falling head of heels for a girl who doesn’t even see it cause she is so uncertain of herself. I am a bit of a sucker for the “beautiful and doesn’t know it” characters. ….Plus there is a story set in my home state of Utah up a lonely cold canyon during a pioneer winter and we all love seeing our home slice in a story.
The Last Chance Christmas Ball
Clean Christmas Regency Romance where it all ends as the hero and heroine fall madly in love at a ball. (you knew something like this was coming right?) This is a fun set of novellas all centering on a single event. Every story involves characters, at the ball, trying to get to the ball, avoiding the ball, missing the ball or crossing paths at the ball. And the patroness that hosts it is out to make her ball the most “matched” one since it’s the fiftieth anniversary of holding the Last Chance Christmas Ball.
Since all the novellas are by different authors I have to admit that most are wonderful and enjoyable. Others are terrible (when you start reading the one with talking mice, just skip to the next one). Don’t let one lame story make you miss the enjoyable characters that are sometimes chasing dreams and other times chasing revenge. And moments in one story thread to moments in another story, not too tightly, but in passing. So that is fun.
Warning: this cover is provocative, but aside from one story where a kiss leads to more that we don’t read about beyond the “wake up in the morning” it’s just kissing.
Glimmer of Hope by Sarah M. Eden
The married Miranda Harford and Viscount Carl Harford live separate lives miles apart, because each believes the other left them behind. When circumstance places them at the same estate and needing to keep up an appearance for a large event, they each have to learn how to deal with each other, their bitter feelings, their personal hurt and mostly the rekindle of love.
This book is a story I absolutely love for all the emotion it pulled from me. People are wronged in this story, in a terrible way, but if some literature written at the actual time is to be believed, it’s not too far from a truthful possibility. Sara M. Eden takes efforts to write characters with very real flaws (emotional and physical), so the pain they live comes through for me. These are no perfect people. And of all the books this is the most bittersweet in it’s ending (more sweet, but still). The setting of winter and an upcoming holiday party make it a story for the season.
Sidenote: Eden wrote Friends and Foes to take place at a family gathering, during what should be Christmas, but it’s not enough of a focus to make the list…but I really do love that book too. More action and adventure and great comeback lines. And I even got to meet Sarah once and learned to call romance novels with TMI “bodice-rippers”.
I already have a stack of other books to give a try if you have read any other these clean holiday regency romance novels tell me if I should bother. And especially tell me if they aren’t clean, cause Amazon reviews don’t always let me know. If you would rather get some Christmas shopping done, check out the unicorn gift options FaveMom found, if that’s mroe your kind of Christmas magic.
Season of Love A Christmas Anthology by Carla Kelly
Christmas Grace by Jennifer Moore
Edit Updated October 2018: Ok the book below is a terrible collection of Christmas Stories, don’t even bother. There was some sketchy stuff (meaning bodice ripper) and the writing wasn’t as good as the other books above. I only left it listed so you could know if you read this article previously and wanted the info.
Christmas Revels IV 4 novellas