Get in holiday spirit at Vicksburg library

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 13, 2015

With Christmas fast approaching, I thought the following fiction titles would help get you into the spirit of the holidays!

“The Bark Before Christmas” by Laurien Berenson is a Christmastime cozy mystery. Christmas in Connecticut is absolutely beautiful, but Melanie Travis is having a hard time enjoying the festivities. Her youngest son will soon be a toddler and she has decided to return to her old job at the posh private school that is attended by the children of the wealthiest citizens of Greenwich. She is now balancing work, motherhood and the chaotic dog show circuit. On top of all this, the headmaster has decided that Melanie would be perfect to chair the school’s Christmas Bazaar. This is the school’s biggest and most important fundraiser of the year. Melanie enlists the help of her uncomplaining sister-in-law, Bertie, to help with Santa Claus and the Pets Photo Booth. Unfortunately, a prize show dog goes missing and Santa turns up dead. The dog’s owner also happens to be the school’s most influential patron; and she enlists Melanie’s help to find her beloved pooch. Poor Melanie finds more sinister secrets than she cares to and when they come to light everyone is sure to feel less than merry.

“A Christmas Escape” is a novel by Anne Perry. Charles Latterly is feeling despondent and he hopes that the Mediterranean island of Stromboli, with its blue skies and gentle breezes, will brighten his spirits. Unfortunately, when he arrives at his small hotel, there is no cheer to be found among his fellow guests. This dreary bunch includes a pompous novelist, a stuffy colonel, a volatile, ill-fitting married couple, and an ailing elderly man. The one exception is teenager Candace Finbar, who takes Charles under her wing and shows him the beauty of this little island. It isn’t long; however, before a violent quarrel, a grumpy man’s claims of being stalked, and the foreboding grumblings from the local volcano shatter the tranquility of Charles’s holiday. Then, things take an even darker turn when a body is found and Charles realizes that the killer has to be among the guests at the hotel.

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“A Cherry Cola Christmas” by Ashton Lee is a Cherry Cola Book Club Novel. Now that Cherico’s newlywed librarian Maura Beth Mayhew is back from her honeymoon, she and her husband Jeremy McShay are settling into their married life. Maura Beth’s father has generously given them a down payment on a charming cottage, but as the holiday approaches, the local economy seems to be struggling. Favorite local shops have closed, jobs have been lost, and a mysterious crime spree is all everyone seems to be talking about. Maura Beth decides that there is no better time for a dose of Christmas cheer — which means that the Cherry Cola Book Club will call a special meeting. Maura Beth invites members of the public to share their most uplifting stories as well as their most delicious pot luck dishes. The community shares poignant stories of grief and renewal as well as joyful stories of love and new life. The residents of Cherico infuse their gathering with so much hope and courage that they may just inspire a culprit’s confession and spark a holiday miracle that can save the whole town. Don’t forget to get the recipe for Fat Mama’s Tamales (Natchez, Mississippi) at the back of the book!

In “The Last Chance Christmas Ball” edited by Mary Jo Putney, we have a collection of short stories that expand on a common theme. Set during the post-French Wars in Regency England. It’s Christmastime and the dowager Countess of Holbourne has decided to give her Last Chance Ball (for spinsters to seize the moment) at Holbourne House. The stories are centered on those would-be guests. In “My True Love Hath My Heart” by Joanna Bourne, a longtime love is rekindled, the chance to right an injustice arises, the future of a romance is determined, and a jewelry theft is thrown in for good measure. A doctor home from the horrors of Waterloo is reacquainted with his mentor’s daughter in “A Scottish Carol” by Susan King. Ivor Whitney-Harris–damaged and disoriented—returns home from the war and attempts to rekindle a romance with Sara Jane Langsdale–his childhood friend–but he begins hearing mice in the walls in “Christmas Larks” by Patricia Rice. These stories plus five more will surely kindle the romantic spirit of the holiday.

Evangeline Cessna is local history librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.










“Winter Stroll” is a novel by Elin Hilderbrand. As Christmas approaches on Nantucket, Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn reflects on the past year as he writes his holiday letter to family and friends. Even though the past year has brought its share of misfortune and worries, the Quinns have much to celebrate. Kelley is now single, but he is also on better terms with his first wife, Margaret. Margaret, in turn, is using her celebrity as a news anchor to lure more and more customers to the inn. Their son, Kevin, has a beautiful new baby named Genevieve with the inn’s French housekeeper, Isabelle. Ava, their daughter, is finally dating a nice guy—her colleague, Scott. Just as everyone is beginning to celebrate Genevieve’s baptism, the arrival of Isabelle’s family, and the traditional Nantucket Christmas Stroll, Kelley’s estranged second wife, Mitzi, turns up. She has soured on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Mitzi isn’t the only ghost of Christmases past to show up. Before it’s all over, jealousy, passion, and a lot of eggnog consumption will play out underneath the mistletoe.