ON THE SHELF: Get ready for some holiday romance with these festive titles

Published 10:02 am Saturday, December 2, 2023

This column is submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features Christmas titles in the New Adult Fiction collection.

“The Twelve Dogs of Christmas,” is by bestselling author Susan Wiggs. Christmas is the last thing on Brenda Malloy’s mind. Last year on Christmas, she and her husband rushed their dog to the vet. The good news was the vet was able to clear the obstruction — a pair of women’s underwear. The bad news: they weren’t Brenda’s.

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The year since the breakup has been hard but rewarding. She has trained for a marathon, written a children’s book, and spent time volunteering at a dog rescue in Houston. This Christmas, Brenda is transporting several dogs from Houston to the Catskills in New York so that the adoptive families can have a joyous holiday. Her friends worry about her and the long trip. When a snowstorm hits and one of the pooches escapes, Brenda has a chance encounter with Adam — a single dad and EMT — who helps her out. She decides to stay a little longer in New York and, as she delivers each dog to its new loving home, she begins to feel the spirit of Christmas in her heart once again.

Mary Kay Andrews’s newest is called, “Bright Lights, Big Christmas.” As fall descends on the family Christmas tree farm in North Carolina, Kerry Tolliver is sent to help her gruff older brother and his dog Queenie sell their trees on a corner in Greenwich Village in New York City. This will be her first time experiencing the Big Apple, and Kerry is looking forward to the adventure of sharing a small vintage camper and getting to know the charming neighbors. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family. Complicating things a bit is Patrick and his dragon-loving son. Kerry and Patrick have chemistry, but is that enough to sustain an actual relationship?

Perpetual bestseller Fern Michaels has penned a holiday romp with, “Santa & Company.” Longtime friends Amy, Frankie, Rachael, and Nina reunited; they took a fun singles cruise. This time they’ve decided to spend their winter break skiing far from their lives in Los Angeles. Crisp snow and fresh air by day, cozy fires and delicious food by night, capped off by meeting up with their significant others for a New Year’s Eve celebration. When Frankie decides to go snowshoeing alone, she winds up twisting her ankle and losing her phone in the snow. It’s a good thing that the rugged and reclusive Troy Manchester shows up and helps her get back to the ski lodge. Once at the lodge, Troy encounters part of his life in Los Angeles that he thought he left behind. Nina is visiting the gift shop when she runs into someone from her past. The mischievous Rachael and her sidekick Amy set out to patch up old friendships and spread the cheer of the holiday to everyone.

Liz Talley has authored a romantic Christmas romp with, “A Down Home Christmas.” Country music sensation Kris Trabeau has come to Charming, Mississippi, to convince his aunt to sell the family farm and move into a nice retirement community. Well, his aunt doesn’t want any of that plan, so she enlists the help of her friend and schoolteacher Tory Odom. Kris’s aunt hopes she and Tory can help remind him how much the farm means; especially at Christmas. Tory is also busy co-chairing the children’s concert and silent auction, though she doesn’t have much of the Christmas spirit this year. When Kris agrees to help with the concert, he gets to know the children and the attraction between he and Tory grows. Will he trade the spotlight and glamour for the place where his music began?

“The Christmas Key,” is a romance by Lori Wilde. There’s a legend in Twilight, Texas. If you sleep with a kismet cookie under your pillow on Christmas Eve, you will dream of your one true love. Naomi Luther was standing face-to-face with the man she’d dreamed about over a year ago. Was it the magic of kismet Christmas cookies that brought him to her? Or is there an even greater force at work? All Naomi knows is she is falling, hard and fast, for the one man all good sense says she should not have. Rebellious Mark Shepherd found order in the Marines but chaos on the battlefield. In a mission gone wrong, Mark is injured and one of his fellow soldiers loses his life. Haunted by guilt, he arrives in Twilight to keep a solemn promise. But the Luthers mistake him
for their handyman and Mark is swept up in playing Santa to his buddy’s orphan son and falling hard for Naomi’s irresistible bright spirit and sweet, sexy smile. But what will happen when she learns the truth?

The fourth entry in Ashton Lee’s Cherry Cola Book Club series is called, “A Cherry Cola Christmas.” Christmas is coming to the small town of Cherico, Mississippi, and there’s no better way to prepare than with the Cherry Cola Book Club’s feast of good food, good books — and good people. Cherico’s newlywed librarian Maura Beth Mayhew is back from her honeymoon and she and Jeremy McShay are settling into married life. Maura Beth’s father has even given them the down payment on a charming cottage. But as the holidays approach, Cherico’s economy is struggling. Beloved local shops have closed, jobs have been lost, and there’s even a mysterious crime spree afoot. Amid the gloom, Maura Beth decides what the community needs is a healthy dose of Christmas cheer — which means a special meeting of the Cherry Cola Book Club. Along with the delicious potluck offerings everyone has come to expect, Maura Beth has invited members and the public to share their most uplifting stories—and share they do. From poignant stories of grief and renewal to joyful stories of love and new life, Cherico’s residents infuse the gathering with so much hope and courage they just might inspire a culprit’s confession and conjure a holiday miracle that could save the town — and Christmas.