The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski illustrated by P. J. Lynch – a picture book classic aimed at readers between 6 and 12 or those of us who love beautiful picture books. It is a warm story in the mode of A Christmas Carol with an embittered man being transformed by a young boy and his mother when they hire him to carve a Christmas creche for them.
Short stories by Louisa May Alcott and L. M Montgomery and The Christmas Carol (which it was pointed out is a richer story than the movie version make it seem.)
An English Murder by Cyril Hare – classic detective story from a golden age crime writer. Recommended as very good.
Making a list and checking it twice by George Jackson – published as an e-book and part of The Falls small town mystery series. Not really recommended – not much of a mystery and in serious need of an editor for punctuation and word use.
No Holly for Miss Quinn – by Miss Read – enjoyable story of life in England – cozy Christmas read with some nice information about English Christmas traditions.
A Christmas Journey by Ann Perry – set in high society in the mid 1800’s but not highly recommended as the characters didn’t ring true.
Christmas Holiday by Somerset Maugham – set during the Christmas season with a young Englishman taking a vacation in Paris but not much holiday spirit – a good book though.
The Last Noel by Michael Malone – story set in the south beginning in the early 60’s featuring two children – a rich white girl and the grandson of her family’s black maid who become great friends. The story follows them throughout their lives as it becomes obvious that they are more than friends – picking up every few years during the holidays – structured as the 12 days of Christmas. This one is a tear jerker.
Silent Night – Robert Parker and Helen Brann – actually written by Helen Brann who was his literary agent. It is is a Spenser and Hawk caper as they get involved with a case involving a street kid and an unlicensed shelter – they beat some people up and then Spenser goes home and cooks a turducken.
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci – if you have only read his thrillers, this one might be a surprise as it’s a romance. Begins when a disillusioned journalist decides to take a cross country train at Christmas to write a story. Some humor, some romance, an avalanche stranded train, a Hollywood director, some incredibly nice talented train personnel — a very light bit of holiday reading.
A Quilt for Christmas – Sandra Dallas – set in Kansas during the last days of the Civil War and the aftermath, it follows a woman who is managing the farm with her children after her husband goes off to fight for the Union. She is surrounded by other woman in the same predicament and a few men who aren’t fighting who will help and some who aren’t fighting and won’t. Very enjoyable – and for those who read Sandra Dallas’ Persian Pickle Club she has briefly indicated that the woman in this book are the grandmothers of the women in that one.
The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Perlman – includes recipes and cooking information. Cookie recipes weren’t tried – the story was described as weak. A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas or A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote recommended as better choices.