Which Romance Novel To Read Next, Based On Your Favorite Hallmark Holiday Movie
I have a confession to make: I never watched Hallmark holiday movies before this year. I know, I know. Sure, I had flicked past a couple during past holiday seasons, settling on one without really paying attention, having already written them off as corny fluff. And despite being a huge fan of all things holiday, I just couldn't get past what I thought were silly plots and subpar acting. And, yes, it is true that there is definitely some supreme corniness and cringe-worthy antics to be had amongst the hundreds of holiday films.
But my daily turn to Hallmark Channel has revealed tons of gems, too. Sweet stories of family and friendship, love and life, and the twinkly spirit of the holiday season, all there to sink into with a nice mug of hot chocolate in hand. Maybe it took the never-ending nightmares of 2016 and 2017, and my need for more joy, festivity, and silly fun for me to get past my unfair assessment of Hallmark movies, but let's just say I'm converted. And now I'm looking for more of these feels in everything, including some great books to read this time of year.
Below are some festive books like Hallmark movies to read after you've finished rewatching your favorites for the hundredth time. Because there are so many films to choose from, these are some of the newest, most popular and personal favorites of mine. Hopefully you'll find a few of your favorites on the list, too.
Love 'Christmas In Homestead'? Read 'Yours For Christmas' by Susan Mallery
What The Movie Is About: A famous actress heads to the Christmas-obsessed town of Homestead, Iowa, to shoot a holiday-themed movie. She is thrown for a loop when a romance brews between her and local inn keeper and single dad, Matt. As she gets a taste of small-town life, she discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
What the Book Is About: Famous NFL stars don't date single working moms like Bailey Voss. She'll allow herself to daydream about Kenny Scott, but wanting more would lead to post-holiday regret. Then Kenny volunteers to run a toy drive with Bailey, and she learns that he's not just hot…he's also generous, funny, nice. Past loss reminds Kenny why he needs to avoid getting too close to anyone. Especially to Bailey and her adorable little girl. Mess it up, and he'd lose them both. But as festive spirit spreads throughout the town, he's determined to make this the first of many Christmases together.
Why You'll Like It: Both are a sweet take on unexpected holiday romance, the love of family, overcoming life-changing loss and learning to see the real person behind the veneer of fame.
Love 'Naughty Or Nice'? Read 'Landline' by Rainbow Rowell
What The Movie Is About: After she is fired from her job, Krissy Kringle is in no mood for all the misdirected Santa mail she receives to her home on Candy Cane Lane. But one package in particular stands out: Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” book. After Krissy realizes that the book is magical she sets out to expose everyone she knows who has been naughty... including, she is shocked to discover, her boyfriend Lance.
What The Book Is About: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her — but that almost seems beside the point now. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She knows that Neal will be upset with her, but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go without her. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past and she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts.
Why You'll Like It: These two Christmas stories are less about finding new love and more about rekindling the one you already have. With special magical powers that reveal new things about loved ones (and enemies) and two heroines who are in need or some serious Christmas cheer, Landline will give you the same snarky meets sweet feels as Naughty or Nice.
Love 'The Christmas Train'? Read 'Let It Snow' by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
What The Movie Is About: A journalist embarks on a cross-country train ride at Christmas having no idea this journey will take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart.
What The Book Is About: The first of these three holiday romances, The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson, follows a girl named Jubilee who, when her parents are arrested during a shopping riot, is forced to travel to her grandparents for Christmas. But when her train is stranded in a storm she meets Stuart, whose family takes her in for the holidays. Is Jubilee falling for him despite her "perfect" boyfriend back home?
Why You'll Like It: Sure, you could read David Baldacci's The Christmas Train (on which the film is based), but if you want a whole new set of plots and characters with similar travel-based holiday romance, the three interconnected stories in Let it Snow are pitch perfect.
Love 'Every Christmas Has A Story'? Read 'There's Something About Christmas' by Debbie Macomber
What The Movie Is About: When a TV personality admits she hates Christmas on air, she is invited to the Most Christmas-y town in the U.S. to try and repair her image. Forced to work with her ex-boyfriend Jack, the show's producer, the magic of Christmas and this special town will change the way she views everything.
What The Book Is About: Christmas is a time for…fruitcake. Rookie reporter Emma Collins hates fruitcake; for that matter, she hates Christmas, too. But when three Washington State women are finalists in a national fruitcake contest, the story is assigned to her. That’s bad enough. It gets worse when she has to fly in a small plane with a smart-aleck pilot named Oliver Hamilton and his scruffy dog. But in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Emma falls for Oliver and his mutt, Oscar. And she meets three wise women who know a lot about fruitcake—and even more about life.
Why You'll Like It: A reporter who could give Scrooge a run for his bah humbugs, assigned to a holiday story? Check. Major small town charm? Check. An unexpected romance and rediscovering the magic of Christmas? Check. If you're a fan of Every Christmas Has a Story and you haven't picked up There's Something About Christmas yet, consider this your much-needed push.
Love 'The Christmas Parade'? Read 'Snow Angel Cove' by RaeAnne Thayne
What The Movie Is About: Hailee Anderson is humiliated when her fiancé, Jason is revealed to be cheating. When Hailee takes off in her car she ends up running over a judge’s Christmas display, and finds herself stuck in the town of Carver Bend with 25 hours of community service. She’s befriended by Beck Thomas, a local artist. He asks for her help to save the local community art center, by building their float for the Christmas Parade. Short on holiday spirit Hailee has to find figure out what Christmas is all about.
What The Book Is About: Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward's Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke and now she's stuck in an unfamiliar small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a hero, but she's not expecting one who almost runs her down with his car! Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. And soon he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew what his life was missing before Eliza, but now he's willing to risk his heart on a yuletide romance that could lead to forever.
Why You'll Like It: There are too many similarities here to count: the woman whose career has hit a major snag, a minor car accident that leads to a meet-cute, a man more focused on his work, and his small town, than finding romance. If The Christmas Parade is your film of choice, you are bound to love Snow Angel Cove.
Love 'A Very Merry Mix-Up?' Read 'My New Crush Gave To Me' by Shani Petroff
What The Movie Is About: Alice Chapman is nervous to meet her future in-laws at Christmas, especially because she is arriving ahead of her new fiancé Will. When her luggage is lost and her phone is damaged, she has no way to find Will's family. As fate would have it, she meets her future brother-in-law, Matt at baggage claim. As Alice meets Matt's doting family, she feels at home. Soon Alice must decide which brother is actually the one.
What The Book Is About: Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. But he barely knows she exists. Still Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo's cousin. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie. Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?
Why You'll Like It: Two romantic holiday mix-ups? What more could you ask for? Both of these explore what it means to really find true love, what really matters most to us, all mashed up with those special holiday moments? My New Crush Gave to Me is beyond the bookish companion to A Very Merry Mix-Up.
Love 'On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas'? Read '12 Days Of Christmas' by Debbie Macomber
What The Movie Is About: Maggie Dunlop is thrilled when her long time crush, Mitch, moves to her town. Once Maggie discovers Mitch has lost his love for Christmas, she vows to bring the holiday spirit back in his life. Determined to show him the magic of Christmas, she decides to create 12 Christmas gifts that ask him to do fun Christmas tasks. But when a column she is writing about the experience is exposed, it could all be for nothing.
What The Book Is About: Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. But she’s determined to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior with acts of kindness. To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. While Julie's first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful, her blog becomes a sensation. Julia continues her project and, little by little, feels herself falling for Cain. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if she should tell Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world.
Why You'll Like It: A cheerful woman with mega Christmas spirit tries to change a curmudgeonly man's life with some holiday magic. But when she uses the story for her own gain, and then falls in love with him, she has to hope her efforts don't totally backfire. Sound familiar? Then you'll love 12 Days of Christmas.