Shannon Stacey is stopping by to say why she loves holiday romances so much…
I don’t remember a time I didn’t love holiday romances. Even before I was reading actual romance novels, I knew Christmas and love were the perfect mix for me. A very young me sighed her way through Laura and Almanzo’s Christmas scenes in the Little House on the Prairie series (of books, though I grew up loving the television show, as well). And Christmas romance novel time is my favorite part of the reading year.
The holiday season probably brings more emotions to the surface than any other time of the year. I believe it’s almost as though we feel things more intensely, whether it’s nostalgia or a sense of family or even a sense of loss or sadness at not having the seemingly Hallmark commercial family others appear to have. We’re more keenly aware of our blessings and our hardships.
There’s such a strong focus on family and traditions, and there are scents and music uniquely Christmas. And for many, there are foods only eaten when the family gathers for the holidays, such as green bean casserole or whole cranberry sauce or a certain pie. Our senses trigger memories and in memories live emotions.
Hanging holiday decorations. Baking. Hot cocoa after a parade. Laughing over an ornament by a young child which, many years later, isn’t any more attractive but is even more beloved. When I read those scenes in a holiday romance and they trigger nostalgia in me, it’s almost like a shared memory with the characters. When they struggle with a family conflict, I sigh because I’ve been through that at Christmastime. When they watch a small child decorate a tree, I get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside because remembering my sons do that makes me smile. I think it brings a heightened sense of empathy, which invests me in the lives of the characters even more strongly than usual.
As a reader, I love curling up with a holiday romance because it’s a time to relax and reconnect with the spirit of Christmas. While it might be “the most wonderful time of the year”, it also brings stress when you’re an adult. It’s a lot of work and a lot of money and a lot of trying to please a whole lot of people. Immersing myself in a story that captures the love and joy of the season helps me remember that, when all the trappings and shiny bows are stripped away, the best part of Christmas is spending an entire stress-free day with my husband and our children.
Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.
Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.
As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.
Go here to discover more Harlequin holiday reads.
Check out these blogs this week for more holiday posts:
12/2/2014 Fire & Ice http://www.fireandicereads.com Brenda Novak
12/3/2014 Spiced Latte Reads http://spicedlatte.blogspot.com Christmas with a Billionaire, Maisey Yates
12/4/2014 Wicked Little Pixie http://wickedlilpixie.com Sarah Morgan
12/5/2014 Bookhounds http://www.bookhounds.net Sheila Roberts