Romancing Christmas

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…and the winners are KAREN ALLEN and SHARI MORSE. Congratulations to them, and thanks to all of you who left comments. I always enjoy reading them.

Way back in 1989 my editor at NAL asked me to be one of five contributors of to the first Signet Regency Christmas anthology of novellas, a new venture that was so well received by readers that it became an annual event for years afterward. I contributed to ten of them. Now six of those novellas of mine are about to be available again (on October 27, 2015) in two e-books, CHRISTMAS GIFTS and CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, published by Class Ebook Editions.

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I adored writing those novellas, We expect good things of the Christmas season. We expect peace and goodwill and the warmth and closeness of family celebrating together. We expect love and joy. We expect, in fact, all the elements we look for in a good romance. What better marriage can there be than that between Christmas and romance? When writing a Christmas story, I can be as sentimental as I want. The setting calls for an abundance of it. It is a time for love and healing, for second chances, for an end to loneliness, for surrender to friendship and love, for commitment to marriage and parenthood and happily ever after. In a Christmas story I can be unabashedly romantic. In the first novella I wrote, “The Star of Bethlehem,” still available in the anthology of five of my novellas  UNDER THE MISTLETOE, a marriage is in trouble. It gets worse when the wife hurls her diamond ring at her husband and it is lost among the coals of the fire. A little chimney sweep’s boy, whom the couple help when they discover the wretchedness of his existence, finds it and thinks to keep and sell it though he returns it in the end. In the meanwhile, however, the husband, stricken with guilt, has an exact replica made for his wife for Christmas, and she, equally stricken, has a replica made to show him at Christmas that she is sorry she so carelessly cast away the ring that had once meant so much to both of them. They end up with three identical rings–and with a great deal of understanding and forgiveness love and happiness–a happiness that includes the little sweep’s boy.

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And that is another thing I soon discovered about Christmas stories. They are almost invariably better, more heartfelt, when they include children as well as an adult romance. A child, after all, is at the heart of Christmas, and children can teach the adult characters and the reader a great deal about love. The feuding hero and heroine in “The Surprise Party,” neither of whom wants to be stuck with having to care for the recently orphaned children of her brother and his sister, both change their minds when they actually meet the children and realize how much they are being deprived of the carefree joys of Christmas. And both are bowled over by love when the youngest child is far more concerned with holding a surprise birthday party for Jesus than with opening her Christmas gifts. That story appears in the about-to-be published e-book anthology, CHRISTMAS GIFTS.

Perhaps the best thing I learned from the writing of those novellas was that the stories could be far more effective if Christmas was an essential element and the story happened as it did because it was Christmas and not just because by pure chance it occurred late in December. In “The Bond Street Carolers,” which appears again in the about-to-be-published e-book anthology CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, a jaded, disillusioned aristocrat has made sure that this year he will have nothing to do with all the mad hypocrisies of Christmas. But he is a connoisseur of music, and while walking down Bond Street in London one afternoon he happens to overhear a group of inferior carolers–and then a boy soloist whose pure soprano voice brings him to an abrupt halt. He must have the boy sing at one of his concerts, but the boy’s widowed mother will have nothing to do with the exploitation of her son. It is Christmas, however, and when he arranges a Christmas concert at his home and invites the whole group of carolers to perform there, how can the boy’s mother refuse to allow her son to be a part of it?

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I have written several Christmas novels as well as novellas. To two people who leave a comment below before the end of Tuesday, October 27, I will send a signed copy of the 2-in-1 paperback edition of A CHRISTMAS BRIDE and CHRISTMAS BEAU.

145 thoughts on “Romancing Christmas

  1. The novellas are really fun and Christmastime makes them even more magical! My favorite winter indulgence is one of Mary’s Christmas stories, snuggled up with some hot cocoa or tea. Looking forward to the new novellas.

      • Dear Mary,
        I will enter, just to have the opportunity to let you know how much I enjoy your books. I mostly read on my Kindle, but your books, I have been known to purchase in hardback or softback- just to have a copy to read and re-read. Thank you for hours and hours of pleasure.

  2. Love reading romance about Christmas….well, I really love reading historical romance period. Since I retired I have become obsessed with reading (to make up for all those 60+ hour work weeks when I was too tired to read). I love your books….I think I have most of them (I have boxes and boxes of books and every once in a while I find I order and receive one that I bought at another time. Oh, well, now I have one I can donate to the library.

  3. Hi. Okay, That was not easy, but I made it. I love your books and the Christmas stories are the best. Thank you for the chance to have a signed copy.
    Theresa Haack

  4. I loved your old Christmas novellas. Every year I pull out my now-ratty Signet anthologies and reread some of them. It is lovely to see that these will be available in ebook so that they can find the newer ebook audience.

  5. I would love to read you Christmas stories. It is true that Christmas stories are filled with hope, romance and children that make it magical. I love reading about the couples and their encounters with each other. I would be honored to give your book a good home where it will be treasured.
    Thanks
    Deana

  6. Christmas is my favorite Holiday. .and Christmas stories are my favorite. .Thank you for this chance! ♡♡♡

  7. Have loved your stories for years, especially the Christmas ones!
    The last few Christmases have been more low key in our family. Less about the presents and more about the being together. We lost Dad a couple of years ago and realized that he was part of the glue for the traditions of Christmas.
    Partly why I love Christmas stories is that in the older days, Christmas was more about family and not as commercial as it has become. On the few Christmases I have to work, it is about expanding families and being with my work family. (Babies don’T seem to realize that there is a holiday going on and will come into the world at anytime!)
    So enjoy your Christmas and know that you have enlivened the holidays of many of your readers!

  8. I really like Christmas stories for many of the reasons you talked about above. Everything comes out right with the magic of Christmas and kids make the stories even more enchanting! I love your writing and would love to win your Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau book! Thanks for the chance!

  9. I love all of your books. The ones set at Christmas always leave me goosebumps! Christmas is a holiday for joy,with the birthday of Christ and the joy of the children! Doubly blessed!

  10. I am inspired by your work Mary I happened to find your fb page and now you are on my definitely list of “must read” books. I especially adore Christmas stories which portray the “true spirit” of Christmas and are magic and meaningful, real life from the heart.

  11. I love, love, love your books! It was actually one of your books that had me hooked on historical romances! I’m reading Only a Kiss now and can’t wait for some Christmas reading!

  12. I love your books, they make me feel good and with Christmas coming and my grandchildren thousands of miles away I could use a lift. Thanks for making people’s lives a little brighter.

  13. I love Under the Mistletoe. The Star of Bethlehem is one of my favorites. The Christmas Party is delightful. I love stories of reconciliation and these both have elements of that. They both also have children and what is Christmas without children?

  14. I, too, love Christmas stories. In fact, on my Kindle I have one entire collection that is nothing but Christmas. I’m looking forward to the two new books of old novellas. Would love to win the book, too. Thank you.

  15. I love your books! I have quite a few of them! I collect your Hardcover novels. Your cover graphics are beautiful. …I love the vibrant colors you use. Thanks do much for all your hard work!

  16. Thank you so much for the many hours of adventure through your stories! I look forward to your daily comment or the things you share that people send to you… Most of all I really appreciate how you love and appreciate reading and books and all of us who share a common passion for good, wonderful story telling! Love & blessings Mary B. , now and always!

  17. Every year I pick some Christmas anthologies to re-read. I thoroughly enjoy them. I wont say how far back some of them go, Thanks Mary for all the joy you give us with your stories 🙂

  18. I do love your stories and I am working on renewing my love affair with Christmas since my husband pasted 2 years ago.
    Thank you for books,especially survivors club.

  19. Love, love, love, love your stories! Christmas inspired or not. 🙂 Not only are they beautiful the first read, but they cannot be exhausted. I am always happy to find a new Mary Balogh and equally so to reread a favorite.

  20. The Bond Street Carolers is one of your first stories that I read and loved. I am so glad you will be publishing more Christmas stories. It will make my Christmas merrier and brighter.

  21. Now that I’m happily divorced and retired, reading is my favourite thing to do.
    Love your historical romances – just finished the Survivors Club – and love Christmas, so this is a must-book for me, even if I don’t win 🙂

  22. I love novellas, especially when you are reading ” on the run ” so to speak! I would love to read these and I will, win or not!

  23. I introduced my sister in law to your books. She is trying to read your entire backlist just as I did when I discovered your writing. These stories will be a welcome addition. Now you are her favorite author, too.

  24. Some of these Christmas novellas even have been translated into German. That were the first stories written by you that I read. Some time after that I switched to read your books in English because you can’t be sure whether or when they are translated and published in Germany. So I cross my fingers that the new e-books will be available in Germany.
    Christine

  25. Hi Mary! Thank you SOOOO much for making me fall in love with Historical Romance. I am new to this genre and I’m really enjoying your books. It has been a wonderful escape for me from everyday life’s challenges. I would love to receive this beautiful signed book. I love anything ‘Christmas’ and this would be so lovely to add to my ‘new’ collection. Falalalala 🙂

  26. First of all, no need to put me in the drawing. I already have the book you are offering and I have won a signed copy of another book by you. Seems only sporting to give others a chance.

    I am not normally a fan of novellas, but I usually read several of them around Christmas – probably because there are just so many out there at this time of year. So glad my favorite author is offering two.

    Are any of your other older books still going to be available in e-book form? I sure hope so (please, please. please).

  27. Mary,
    You’ve provided many hours of entertainment. I love your novels and I pass along many of your FB posts on reading. Thanks for the opportunity to win this collection of Christmas novellas. I read most of them I believe, but will enjoy them again.

  28. Love all your books. Have missed acquiring some of these novellas. Currently reading your huxtable series. Thanks for the chance to win a book

  29. The 2 in 1 contains 2 favorites of mine. I especially like the Christmas Bride with its fresh look at a character from books earlier.
    I reread the novellas when I want something short before bed. I like the one where he ends up in Italy very much.
    So this a thank you for years of happy reading. I enjoy your blog posts because you are quite articulate about your thinking.
    Mary

  30. I have been a fan of your books for many years, thank you. I love Christmas themed books. I am sorry to say that I don’t use e-readers for health reasons. Thank you for the chance to win.

  31. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas—reading one of your Christmas stories while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa, complete with whipped cream on top! I’m looking forward to this one!!

  32. I have read several of your really released books that have two Novelas in each book and have loved each one. The characters are vibrant and alive but the Christmas ones are the best. The Christmas Novelas fairly crackle with love and joy and peace. Thank you for this opportunity to win one of these Christmas novellas.

  33. Thank you for a chance to win one of your books. I love reading your books and especially love Christmas. I always love Christmas books it just another way to enjoy the holidays. Would also love to add it to my collections of your books.

  34. Love novellas to read during busy times…like the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays. And holidays can be romantic in their own rite, so it’s tge perfect time to curl up with a mug of mulled wine under the Christmas lights and get swept away into another time. Can’t wait to read this new book!

  35. I can’t wait to read anything you write. I’ve got most of your books in both hardback and Kindle (where available) and they definitely fall into my ‘comfort book’ category so a Kindle version is a must as I always carry it 🙂 some people have comfort food, for me it’s a comfort book …

  36. I have all of the Christmas Gift and Christmas Miracle stories from the original releases and they are all wonderful. It is hard to pick a favorite but The Bond Street Carolers and The Porcelain Madonna are must reads for me every Christmas time.

  37. What could be better than two of my favourite things ever: Christmas and one of your romantic books?! Snuggled under my Calgary Flames heated throw on a cold winter night, tree lights twinkling and a hot cup of tea beside me as well as chocolate and asliced apple. Bliss!

  38. Perfect Christmas story is warm and romantic, brings smile on your face and makes you feel a bit sentimental. Christmas is time when even adults can play and be silly, forgetting their troubles for a moment. I start reading my first Christmas story a few weeks before Christmas and that helps me to find that Christmas spirit every year.

  39. Your books are always so good, but I especially like your Christmas themed stories. I can’t wait to read this one!

  40. Hi Mary; thanks for this opportunity! I absolutely adore your books, and since I love Christmas, these novellas are a perfect storm of happiness in book form. Thanks for your beautiful writings! You have spoiled me for all other romance novelists!

  41. Mary Balogh, I have admired your writing for years. Your lovely stories show how people struggle, learn, and eventually find love and trust. Beautiful.
    I’m so looking forward to this Christmas anthology!

  42. I adore your Christmas romances – they always warm my heart and sometimes make me cry (in a good way, of course!) I’ve read all that I could get my hands on, but there are several in each of the new anthologies that I’ve not had the opportunity to read yet, so I can hardly wait. I’ve preordered both books, but will save reading until closer to Christmas–then revel in one story after another!

  43. I love Christmas stories, especially romances, especially including children. There is something so warm and loving about the holiday season. Finding new Christmas romances to read is part of my preparation for the season each year, and yours are among my favorites.

  44. I have several Christmas anthologies with your novellas. I like everyone of them. But, the best Christmas book I have ever read is your book A Christmas Promise. It is the ulitmate happily ever after for a couple. I wept the first time I read it, and I weep every time I have read it since then.

  45. I would love a signed copy from one of my favorite authors! I never seem to live close enough to where book signings are going on and it’s such a shame.

  46. Sometimes when the stress is too high I escape to the world of novels where in the end everything always works out. Perhaps books should be prescribed with blood pressure meds.

  47. Believe it or not, I struggled on what the “perfect” reply would be. There are so many reasons I would love to win one of these books, that I just couldn’t pick one.

  48. Mary, your Christmas stories are so moving and sweet. They emphasize the truth of Christmas; that’s it’s a season of hope, of love, of renewal in the darkest times.

    We are bombarded by so many messages of commercialism and excess. I reread your Christmas stories every year, as a reminder of the real beauty of the season.

  49. What’s better than reading late into the night on a cold, winter evening? Nothing, especially when it is a great MB book.

  50. How exciting to have these wonderful Christmas novellas in ebook format. Both The Bond Street Carolers and The Surprise Party are favorites.

    Rebecca

  51. I LOVE Christmas romances. I even read them on the beach in July. ;0) Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your upcoming release.

  52. Hi Mary!

    Each Christmas I always wonder if I would love reading as much as I do if my Great-Aunt hadn’t given me a copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett when I was 10 years old, the same age that Mary Lennox was in the book . No one in my family read very much but after that Christmas I found myself spending hours at the local library getting new books every week-end and it changed my life.

    Every Christmas I send books as gifts to my sons, their wives and all my grandchildren. The only “complaint” was that my grandchildren spend so much time reading that they had to buy them all Kindles of their own (even the youngest grandson who is only 5 years old!).

    As I’ve ground older I’ve been blessed with a husband also learned to loves to love reading when I started buying him books to take with him on deployments in the Navy during Vietnam. He never could bring them home because he shared them with his crewmates.

    I love reading your stories and they often make me take a moment to think back to my childhood and learning the wonderful world of books!

  53. Hi Mary,

    I’ve been reading your books since 1994, and I have a book shelf at home devoted exclusively to your books. It looks just like the bookshelf in your header photo! I read your books when I want to take a vacation to another time and place. I love getting inside the heads of your characters, knowing why they behave the way they do, why they feel the way they do, and often I finish your stories with a lump in my throat. Sometimes your characters behave quite outrageously in the beginning of a book (The Notorious Rake comes to mind), and I think oh, wow, how am I ever going to find this behavior acceptable or this character likeable? But I always trust you to tell the story and provide all the explanations and emotions, and I’m never disappointed. A lot of romance novels blur in my mind, but so many of yours are standouts. I remember plot, characters, and situations very clearly.

    Your Christmas novellas and novels are some of my favorite seasonal reading, and I would be thrilled to have an autographed copy of the two-in-one. Thank you for offering the chance to win.

  54. Mary, this double dose of Christmas cheer in the form of Romance of life and the season looks heavenly!
    I’m a first timer with your stories – not sure how I missed you & them but looking forward to future adventures with you soon! Merry Christmas .. Yes I still say that & hope your readers do too!

  55. It would be a dream to have a signed copy because I have not read these yet. Crossed fingers …. thank you ♥♥

  56. Always a joy to read your stories, and the combination of Christmas and romance seems to make everything even more magical! Just finished”Only a Kiss”, which I loved! Looking forward to reading the last Survivor story. What about your lovely story “A Handful of Gold”? Will it be reprinted too soon?

  57. I’ve just discovered your wonderful novels and short stories. I love the ones I’ve read so far and look forward to reading them all. Thank you.

  58. I adore Christmas stories. It always puts me in a positive frame of mind for the holidays. And really, holidays, especially Christmas, are about love–the love we have for our friends, family, and significant others. Sharing Christmas romance novels is also a tradition with my mom and I. We both are avid romance readers, so it’s a fun to read and then discuss the holiday novellas.

  59. Absolutely love your books. Looking forward to reading another Christmas romance. Hope you and your family have a great Holiday Season.

  60. I love Christmas stories! I have a large tote filled with Christmas books that I pull out right after Thanksgiving every year.

  61. I love short stories and especially Christmas ones. There’s nothing better to get you into the Christmas holiday mood. I haven’t read most of these stories, so having them all published in two books is fabulous.

  62. Christmas stories are some of my favorites. Pure nostalgia of Christmas pasts with my six siblings.
    I have enjoyed all your books. Thanks for the great reads, although I don’t get much housework done once I
    start a book.

  63. Simply put – I would love to win this book as I love all your books and own most of them. Not these two stories though….

    Thanks for the chance!

  64. I love all romance novels, but especially Christmas ones, I hope I am one of the rwo picks, would make a wonderful christmas gift. ♡♡♡

  65. You are one of my favorite authors! I am a Christian who loves romance but have yet to find a Christian author that tells a great story. I love that you tell a great story and manage to keep it P.G.! Thank you!

  66. Can’t wait for your two new Christmas books that come out tomorrow. I already have some in the old regency books but putting them on my kindle is exciting! Congratulations!

  67. Christmas stories revive the soul. I think, as you say, Christmas stories should evoke and encourage happy memories and draw us to the point of happiness and contentment.
    Thanks for your stories – they certainly do that.

  68. Believe it or not I have not read your books. and I do like historal novels. I have a daughterinlaw reader and three grandes who have read your works. I would love to read these real books… and will be getting ebooks etc. Thank you for this opportunity, ggramz

  69. It is the family relationships, especially in your Christmas stories that I love. And the old fashioned, authentic atmosphere of evergreen boughs and sledding and snowball fights and walking to church. Keep me coming!

  70. I always read Christmas stories from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. You are so right that this special time of year is made more wonderful by a great Christmas story. Would love to have an autographed copy. Thanks for this giveaway.

  71. I still have the original paperback collections, having purchased each one the year it was published.. One of my reading traditions is to re-read them all as part of getting into the holiday spirit. Many thanks for the hours of enjoyment and seasonal joy!

  72. I have all your books Mary and they are like old friends, showing their age with lots of wrinkles and full of goodness. I revisit them often and love the Christmas novellas. It will be great to have them in one volume.

  73. I’ve tried to collect all the Signet Christmas anthologies in which you contributed. SO looking forward to adding digital versions to my library! The Wassail Bowl is my favorite and my annual holiday re-read! ❤️

  74. I love all your stories Mary. You have an exceptional insight into what influences and motivate us. The depth and sensitivity of your writing always impresses.

  75. Such a shame I missed the deadline. I have just finished ”Slightly tempted” and I loved it! In fact it was Freya’s story that got me completely hooked on your stories. I thought Slightly tempted was very different from your other stories, it felt very real and there was quite a bit of pain and resentment which I believe to be so natural to all of us. Every single night I looked forward to going to bed and read your book. Thank you for these gorgeous stories and the joy you bring to my life! You are incredible!

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