Seven Days of Us
This Christmas, the Birch family will be under the same roof for the first time in a long time. Grown children Phoebe and Olivia will join their parents Emma and Andrew at Weyfield Hall for the holidays, but when doctor Olivia learns she needs to remain in quarantine after treating an infectious disease abroad—and that her entire family must be quarantined with her—the Birches try to keep their secrets and family drama from bubbling to the surface, without much luck.
This Time Next Year
Minnie Cooper knows two things with certainty: that her New Year’s birthday is unlucky, and that it’s all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she’s never met. Their mothers gave birth to them at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year’s Day, but Quinn was given the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990–and the name Minnie was meant to have, as well. When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year’s party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, she sees only more evidence that fortune has continued to favor him. But if Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each fraught encounter leaves them both wanting more?
One Day in December
The most recent Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, this delightful novel opens in London during the holiday season. Laurie is on a bus when she spies an adorable guy at the bus stop. He smiles, she smiles and instantly she knows that he is the one for her. She spends the next year looking for “bus boy,” and they’re finally reunited at a Christmas party…when Laurie’s best friend Sarah introduces him as her new boyfriend. The novel follows these three as they weave through one another’s orbits and is a joyous and heartwarming tale.
Claire and Matt used to be together, and even though they aren’t anymore, it doesn’t mean they can’t go to Happy Forest holiday park to be with their daughter on Christmas, right? And they can totally bring their new boyfriend and girlfriend, right? After all, they’re adults. Spoiler alert: tensions simmer between the four “mature” characters in this novel causing them to be at each other’s throats long before Christmas Eve, resulting in a hysterical read.
Josie Avery is set to take a job as a sous chef in one of Seattle’s hottest restaurants, but before she does, she decides to spend the summer cooking at a lakeside lodge in the remote Alaskan town of Ponder. She falls for small-town life, and the strong and silent Palmer Saxon, but knows she’s meant to be back in Seattle to start her dream job in the fall. Except, when she misses the last ferry before the winter sets in, she’s stranded in Ponder—and with Palmer—for the holidays. What will the Christmas magic do to their budding love?
Winnie Farmington used to have big dreams for her life—before she had to drop out of college to take care of her sick mother in her Michigan hometown. Now, she’s stuck in a dead-end job, with a cheating boyfriend, and her only escape is a Downton Abbey-esque show called Beauchamp Hall. After she’s passed over for a promotion and discovers her man’s latest infidelity, she packs her bags and flies to England to the town where Beauchamp Hall is filmed. Her leap of faith is met by a cast of characters she feels she’s known all her life and the behind-the-scenes look at her favorite show provides more drama off-screen than on-.
While this novel doesn’t take place during the holiday season, it gives us total Love, Actually vibes. Remember all the different threads in Love, Actually that turn out to be connected? You know, The Prime Minister and Natalie and Karen and Harry and Sarah and Karl and Sam and Daniel all have intersecting stories, which we find out by the last scene. Star-Crossed accomplishes the same thing, but it’s all townspeople in one Australian town who are affected in one way or another by Justine, a journalist who changes the Aquarius horoscopes in the paper she works for so her crush Nick will fall for her. She ends up affecting many other Aquarians with her scheme!
Love, Actually, to me, you are perfect. The perfect holiday movie, at least. The film never fails to make me laugh—at the lobster in the nativity play or Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister dancing to the Pointer Sisters—and cry (I get weepy when I hear the opening notes of “God Only Knows” during the airport reunion scene). But overall, it puts me in the holiday spirit. As I read each of the books below, they gave me the same feels I get from Love, Actually. These reads are (mostly) delightfully British, and are, in turn, hysterically funny and bittersweet. Most importantly, they will definitely put you in a Christmas mood.
Image Credit: Universal Studios Ⓒ 2003