I normally don’t make an effort to read Christmas books, but this year my book club is reading a Christmas book, The Christmas Joy Ride, and so I read that and then decided to read a couple more Christmas themed books as well. It was quite nice to read something Christmas-y, as I was total Scrooge this year and didn’t put up a tree or lights or decorations at all – due to traveling, and just not really feeling it. I didn’t even watch my favorite Christmas movies, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Love Actually. I hope that I remember to read some Christmas themed books in December next year, as it really did help with the Christmas feel. Here are three books that I read this week (they are all shorter than 200 pages):
– The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson: A sweet read about an elderly woman, Joy, and her friend, Miranda, who embark on a road trip from Chicago to Phoenix in December to help spread Christmas cheer. Joy runs a Christmas blog, and she plans on visiting the winners of a contest on her route to Phoenix. This is a sweet, simple, cute read with a dash of romance. It is a very short book, 168 pages, and I was able to finish it in one sitting. It reminded me of a Hallmark movie. It was slightly too sweet and predictable for me, but there was nothing questionable in the book, the characters are kind and genuine, and it was a nice, quick story to read at Christmas time. However, I do not think I’ll actively pursue anything else the author has written, as The Christmas Joy Ride was a little too sweet and predictable for me, and I’m assuming from looking at other titles she’s written that her books are not for me (I’m really not into romance and cutesy).
– A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry: This is the first of Anne Perry’s Christmas Novels, short mysteries with a hint of Christmas. This first book involves a 30ish Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould (a popular character from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries) and a suicide at a weekend party. It takes you from the Berkshire countryside into the wilds of Scotland, and the atmosphere of the story is fun. It didn’t have as much Christmas in it as I thought it was going to have, and Vespasia was kind of irritating in this book. In the Pitt mysteries, Vespasia is much older, and with a name like Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould, you just know that she is beautiful, wealthy, and speaks her mind. And in the Pitt mysteries that works, you like Vespasia. But here, with Vespasia being 30ish, it just comes across as arrogance and she’s very grating. And there are a bit of spoilers about Vespasia’s past in Italy that are mentioned in this book, and if I recall correctly, that information about Vespasia is not known until at least mid-way through the series. The mystery is interesting and ends well, I just wished for a bit more Christmas.
– A Christmas Visitor by Anne Perry: This one is the second of the Anne Perry Christmas Novels, and it involves Henry Rathbone, father to London barrister Oliver Rathbone, who is featured in the William Monk mysteries. Henry is called to his goddaughter’s house when her husband is found dead. Is it murder? Is it an accident? Does it have anything to do with a property dispute and a recently released criminal? This mystery was just OK for me. I didn’t think Henry was compelling as a lead role and I kept getting all of the characters mixed up. I finally stopped trying to remember who was who and went with it, but feel I missed the emotional punch of the book. Christmas was more prominent in this one, as they were always eating some sort of gingerbread cake or pudding, with the snow swirling about, so that was nice to read.
Are there any good Christmas reads that you can recommend to me for next year?