Is it so much to ask to find a quality Christmas romance novel?
That's what I want to know.
Around this time of year, despite the fact that today's temperature had a high of 102, I start dreaming about fall. And the holidays. And Christmas.
And sometimes a girl just wants to read a romance novel. When I'm on a fifteen minute break from work, I want to be whisked away to a love story that's set in a snow-covered country cottage with a over-the-top adorned tree and a crackling fire and the smells of Christmas.
I'm in between books right now, which means that I spend my breaks reading through book reviews on my Kindle, searching for good picks in the "Under $3.00" category. I've spent the last few days pouring over the results from searching for "Christmas."
The problem is not a lack of holiday-themed romances, the problem is finding one that isn't so hokey your eyes end up hurting from rolling so much.
Here is the template for every single Christmas romance novel ever published ever:
- Beautiful-but-she-doesn't-know-it heroine
- Unlikely and emotionally scarred bachelor
- Coincidental holiday-related introduction
- Christmas hijinks, possibly involving pets behaving badly, pageants going awry or someone falling down
- A Christmas wish being granted
- A silly cooking disaster
- A family gathering with wonky but warm relatives
- A "problem" keeping the two main characters from really falling, this is later revealed to be a misunderstanding
- Climax of the story on Christmas Day
And as another personal peeve, the heroine will always be named something like "Debra" and will wear coral-colored turtlenecks tucked into her jeans and will have a job she's not really committed to, something she can be rescued from when she eventually takes up with the man. Like a waitress. Or retail. And she'll say things like, "You've got another thing coming, buster!" Is there no such thing as a contemporary Christmas-themed romance novel with 3 dimensional characters?
Am I being too needy with my guilty pleasure? Am I a Christmas romance snob? Are the very things I'm campaigning against the things that make up the quintessential holiday read?
I don't care. If you can point me in the direction of a romance novel that takes place around Christmas but doesn't fall into the tired template above, I will send you homemade Christmas cookies. In September.