The Perfect Escape: Holiday Romance Books


This year has been absolutely crazy and sometimes it feels impossible to get away from the insanity. Being a mom is no easy job and being a mom in a pandemic is even harder. It is important that we all take time to care for ourselves. For me, reading is the perfect escape. I love that it is something I can pick up and put down easily. E-readers make that even easier.

As we approach the hectic holiday season, I want to share my top holiday romances from 2020. These books are all light-hearted and pretty quick to read. They might not be the most realistic at times, but that’s what makes them the perfect way to escape for a bit. Think of these as Hallmark Christmas movies in book form.

A California Christmas by Brenda Novak

This book is a second-chance romance between free solo climber Dallas and his high school crush, Emery, a TV anchor who recently lost her job. This book is set in Silver Springs, an idyllic town in California. Both main characters are struggling to cope with things that have happened in their lives and I enjoyed watching them work through it together.




A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday

Leo Ricci is a cab driver in New York City. He spends his time working and taking care of his sister, Gabby. When Gabby spots a “princess”, she insists that Leo stop to help. It turns out the woman Gabby spotted really is a princess. Princess Marie hires Leo to be her driver for the remainder of her trip. What follows is a sweet story of love between the most unlikely pairing. This book was very cute even if it is a bit unbelievable!



A Very Merry Match by Melinda Curtis

This book is a small-town romance between a small-town mayor and a kindergarten teacher with a secret identity. Mary Margaret is a kindergarten teacher who secretly moonlights as a burlesque dancer named Foxy Roxy. Mayor and single dad Kevin Preston should be settling down with someone quiet and reserved since he wants to make the jump from mayor to assemblyman. When he sets his sights on Mary Margaret, will her secret identity cause a scandal or will Kevin realize they are a match no matter what? This book was a cute and quick read. I loved the small-town feel and all of the meddling of family members!

Christmas On Reindeer Road by Debbie Mason

Christmas On Reindeer Road is another small-town romance. This book is about Mallory, a widow with custody of her teen stepsons, and Gabriel, the local chief of police and single dad of three boys. The two meet when Mallory’s stepsons get into trouble. They try to avoid the attraction but constantly feel the pull. Mallory and Gabriel believe they are all wrong for each other, but what will happen when they realize they might actually be just right? I loved this story and loved the focus on their sons. This was a quick and heartwarming read. Perfect for the holiday season!


In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is one of my favorite authors and this is actually one of my favorite books this year! Think of this as a holiday version of Groundhog’s Day. Maelyn Jones is in a rut and unhappy with her life. After spending the final Christmas at her favorite place, a snowy cabin in Utah, she asks the universe to show her what will make her happy. Tires screech and metal crunches and when she wakes she finds herself on a plane to Utah. So begins her adventure of reliving the same holiday over and over. While figuring out how to break the time loop, she also figures out what – and who – makes her happy. This was a fun and unique romantic comedy and it was also super quick to read.

Mistletoe and Mr. Right by Sarah Morganthaler

This book is one of the funniest books I have read this year. Set in Moose Springs, Alaska, Mistletoe and Mr. Right gives us the story of Lana, a socialite, and Rick, a local. This was a slow-burn romantic comedy where two friends become more. There were a ton of laugh out loud moments in this book and it was very enjoyable. This book is longer than the other books on this list, however, I definitely thought it was worth it!



Season of Joy by Annie Rains

Season of Joy by Annie Rains brings us the story of Granger, a Christmas tree farmer and single dad, and Joy, a free spirit with dreams of opening her own art gallery. Joy agrees to watch Granger’s daughters as a way to reach her goal of opening a gallery. Joy and Granger seem to bring the best out of each other, but what will happen when Christmas is over and Joy is no longer needed? This was a sweet romance and I fell in love with all of the characters, including Granger’s two daughters.



The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

The Twelve Dates of Christmas gives us the story of Kate, a single thirty-something whose best friend convinces her to sign up for The Twelve Dates of Christmas event. This book was unique in the fact that you don’t really know who Kate will end up with. I had my guess, of course, but it was fun watching how it all transpired. This book is also set in England which I found different and enjoyable as well!



The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Lizzie Shane

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is another book set in a dreamy small-town. When Ally loses funding to her family’s rescue shelter, she only has four weeks to find homes for twelve dogs. City councilman Ben feels guilty about the shelter closing and agrees to help Ally find homes for the dogs. What follows is a sweet story of an unlikely pair finding love during the holidays. I can definitely see this book becoming a movie. It had everything I enjoy in a (somewhat cheesy) holiday book: likable characters, an adorable kid, cute dogs, and a perfect small-town.


These are the holiday romances I have read and enjoyed so far this year. Note, while the majority of these books mention Christmas, I did not find them to be religious. You can get these books in paperback or e-book. If you have a library card (the Toledo library has a free online application for e-books!) you can download these books from the Libby app on your phone. For more book recommendations, you can find me on Instagram at @read.with.rach.

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Rachel Parker
Rachel is originally from Wapakoneta and currently lives and works in Findlay. She has been married to her husband, Alex, for three years and they are expecting their first child. They cannot wait to become parents in June! Rachel loves coffee, cheesy romantic comedies, re-watching The Office, and reading/reviewing books. You can follow her on Instagram (@read.with.rach) for her latest reviews and recommendations.


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