2022 Holiday Romance Guide

While the leaves and temperatures have yet to fall, the season for publishing holiday romances is already here. Since they are typically published in September, October, and November, I thought I would put together a sneak peak of what you can look forward to swooning over this holiday season.

Featured

A Merry Little Meet Cute

Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone

A steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. When Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction. Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done.

Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

Publication date: September 20, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Jenny Bayliss

From the author of The Twelve Dates of Christmas, a story about a city bookshop owner who heads to the English countryside for a holiday reunion— only to face her childhood enemy.

Elinor Noel—Nory for short—is quite content running her secondhand bookshop in London. Forever torn between her working-class upbringing and her classmates’ extravagant lifestyles at the posh private school she attended on scholarship, Nory has finally figured out how to keep both at equal distance. So when two of her oldest friends invite their whole gang to spend the time leading up to their wedding together at the castle near their old school, Nory must prepare herself for an emotionally complicated few days.

The reunion brings back fond memories, but also requires Nory to dodge an ill-advised former fling. When she falls quite literally into the arms of Isaac, the castle’s head gardener, who has nothing but contempt for the “snobby prep school kids,” the attraction between them is undeniable. And as Nory spends more time with Isaac during the wedding festivities, she finds herself falling hard for the boy she used to consider an enemy. Nory and Isaac explore their common ground, but pressures mount on all sides, and Nory must decide what kind of life she wants to live and what sort of love is worth the risk . . .

Publication date: September 27, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

All I Want for Christmas

Maggie Knox

From the author of The Holiday Swap, a pitch-perfect holiday rom com about two oil-and-water reality-star country singers who must fake a relationship in order to win the opportunity of a lifetime, perfect for fans of Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game and Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze.

When Sadie and Max are selected as contestants on the famed reality singing show Starmaker, each thinks they’ve finally gotten their big Nashville break. But then they’re paired up for duet week and stun the world with their romantic onstage chemistry. With fans going wild for #Saxie the network demands that they remain a duo on and offstage, or exit the competition. Faking a relationship until their final performance in the Starmaker holiday special shouldn’t be too hard, except for one small problem—Sadie and Max can’t stand each other. 
 
But with their dreams just within reach, they agree to the ruse. Will their fake relationship be exposed before they can win? Or might their phony connection turn real by the Christmas finale?

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Kiss Her Once for Me

Alison Cochrun

The author of The Charm Offensive returns with a festive sapphic romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement with her landlord… only to fall for his sister.

One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.

Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.

Publication date: November 1, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

August

In the Event of Love (Fern Falls, #1)

Courtney Kae

Offering a steamy, queer spin on the feel-good tropes of a Hallmark movie, this sweet, funny #OwnVoices rom-com is perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Alexandria Bellefleur!

With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . .

Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.

When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?

Publication date: August 30, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Let It Snow

Beth Moran

After the end of a long-term relationship, local weather girl Bea Armstrong has been avoiding her family, and their inevitable ‘I-told-you-sos.’ But with Christmas fast approaching, she is finally on her way home to Charis House, the school in Sherwood Forest that her mum and dad run in their old family home. And to top it all off, the insufferable Henry Fairfax – who her parents have always wanted her to marry – has also been invited. 

Relief comes in the shape of a last minute interview for her dream job. There are just a few minor problems… The interview is in Scotland, Bea has no car, and the snow is falling already. The only solution is for Henry to drive her – could this Christmas get any worse…

But during an unforgettable two day interview, a stay in a log cabin and a nightmare journey through the snow, Henry turns out to be nothing like she thought.  And when Bea’s first love and recent ex shows up, Bea has a difficult choice to make…

Reading Beth Moran’s fabulous novels makes every day better. Feelgood, satisfying, with smart characters and gorgeous settings, it’s impossible not to fall in love with a Beth Moran story. Perfect for all fans of Jill Mansell, Julie Houston, and Jenny Colgan.

Publication date: August 30, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

September

The Holiday Trap

Roan Parrish

For fans of Alexandria Bellefleur and Alexis Hall comes a charming, hilarious, and heartwarming LGBTQIA+ romcom about two separate couples finding love over the holidays from acclaimed author Roan Parrish!

Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don’t always understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.

Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.

Enter Greta and Truman’s mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over the winter holidays, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life…and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.

Publication date: September 6, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

There’s Something About Merry (Mistletoe Romance, #2)

Codi Hall

If you loved Nick and Noel’s Christmas Playlist, curl up this Christmas with a fun, festive romcom about Nick’s sister Merry, featuring:

  • Irresistible single dad hero
  • Heartwarming second chance at love story
  • The healing magic of the holiday season
  • Warm nights on the family Christmas tree farm

A guarded single dad. A woman scared to love. Clark Griffin and Merry Winters are determined to be friends and nothing more. But they’ve been anonymously flirting with each other online, and with a little Christmas magic and the help of a precocious kid, these two might just get their one wish this year.

Publication date: September 6, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

October

A Cat Café Christmas

Codi Gary

Veterinarian and animal lover Kara Ingalls needs a Christmas miracle. Opening the Meow and Furrever Cat Café to find loving homes for adorable, adoptable cats was a dream come true—but with more cats than customers, it’s quickly turning into a nightmare. If Kara can’t figure out some way to get the café out of the red, it won’t last past the holidays.

Marketing guru Ben Reese may be annoyingly smart and frustratingly bossy, but when he hatches a plan to put the café in the “green” by Christmas, Kara realizes that she’d be a fool to turn down his help. And so what if he turns out to be an excellent problem solver and nerdy-hot—he can’t even handle fostering one little kitten. She needs to keep their relationship professional and focus on saving the café.

But if Ben and Kara can set aside their differences—and find homes for all the cats by Christmas—they might discover that, by risking their hearts, they’ll have their own purr-fect holiday . . . together.

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

The Christmas Clash

Suzanne Park

Who’s naughty and nice at Riverwood Mall? In this hilarious YA holiday rom-com, two rivals get together to save their families’ livelihoods, and Christmas, too!

Chloe Kwon can’t stand Peter Li. It’s always been that way. Their families don’t get along either: their parents operate rival restaurants in the Riverwood Mall food court—Korean food for the Kwons and Chinese food for the Lis. Now it’s the holiday season and Chloe’s the photographer at the mall’s Santa Land, and Peter works at the virtual reality North Pole experience right across the atrium. It’s all Chloe can do to avoid Peter’s smug, incredibly photogenic face.

But it turns out the mall is about to be sold to a developer and demolished for condos. Eviction notices are being handed out right before Christmas. Their parents don’t know what to do, and soon Chloe and Peter realize that the two of them need to join efforts to try to save the mall. Just when it seems like they can put aside their differences and work closely (very closely) together, they discover that the Kwon and Li feud goes far deeper than either of them realize…

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Just Like Magic

Sarah Hogle

The holidays were never her thing, until she accidentally conjures the Holiday Spirit… before her very eyes.

Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a collection of designer purses and an enviable dream home in Hawaii. That was before she lost all her money. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backward and accidentally conjures up Hall, the Holiday Spirit, in the form of a charming and handsome (if offbeat) man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as some of Bettie’s wishes lose their charm, she finds herself thrown off-kilter by Hall’s sweet nature. Suddenly, grumpy Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways return as soon as the holidays are over?

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Once Upon a December

Amy E. Reichert

A one-of-a-kind Christmas market offers holiday magic in the new romance from the author of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club.

With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty—it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. She’s ready to eat, drink, and be merry, especially with the handsome stranger who saves the best kringle for her at his family bakery.

For Jack Clausen, the Julemarket with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley.

After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

So This Is Christmas (A Princess for Christmas, #3)

Jenny Holiday

USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday concludes her beloved royal Christmas series with an unforgettable romance about a confident American woman and the strait-laced royal advisor who falls hopelessly in love with her.

Matteo Benz has spent his life serving at the pleasure of the Eldovian crown. His work is his life and his life, well…he doesn’t have much of one. When he is tasked to aid a management consultant who has been flown in to help straighten out the king’s affairs, he is instantly disturbed by her brash American manner—as well by an inconvenient attraction to the brainy beauty.

Cara Delaney is in Eldovia to help clean up the king’s financial affairs, but soon finds herself at odds with the very proper Mr. Benz. As intrigued by his good looks as she is annoyed by his dedication to tradition for its own sake, she slowly begins to see the real man behind the royal throne.

As they work together to return Eldovia to its former glory during the country’s magical Christmas season, Matteo discovers he is falling hopelessly in love with the unconventional American. But a man who has devoted his life to tradition doesn’t change easily. Can he become the man Cara needs, or will their love be another sacrifice to the crown?

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince

Timothy Janovsky

Matthew Prince is young, rich, and thoroughly spoiled. So what if his parents barely remember he exists and the press is totally obsessed with him? He’s on top of the world. But one major PR misstep later, and Matthew is cut off and shipped away to spend the holidays in his grandparents’ charming small town hellscape. Population: who cares?

It’s bad enough he’s stuck in some festive winter wonderland-it’s even worse that he has to share space with Hector Martinez, an obnoxiously attractive local who’s unimpressed with anything and everything Matthew does.

Just when it looks like the holiday season is bringing nothing but heated squabbles, the charity gala loses its coordinator and Matthew steps in as a saintly act to get home early on good behavior…with Hector as his maddening plus-one. But even a Grinch can’t resist the unexpected joy of found family, and in the end, the forced proximity and infectious holiday cheer might be enough to make a lonely Prince’s heart grow three sizes this year.

Publication date: October 4, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

One Last Gift

Emily Stone

When a young woman finds herself lost and at a crossroads, one last gift from her brother just might give her another chance at life and at love in this epic holiday romance from the author of Always, in December.

Cassie and Tom lost their parents at a young age and relied on each other—as well as a community of friends—to cope. They were especially close with Tom’s best friend, Sam, who always made sure that Tom and Cassie were surrounded with love. But, twenty years later, Cassie has lost Tom as well. And in a way, she’s also lost Sam; over the years they’d drifted apart, and now the man she always had a crush on is someone she doesn’t even recognize anymore. She’s never felt more alone.

Then Cassie finds an envelope with her name on it, written in Tom’s terrible handwriting, and she knows immediately what it is. It’s the first clue in the Christmas scavenger hunt that Tom made for her every year; he’d promised her for months that this year’s would be the grandest one yet. At first, she’s too scared to open the envelope—what if she can’t figure out the clues without his help? Or what if she does figure them all out and her last connection to Tom is gone?

Publication date: October 11, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Season of Love

Helen Greer

Miriam Blum has no choice but to face the past she thought she’d left behind when she inherits her great-aunt’s Christmas tree farm in this witty, glittering, heart-filled romcom with all of the warm, queer, Jewish holiday vibes you could possibly want.

Thanks to her thriving art career, Miriam Blum finally has her decoupaged glitter ducks in a row—until devastating news forces her to a very unwanted family reunion. Her beloved great-aunt Cass has passed and left Miriam part-owner of Carrigan’s, her (ironically) Jewish-run Christmas tree farm.

But Miriam’s plans to sit shiva, avoid her parents, then put Carrigan’s in her rearview mirror are spoiled when she learns the business is at risk of going under. To have any chance at turning things around, she’ll need to work with the farm’s grumpy manager—as long as the attraction sparking between them doesn’t set all their trees on fire first.

Noelle Northwood wants Miriam Blum gone—even if her ingenious ideas and sensitive soul keep showing Noelle there’s more to Cass’s niece than meets the eye. But saving Carrigan’s requires trust, love, and risking it all—for the chance to make their wildest dreams come true.

Publication date: October 11, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

The Christmas Spirit

Debbie Macomber

Two lifelong friends decide to trade places the week before Christmas and end up finding love along the way in this delightful novel from the queen of holiday stories, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Peter Armstrong and Hank Colfax are best friends, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Peter, the local pastor who is dedicated to his community, spending time visiting the flock, attending meetings, and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity. As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang. 

When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy compared to him, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. To their surprise, the responsibilities of a bartender and a pastor are similar, but taking on the other’s work is more difficult than either Peter or Hank expected. As the two begin to see each other in a new light—and each discovers a new love to cherish—their lives are forever changed.

In The Christmas Spirit, Debbie Macomber celebrates the true meaning of the holidays and the inclusive community spirit that binds us all.

Publication date: October 18, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

November

How to Excavate a Heart

Jake Maia Arlow

Stonewall Honor author Jake Maia Arlow delivers a sapphic Jewish twist on the classic Christmas rom-com in a read perfect for fans of Kelly Quindlen and Casey McQuiston.

It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru.

Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her month-long paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break. It could be going better.

But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup.

Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?

Publication date: November 1, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

A Very Merry Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #5)

Lyssa Kay Adams

‘Tis the season for a Bromance Book Club matchmaking mission! This time, they’re pulling out the mistletoe for everyone’s favorite country music star, Colton, and his second chance at love.

Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity. 

It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…

Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together.

Publication date: November 1, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Whiteout

Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, & Nicola Yoon

Atlanta is blanketed with snow just before Christmas, but the warmth of young love just might melt the ice in this novel of Black joy, and cozy, sparkling romance—by the same unbeatable team of authors who wrote the New York Times bestseller Blackout!

As the city grinds to a halt, twelve teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. But will they be able to make it happen, in spite of the storm? 

No one is prepared for this whiteout. But then, we can’t always prepare for the magical moments that change everything.

From the bestselling, award-winning, all-star authors who brought us Blackout—Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon—comes another novel of Black teen love, each relationship within as unique and sparkling as Southern snowflakes.  

Publication date: November 8, 2022
Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Storygraph

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. If you are hoping for cowboy, historical, or Amish Christmas romances, there are a ton to choose from!

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