From stories of romance and laughter to courageous acts of bravery and self-discovery, these wonderful new releases offer an escape from the stress of the holiday season. Fill your stockings and stock your shelves with a guaranteed happy ending.

“In a Holidaze”
By Christina Lauren

Maelyn Jones finds herself in the midst of a mistletoe mishap. Spending the holiday in a cozy Utah cabin has been the highlight of Mae’s life. Returning every year with her parents, their oldest friends and offspring as one big family brings countless traditions and tremendous joy. A myriad of games, sleigh rides, snow ball fights and sing-a-longs, these are the memories Mae holds dear to her heart. But time has marched on and the kids aren’t exactly kids anymore. 

Maelyn’s longtime (very handsome) crush and his younger brother pull quietly on her heartstrings causing mischief and mayhem. When she secretly begs the universe for another chance, Mae is granted a Groundhog Day repeat until she gets it right. Hilarious, romantic, modern-day fairytale that brings family and friends together to celebrate the magic of the holidays. Sometimes a gift of the truth is not so easy to unwrap.

“The Noel Letters”
By Richard Paul Evans

Noel’s father Robert Book had a dying wish to see his daughter one more time. It has been 20 years since Noel stepped foot in the Salt Lake City home of her childhood. 

Sadly, she arrives too late to make amends or resolve her many unanswered questions. Overwhelmed by a recent divorce and temporarily homeless, Noel decides to stay in Salt Lake a bit longer than expected. Intending to organize her father’s estate, Noel begins working in his iconic book shop, rediscovering her father’s passions and meeting the eclectic circle of people who were an integral part of his life. Haunting memories of her mother’s untimely death and a chain of letters from a mystery author slowly reveal the painful feelings Noel must face if she is ever to find love in her heart again. This tender story offers countless lessons of forgiveness.

“When We Were Young and Brave”
By Hazel Gaynor

Elspeth Kent fled to Shanghai to escape the devastating loss of her beloved. A teaching position at the Chefoo School, a British missionary in northern China takes her far away from heartbreaking memories. Ms. Kent becomes responsible for a group of girls who achingly miss their parents as they mature into young women. Nancy Plummer is one of those precious students. Only eight when she first arrived with her brother, their missionary parents have already been gone far too long. 

Nearing Christmas in 1941, the small school is taken over by Japanese forces. Every student and teacher is labeled an enemy, with arm bands denoting their nationality. Under the leadership of Ms. Kent and the brave administration, students navigate the treacherous times. Losing the comfort of their routine and daily activities the children must rapidly adapt with no end in sight. They are often cold, hungry and terrified that their parents will never return. Inspired by true events, this story finds faith in friendship, hope and the smallest acts of kindness.

“A Borrowed Life”
By Kerry Anne King

Mrs. Elizabeth Lightsey has been the pastor’s wife for most of her adult life. Having been raised in a troubled home, she was thrilled to attract the attention of Thomas. When this handsome, older man of the church proposed, Elizabeth envisaged a respectable life filled with love and security. 

But years of unhappiness have weighed heavily on her heart, making Liz a stranger to herself until Thomas’s untimely death prompts more relief than grief.

For 26 years, his verbal abuse had worn her down and dictated her decisions, thoughts and feelings. Liz immediately attempts to repair her relationship with Abigail, the daughter she regrets has been molded in Thomas’s eyes. Determined to rediscover her true self, Liz literally throws her mattress to the curb, and embraces new friends and community theater. Nearly 50 years old Liz knows it is finally time to follow her own dreams, not the harsh expectations of others. An uplifting discovery of a life worth living.

“The Twelve Dates of Christmas”
By Jenny Bayliss

Kate Turner is an independent and successful woman. Her dating life, not so much. This year all she wants for Christmas is a date (or twelve.) As the quaint English village of Blexford transforms into a winter wonderland, Kate signs up with the latest matchmaking service as a gift to herself. Twelve carefully arranged dates, each planned with an exciting activity to lower the pressure and heighten the romance. With her friend, Laura, by her side and the prying eyes of the entire town cheering her on, Kate repeatedly finds herself in one jingle bell jinx after another. Through it all, she continues to bake a variety of holiday sweets that will make your teeth ache (recipes included). Kate takes us along on each escapade, secretly wishing her partridge in a pear tree would turn out to be the childhood friend who happens to run the Pear Tree Cafe. Miles of smiles throughout this heartwarming — and delicious — holiday treat.

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