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Cozy Holiday Reads

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Friday the Rabbi Slept Late/ Harry Kemelman – Rabbi Small investigates a murder in which he’s the prime subject David Small is the new rabbi in the small Massachusetts town of Barnard’s Crossing. Although he’d rather spend his days engaged in Torah study and theological debate, the daily chores of synagogue life are all-consuming-that is, until the day a nanny’s body is found on the rain-soaked asphalt of the temple’s parking lot. When the young woman’s purse is discovered in Rabbi Small’s car, he will have to use his scholarly skills and Talmudic wisdom to exonerate himself and find the real killer.
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Gingerbread : a novel / Helen Oyeyemi – Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval —a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met. Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.
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Hercule Poirot’s Christmas : a Hercule Poirot mystery / Agatha Christie – Christmas Eve, and the Lee family’s reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man…
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Holidays on ice / by David Sedaris – A best-selling classic features six additional works on the joys and embarrassments of favorite holidays, in a volume that includes tales of tardy trick-or-treaters, the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to another culture, and a barnyard Secret Santa scheme gone awry.
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Little women / Louisa May Alcott – Little Women is the first American children’s novel to become a classic. This timeless favorite follows the four March sisters — pretty Meg, tomboy Jo, shy Beth, and vain Amy — as they grow and mature into four distinctive little women.
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The man who invented Christmas : how Charles Dickens’s A Christmas carol rescued his career and revived our holiday spirits / Les Standiford – With warmth, wit, and good cheer, Standiford shows how the unlikely success of “A Christmas Carol” revitalized Charles Dickens’s languishing career and revived the celebration of the near-forgotten Christmas holiday.
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Pride and prejudice and mistletoe / Melissa de la Cruz – Forced by her mother’s illness to return to the Pemberley of her childhood during the Christmas holidays, power-driven professional Darcy Fitzwilliam unexpectedly falls for humble carpenter Luke Bennet, a member of a family of slacker brothers.
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On Turpentine Lane / Elinor Lipman – An endearing romantic comedy from the beloved best-selling author of The Family Man and The View from Penthouse B At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiance is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state. And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence. Elinor Lipman may well have invented the screwball romantic comedy for our era, and here she is at her sharpest and best. On Turpentine Lane is funny, poignant, and a little bit outrageous.
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Royal holiday / Jasmine Guillory – Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain Private Secretary and his charming accent and unyielding formality. Malcolm Hudson has been the Queen’s Private Secretary for years and has never given a personal, private tour…until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling. Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy fling come New Year’s Day…or are they?
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Seven days of us : a novel / Francesca Hornak – A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays… It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof.  As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…
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We met in December / Rosie Curtis – Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read. Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together. But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.
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