In the United States, once the Thanksgiving holiday is over, the Christmas season “officially” begins. I put the “officially” in quotes because most stores these days start stocking their shelves and sending advertisements long before late November. I’ve seen Christmas decor sitting beside Halloween items — an unfathomable concept just a few years ago — so would not be surprised to see tree ornaments or Santa-adorned baubles on-sale with the Labor Day or 4th of July decorations in another decade or less! Mind you, I’m not complained TOO much since Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday and no matter how dead the tree I still shed a tear or two when it has to come down. I could happily live in one of those towns that celebrates Christmas all the year long! Nevertheless, when it comes to launching into the holiday spirit in an outward fashion, adhering to the traditional after-Thanksgiving timing is probably best.
With that clarified, MERRY CHRISTMAS! Amongst the many, many ways to get into the spirit of the blessed Christmas season, reading a Jane Austen holiday-themed story tops the list. Add some Christmas music in the background, light a pumpkin-spice or pine scented candle, toss some logs onto the fire, and pour a steaming mug of hot cocoa for the perfect reading atmosphere. Any of the following books will do the trick, but of course I am writing this blog so will begin with my Christmas novella!
*NOTE: Click each cover to link to the associated Amazon purchasing page.
A Darcy Christmas, by Sharon Lathan
Based on the Darcy Saga series by Sharon Lathan, this novella takes the reader down the passage of time with ten individual snippets of the evolving Darcy family celebrating. Beginning on the Christmas Eve after meeting Lizzy Bennet, Mr. Darcy is a man tortured by visions and emotions he is unable – or unwilling – to deal with. Thereafter follows a succession of Christmas Eves and Days with Mr. Darcy as a happily married man surrounded by his wife and an ever-increasing family, giving glimpses of their future.
Originally published in 2010 as an anthology including the novellas “Christmas Present” by Amanda Grange, “Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol” by Carolyn Eberhart, and “A Darcy Christmas” by Sharon Lathan. This book can be purchased in print or ebook format containing all three novellas, OR the three novellas can be purchased individually in ebook format only.
Christmas at Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Sequel, by Regina Jeffers
Darcy has invited the Bennets and the Bingleys to spend the Christmastide’s festive days at Pemberley. But as he and Elizabeth journey to their estate to join the gathered families, a blizzard blankets the English countryside. The Darcys find themselves stranded at a small inn while Pemberley is inundated with refugees seeking shelter from the storm.
Without her brother’s strong presence, Georgiana Darcy tries desperately to manage the chaos surrounding the arrival of six invited guests and eleven unscheduled visitors. But bitter feuds, old jealousies and intimate secrets quickly rise to the surface. Has Lady Catherine returned to Pemberley for forgiveness or revenge? Will the manipulative Caroline Bingley find a soul mate? Shall Kitty Bennet and Georgiana know happiness?
Published in 2011, Regina’s 336 page holiday novel is available in all formats, including audio!
Mr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Vagary, by Regina Jeffers
What if Mr. Darcy purchased a gift for Elizabeth Bennet to acknowledge the festive days even though he knows he will never present it to her? What if the gift is posted to the lady by his servants and without his knowledge? What if the enclosed card was meant for another and is more suggestive than a gentleman should share with an unmarried lady? Join Darcy and Elizabeth, for a holiday romp, loaded with delightful twists and turns no one expects, but one in which our favorite couple take a very different path in thwarting George Wickham and Lydia Bennet’s elopement. Can a simple book of poetry be Darcy’s means to win Elizabeth’s love? When we care more for another than ourselves, the seeds of love have an opportunity to blossom.
A Very Darcy Christmas, by Victoria Kincaid
Elizabeth and Darcy are preparing for their first Christmas at Pemberley when they are suddenly deluged by a flood of uninvited guests. Mrs. Bennet is seeking refuge from the French invasion she believes to be imminent. Lady Catherine brings two suitors for Georgiana’s hand, who cause a bit of mayhem themselves. Lydia’s presence causes bickering—and a couple of small fires—while Wickham has more nefarious plans in mind….The abundance of guests soon puts a strain on her marriage as Elizabeth tries to manage the comedy and chaos while ensuring a happy Christmas for all.
Meanwhile, Georgiana is finding her suitors—and the prospect of coming out—to be very unappealing. Colonel Fitzwilliam seems to be the only person who understands her fondness for riding astride and shooting pistols. Georgiana realizes she’s beginning to have more than cousinly feelings for him, but does he return them? And what kind of secrets is he hiding?
Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes, by Alexa Adams
“Charlotte smiled from across the room at the man’s obvious devotion to her friend. Such attachment was very charming, undoubtedly, and when it came to an end, as it was most certain to do, they would have abundant good fortune to keep the inevitable aggravations with each other to a minimum.”
Both a Christmas celebration and conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story.
As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them. Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match. Miss Lucas thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas. It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy’s pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty.
The Madness of Mr. Darcy continues a year into Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s marriage. Old demons are laid to rest, but fear of losing his newfound happiness continue to haunt our hero. Learn how old and new friends prosper and see what the future holds for Pemberley. Will the Darcy family maintain the traditions of the previous generations, or will stewardship of the land pass to another clan?
A Christmas Miracle At Longbourn, by Catherine Bilson
When Georgiana Darcy runs away from home to search for George Wickham, her brother sets off in hot pursuit. Finding her in the company of Elizabeth Bennet confounds Darcy completely; surely Elizabeth could not be in league with Wickham?
Trapped at Longbourn when Georgiana falls ill, Elizabeth and Darcy must resolve their differences and get to the truth. But forcing them to set aside their pride and prejudices might just take a miracle…
Two Days Before Christmas: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Darcy Family Holidays Book 1) by Leenie Brown
Georgiana Darcy is less than pleased when her brother returns to town before he is expected. However, after greeting him and seeing that he is more morose than when he left, she becomes concerned. Convinced that she knows the reason behind Darcy’s despondency, Georgiana sets out to remedy the problem and present her brother with the best Christmas gift ever — an unbroken heart.
Netherfield sits empty. Mr. Collins has been refused, and Elizabeth Bennet’s mother is suffering from a serious case of nerves. There is only one thing to be done. Elizabeth and her sister must be sent to town in the hopes that one or both might secure a husband. Tossed into each other’s paths, Darcy and Elizabeth renew their acquaintance and must decide how to proceed. Will Darcy continue to flee from the lady who has stolen his heart? Will Elizabeth be able to decipher Darcy’s true character? Or will both be left lonely and broken-hearted this Christmas?
A Very Mary Christmas: A Sequel to Waking to Mr. Darcy (Dash of Darcy and Companions Collection Book 4) by Leenie Brown
What is a lady to do when your mother shares with one and all that you have lost your last chance for marriage and when the one man you wish to marry sees you only as a friend? If you are Mary Bennet, you plan to escape to London and begin a new life while attempting to forget the man you left behind.
What is a gentleman to do when your father retires to Bath, leaving you his estate as well as his debts along with new bills and the care of a devil-may-care brother? If you are a cautious and calculating businessman like Nicholas Hammond, you double down your efforts to make your estate solvent and tuck away your hopes of marrying until the finances are well and truly able to withstand the added expenses of a wife and family.
One Winter’s Eve: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Darcy Family Holidays Book 2) by Leenie Brown
Caroline Bingley ‘s greatest desire is to marry a wealthy gentleman with an estate. However, Pemberley and its master have been lost. While this is a most unfortunate turn of events, it’s not the worst of it, for Caroline’s brother insists that he will marry his most recent angel despite the lady’s ridiculous family. And Caroline? Well, she must return to Netherfield and perform the part of perfect hostess for her brother and the gentleman she has lost, as well as his sister and his annoyingly direct cousin.
Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam has always found Caroline Bingley attractive. However, by focusing on her sharp tongue, he has deftly managed to avoid any entanglement that might threaten his plan not to marry. Until now. Having been challenged to re-evaluate his opinion of Caroline, Richard has found himself unable to resist the puzzle she presents.
While Richard attempts to understand and Caroline attempts not to offend, love works its magic causing hearts to become engaged. But is love’s enchantment powerful enough for a gentleman bent on remaining single and a lady equally as determined to marry only a man with an estate to come to an understanding? Or will love find itself rejected and shivering under the stars of a winter’s night?
The Mission: He Taught Me to Hope Christmas Vignette, by P. O. Dixon
Bennet Carlton captures our imaginations in the novel He Taught Me to Hope, Book One in the Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest series. Join the precocious young knight as he embarks upon a mission to bring his Bennet and Fitzwilliam relations to Pemberley for Christmas, and in so doing, teaches his family to hope.
‘Tis the Season for Matchmaking: A Lasting Love Affair Continues (A Darcy and Elizabeth Love Affair Book 2) by P. O. Dixon
If newlywed Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy has her way, two of her most deserving guests will find their way to each other and soon know the joy that she and her adoring husband, Mr. Darcy, share.
Elizabeth is not the only one playing matchmaker. When it comes to games of the heart, who will lose and who will win?
Miss Bennet’s First Christmas: A Bennet Wardrobe Story, by Don Jacobson
Mary Bennet has only been “Miss Bennet” for a fortnight when disaster strikes Meryton in this story of Christmas 1811. Without any of her sisters remaining at Longbourn, Mary is early in her transformation from the one-dimensional troubled young woman portrayed in “Pride and Prejudice” into a profoundly empathetic character guided by her faith. During her efforts to assist the wounded of her home village, she encounters and is swept off her feet by a stranger who knows more about Meryton, her family and even Mary herself than any person has the right to know. The young man, Edward Benton, also conceals a mystery that has been held close for nearly 125 years.
Christmas at Darcy House, by Victoria Kincaid
Mr. Darcy hopes Christmastime will help him to forget the pair of fine eyes that he left behind in Hertfordshire. When Elizabeth Bennet appears unexpectedly in London, Darcy decides to keep his distance, resolved to withstand his attraction to her. But when he learns that Wickham is threatening to propose to Elizabeth, Darcy faces a crisis.
For her part, Elizabeth does not understand why the unpleasant master of Pemberley insists on dancing with her at the Christmas ball or how his eyes happen to seek her out so often. She enjoys Mr. Wickham’s company and is flattered when he makes her an offer of marriage. On the other hand, Mr. Darcy’s proposal is unexpected and unwelcome. But the more Elizabeth learns of Mr. Darcy, the more confused she becomes—as she prepares to make the most momentous decision of her life.
Miss Bingley’s Christmas, by Summer Hanford and Renata McMann
The weather outside is frightful, but that doesn’t stop Miss Bingley from dragging her sister off to a trendy new flower shop in a slightly less than modish part of London. What could be so important as to bring two socialites out in the cold? Why, Mr. Darcy is coming for Christmas dinner.
Unfortunately for Miss Bingley, a winter storm and her own arrogance combine to ruin her Christmas plans, but maybe the Christmas she ends up having will actually turn into the Christmas of her dreams.
Epiphany with Tea (A Pride and Prejudice Christmas Short Story) by Summer Hanford and Renata McMann
Even after years of marriage, the memory of tea at Rosings is still fresh in Darcy’s mind, but can lessons learned then help him come to terms with the trials of today?
Epiphany with Tea is a story of love, happiness, understanding and cherishing the season.
The Forgiving Season, by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford
When Elizabeth finds herself increasingly in the company of Mr. Darcy, she expects her dislike of him to grow. Instead, she begins to see a different side of the one man she never dreamed to care for. Meanwhile, Wickham plots ultimate misery for Darcy, but his plans lead him in a direction he never guessed he would go.
Darcy’s Perfect Present, by Zoe Burton
When Fitzwilliam Darcy arrives in Hertfordshire, he yearns to spend a quiet holiday with friends. However, meeting the charming and witty Elizabeth Bennet changes all his desires. No longer content to while away his time in solitude, he spends much of it with the lovely young woman. Seeing her happy replaces all his previous intentions as claiming her heart becomes his greatest Christmas wish.
As the extensive list above proves, the Austen Authors have many Jane Austen-inspired Christmas focused/themed/set novels and novellas for readers to enjoy. Of course, we are not the only writers of Austenesque novels who have embraced the holiday. Here are a few others (not an exhaustive list for sure) that may tickle your fancy–
That should give y’all enough to read during the month ahead!
I am sure I have missed a bunch of titles, so feel free to share others in the comments below. Also, tell us your favorite Christmas reads, whether Austenesque or other genres.
Let’s get that holiday spirit going!