Winter is the perfect time to cozy up with a good book, especially around the holidays. Christmas books definitely help to put one in a festive mood and some holiday literature has even helped to change how we celebrate the holiday from Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. London certainly has its own share of Christmas literature from the Victorian period to the present day. We have identified five London Christmas books we think you should read to celebrate and you can share your own favorites with us in the comments.
Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay
During the pandemic, we have become more keenly aware of the toll events like these can take upon medical professionals. Prior to becoming an award-winning author and comedian, Adam Kay served as an NHS doctor from 2004 to 2010. His experiences inform this book, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, which like his prior work This is Going to Hurt, is made up of his diary entries during his medical career and specifically focuses on working during the holidays. It’s a bit of a dark comedy that will certainly help us to appreciate those who have to work on the most wonderful day of the year.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
Another group that never seems to get the holidays off are famous fictional detectives. Hercule Poirot is invited to the investigation of millionaire Simeon Lee in his London home where there is no shortage of potential suspects who may have wanted the family patriarch dead. Anyone who enjoys a good “whodunnit” will be thrilled at the chance to solve this “locked room mystery” set around the holidays. As usual, you can expect a bit of a twist in the identity of the murderer from Christie, and the whole affair ends as merry as it can for a murder mystery.
A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton
The second in the Ration Book series set in East London, a Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton sees the Brogan family celebrating the holiday as best they can during the London Blitz. With the threat of German bombs and a potential invasion hanging over their heads, the Brogans are not about to let the Nazis kill their Christmas spirit. If you need a bit of Hallmark-esque romance, daughter Jo falls in love with a bad boy during the holiday and it remains to be seen whether he’ll offer the yuletide romance she seeks.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The original London Christmas story, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is arguably the most important holiday story in the capital’s history. At a time when the holiday was celebrated more in the countryside, Dickens helped bring it back to the cities with a tale about a miserly old man who’s visited by three Christmas ghosts that teach him about charity and love during the season. Needless to say, it’s a Christmas classic that everyone should read at least once in their lives.
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
From the Victorian period to the present, author Sophie Kinsella’s Christmas Shopaholic is the most modern London Christmas story you’ll find. Protagonist Becky Brandon finds herself hosting Christmas dinner after her parents move to Shoreditch and must navigate the perils of party planning while searching for gifts in-store and online. As Becky prepares for the holiday, she has to find ways to make everyone merry from boring requests like her husband only wanting aftershave to her sister demanding a vegan turkey for the feast. With a Christmas like this, readers are bound to see a little of themselves and their own holiday hang-ups in Kinsella’s work.