The best film worthy regency era Christmas novels

Elisabeth Fairchild Author Of The Holly and the Ivy
By Elisabeth Fairchild

Who am I?

A Jane Austen devotee since third grade, inspired by subtlety, wit, and clever banter, neck deep in richly evocative Regency research and sensory detail, I've authored 17 Jane Austen-style novels, (3 Christmas) and 4 novellas (3 Christmas) published by NAL/Penguin. Fascinated by lyrical language, budding love matches, and honorable, moral, and ethical themes, I'm particularly fond of historically accurate warm-hearted Christmas novels. I'd love to see a Christmas Regency Classic added to the ranks of beloved Holiday films, so I was thrilled to come up with a list of favorites! Awards: Golden Quill, Holt Medallion, Bookseller’s Best, Waldensbook Bestseller of the Year, Romantic Times Top Pick, Reviewers Choice, Best Regency Novel, a Lifetime Achievement Award.


I wrote...

The Holly and the Ivy

By Elisabeth Fairchild,

Book cover of The Holly and the Ivy

What is my book about?

Inspired by a Christmas carol, Hermione Hobhouse’s maps detailing the History of Regent Street and an etching of a magical “Merlin chair,” I created a Happy Christmas for the lonely-hearted following close on the heels of a heart-wrenching year of personal loss. A prickly hero unexpectedly suffers the death of his right hand man and mentor in the midst of preparations for a Christmas ball highly anticipated by everyone but its host. Encountering his neighbor and her cheerful caretaking granddaughter is yet another interruption in a long list of holiday ills. Merry Miss Mary is undeterred by crotchety Lord Thorn. A creature of joy and light, she embodies my theme, transforming loneliness and loss by choosing joy at Christmas. 

The books I picked & why

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Marian's Christmas Wish

By Carla Kelly,

Book cover of Marian's Christmas Wish

Why this book?

A RITA Award winner, this sweet, character-driven Regency comes alive with playful Hepburn/Tracy style banter in a May/December romance. An impertinent younger sister, who takes in strays and the wounded, wins the attention of a scarred, slightly singed diplomat. She decides he must be reunited with his family for the holidays. With her rascal brother’s dubious assistance, the three embark on a surprisingly dangerous quest to fulfill heartfelt Christmas wishes.

Marian's Christmas Wish

By Carla Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marian's Christmas Wish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she’s certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected—a young and handsome English lord.


A Christmas Promise

By Mary Balogh,

Book cover of A Christmas Promise

Why this book?

This moving, character-focused Christmas novel captures the loneliness inherent in the once-common practice of an arranged marriage. Troubled by clashes of background, social standing, and financial independence, neither party truly desires the match, but both choose to honor a dying man’s hopes and wishes, gaining deeper insight into a rambunctious family Christmas to be remembered.

A Christmas Promise

By Mary Balogh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Christmas Promise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eleanor Transome found her father's wealth a dubious blessing, for he was determined that she marry a nobleman. Lord Randolph Falloden was on the brink of ruin, and so agreed to the match. Love was never part of the bargain, as Eleanor was already in love with the handsome, but poor, Wilfred Ellis.


Once Upon A Christmas

By Diane Farr,

Book cover of Once Upon A Christmas

Why this book?

With a lovely grasp of engaging period language and humor, Farr produces a matchmaking mama’s interfering scheme to marry off her bride-shy son with the assistance of a distant, impoverished, orphaned cousin. Her headstrong targets have their own ideas concerning their future happiness and manage to unwrap their own glittering Christmas joy.

Once Upon A Christmas

By Diane Farr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once Upon A Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a tragic loss, Celia Delacourt faces a life of loneliness and poverty - until her distant cousin, the Duchess of Arnsford, unexpectedly takes her under her wing. Celia suspects an ulterior motive, but is grateful to spend Christmas with family, however remote the relationship - and despite the daunting grandeur of the ducal palace.

Celia has braced herself to face the worst Christmas of her life. But when Jack Delacourt comes home - determined to thwart the schemes of his mother, the duchess - Celia finds a friend and ally. And she begins to wonder ... will this be…


The Girl is Not For Christmas

By Emma V. Leech,

Book cover of The Girl is Not For Christmas

Why this book?

Nice banter, endearing characters, and a clever ending twist are wrapped in the Christmas antics of a newly impoverished, scapegrace family. Misfits for unwanted, arranged marriages, "plain Jane" Olivia helps rescue her brother’s friend, a depraved libertine known as the King of Sin, from himself, discovering her own resilience and strength in the process.

The Girl is Not For Christmas

By Emma V. Leech,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl is Not For Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Miss Olivia Penrose is a lost cause and she knows it. She is just too stubborn to admit defeat.

After a series of disastrous investments, her family is on the brink of bankruptcy. Now, Olivia is the only thing standing between her brother Charlie’s rapidly growing family and penury. Olivia has one chance to capture the eye of a wealthy man and marry well. Her great aunt’s lavish New Year ball. Between now and then, Livvy must transform herself from who she is, into a woman who can drive a respectable fellow mad with desire. An impossible task.

I owe…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Christmas, romantic love, and arranged marriage?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, romantic love, and arranged marriage.

Christmas Explore 161 books about Christmas
Romantic Love Explore 508 books about romantic love
Arranged Marriage Explore 39 books about arranged marriage

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Holiday Swap, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, and Finding Christmas if you like this list.