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dear mr. hemingway’s 2021 holiday books & pairings 

Latkes & Lovers

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin’s Press)

Talk about a feel-good holiday read.  Here you go!  The Santa Suit is a small-town, farmhouse chic story filled with the most loveable (and good-looking) characters, holiday spirit, and LOVE! Andrews delivers a unique storyline that is just perfect for this time of year. Did I mention there were a few chickens on the farm…you know I adore small farm animals.   This book simply made me HAPPY!


When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it. 

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.”

P.S.  I am in love with the new products Rachel has created in her gorgeous shop.  Check out this festive cozy for your hot beverage.  It screams holiday spirit.  Lots of patterns in her store, so be sure to peek around.

Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Gallery Books)

I could not put this book down.  I think I read it cover to cover in one sitting.  I will tell you this, Harvey knows how to write emotional stories that reveal how to keep love alive during life’s ultimate challenges.  My heart throbbed quite a bit during this story.  I loved how invested I was in the characters every step of the way. Under the Southern Sky was an absolute winner!  The scenery wasn’t half bad either!


Recently separated Amelia Saxton, a dedicated journalist, never expected that uncovering the biggest story of her career would become deeply personal. But when she discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned,” she’s put in the unenviable position of telling Parker—and dredging up old wounds in the process.

Parker has been unable to move forward since the loss of his beloved wife three years ago. He has all but forgotten about the frozen embryos, but once Amelia reveals her discovery, he knows that if he ever wants to get a part of Greer back, he’ll need to accept his fate as a single father and find a surrogate.

Each dealing with their own private griefs, Parker and Amelia slowly begin to find solace in one another as they navigate an uncertain future against the backdrop of the pristine waters of their childhood home, Cape Carolina. The journey of self-discovery leads them to an unforgettable and life-changing lesson: Family—the one you’re born into and the one you choose—is always closer than you think.”

P.S. Pair this magnificent story with my new favorite book journal from Anne Bogel.  I am loving mine and the book lover in your life will love this too.

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (Mira Books)

Now this story was a breath of fresh air.  The story centers around a quintessential Jewish girl who not only secretly loves Christmas, but is a best-selling author of Christmas novels under a pen name so her family doesn’t find out.  I was absolutely obsessed with Meltzer’s book.  She not only wrote an awesome storyline, but managed to weave in romance, family, and chronic illness in the most heartwarming way.  There is no way not to love this book.  It is WONDERFUL! Everyone needs to read this book this holiday season!


Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she writes a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy–Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah–and Jacob–in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.”

P.S.  Booklovers who also adore jigsaw puzzles will DIE for this witty book club puzzle.  I am totally in love with it and it pairs so well with this book.

Dear Mr. Hemingway’s 2021 Holiday Books & Pairings

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