Christmas Book List

Are you in a mad scramble to finish your Christmas shopping? Let me take some of the sting out of it for you. For your book-lover friends, here are ten book ideas from interviews I’ve done with female authors I’ve met through various writing activities.

The books vary in style, length and genre, so there should be something for everyone: contemporary or historical, memoir or fiction, romantic or gritty. I’ve arranged by genre.

Historical Fiction

Author: Kate Murdoch

Kate has two award-winning books on the list, The Orange Grove and Stone Circle. These are for anyone who enjoys a great yarn set in years gone by with glorious attention to detail.

Orange Grove

Title: The Orange Grove
Age group: adult
Interview: Kate Murdoch on Managing Multiple Manuscripts
Brief description
: When status is survival, every choice has its consequence.
Blois, 1705. The chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue.
Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies.
The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in domestic politics and love strive for supremacy.
In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

perf6.000x9.000.inddTitle: Stone Circle
Age group: adult
Interview: Kate Murdoch on Writing Historical Fiction
Brief description
: Stone Circle is set in Renaissance Italy in 1585. It tells the story of Antonius, who, after the death of his father, becomes apprenticed to the town seer, along with the spoilt son of a nobleman. The two men compete for the approval of the seer and the affection of his daughter as they learn about magic and alchemy.

Author: Kirsten Alexander

Inspired by a real case, in Half Moon Lake, Kirsten tells a gripping tale of a boy’s disappearance.

half moon lake coverTitle: Half Moon Lake
Age group:
Interview: Kirsten Alexander, Novelist and Founder of Storymart
Brief description: In 1913, on a summer’s day at Half Moon Lake, Louisiana, four-year-old Sonny Davenport walks into the woods and never returns.
The boy’s mysterious disappearance from the family’s lake house makes front-page news in their home town of Opelousas. John Henry and Mary Davenport are wealthy and influential, and will do anything to find their son. For two years, the Davenports search across the South, offer increasingly large rewards and struggle not to give in to despair. Then, at the moment when all hope seems lost, the boy is found in the company of a tramp.
But is he truly Sonny Davenport? The circumstances of his discovery raise more questions than answers. And when Grace Mill, an unwed farm worker, travels from Alabama to lay claim to the child, newspapers, townsfolk, even the Davenports’ own friends, take sides.
As the tramp’s kidnapping trial begins, and two desperate mothers fight for ownership of the boy, the people of Opelousas discover that truth is more complicated than they’d ever dreamed.

Author: Natalie Muller

Natalie’s Poisoning the Nest is set in Australia during and after the first world war.

Poisoning the NestTitle: Poisoning the Nest
Age group: adult
Interview: Natalie Muller, Publisher at Black Cockie Press
Brief description: When Jack Kelly signed up, the war was meant to be over by Christmas. It was supposed to be an adventure, a chance to escape his life for a little, something to tell the grandkids about.
The war didn’t stay ‘over there’, it slipped its bonds in Europe and travelled all the way to his Australian town, Katoomba. It wasn’t meant to set neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend. Yet it had. The war tested the cohesion of the young nation. It made heroes of some and enemies of others.


Author: Lisa Eskinazi

Lisa’s memoir shares her experience of being bullied at school, and winning a legal battle against her school and her bullies. It’s short, but packs a punch, with deeplly authentic writing.

Out of the WellTitle: Out of the Well: My Battle with School Bullying and Depression
Age group:
Interview: Lisa Eskinazi: From High School Dropout to Author
Brief description: Out of the Well is a brave account of Lisa’s experience with school bullying and mental illness. She shares journalling and poetry written at her lowest ebb to give us a window into her frightening, turbulent thoughts.

Realistic Fiction

Author: Eleni Hale

Eleni’s gritty novel, Stone Girl, is pegged as young adult, but don’t let that limit you. The rating is based on the age of the protagonist, but the book will equally appeal to adults. Inspired by the author’s experience as a ward of state living in group homes in the early 1990s.

Stone GirlTitle: Stone Girl
Age group: young adult
Interview: Eleni Hale – Novelist
Brief description: Sophie Soukaris is 12 years old when we meet her at a police station. Her mum is dead. Social workers are called to take her away. Sophie has no other family so like thousands of other Australian kids, she’s put into the group home system.
Stone Girl follows Sophie’s life from 12 to 18 years old as she becomes someone society judges, despises and ultimately dismisses. She soon comprehends her place and decides who and how she must be in a world where there’s no one to rely upon but herself. She toughens up and becomes Stone Girl. This persona is her survival mechanism. She uses anger to hide her vulnerability. When she lifts her chin against the world, she can shut out things that have happened to her. Most of us wear a mask to fit in and protect ourselves, but Sophie must wear hers 24 hours a day. In the end, it’s what she does with the Stone Girl facade that makes this a story of redemption.


Author: JJ Campbell

JJ Campbell writes paranormal romance in her first novel, Reclaimed.

Reclaimed Book CoverTitle: Reclaimed
Age group: young adult
Interview: How JJ Campbell Reclaimed Her Voice
Brief description: Cass should have been starting college in the fall. Instead she’s been reclaimed by Gabe, an immortal from Atlantis, who thinks she’s his soul mate. She planned to reinvent herself at college, but gills, super-human strength and immortality were never on her wish list.
Cass wants it all, Gabe, college, land and sea, but what will she have to sacrifice to get it? Forced to live a double life, Cass struggles to deal with love, loss and a ghost from her past as she fends off demons, aliens, psychopaths and an evil step-father.
Can Cass overcome her past, find love and transform? Or will fate steal her happy ever after?

Author: Gail Cleare

Gail also has two books on the list. Love & Chocolate is a classic rom-com suitable for anyone who loves love and chocolates. The Taste of Air is women’s fiction, see below.

Love and ChocolateTitle: Love & Chocolate
Age group: adult
Interview: Gail Cleare, From Ad Executive to Novelist
Brief description: When Sarah Westwood’s deadbeat husband deserts her and their young son, she takes a job at her family’s restaurant, The Three Chocolatiers, working with her famous chef grandfather and her pastry chef cousin, Paisley. Determined never to fall for the wrong guy again, Sarah vows to stick to chocolate and steer clear of men, especially her delicious ice-cream supplier, Blake Harrison. But when Paisley signs her up for a dating site, Sarah is soon engaging in a sexy online flirtation with a stranger.
Blake Harrison wants nothing more than for Sarah to give him a chance, but all she’ll give him is the cold shoulder. Never one to run from a challenge, he works on becoming the kind of man Sarah can’t refuse. And since he just happens to be on the same dating site, he’s not above using a little cyber-intel to worm his way into her heart.
When Sarah’s grandfather collapses just weeks before an upscale chocolate-themed wedding that could make or break the business, the staff of The Three Chocolatiers is sent into a tailspin. With the pressure rising on personal and professional fronts, Sarah might just have to let someone sweet melt her defenses.

Women’s Fiction

Author: Gail Cleare

In The Taste of Air, Gail explores family secrets.

The Taste of AirTitle: The Taste of Air
Age group: adult
Interview: Gail Cleare, From Ad Executive to Novelist 
Brief description
: Two sisters find out their mother has been hiding a secret life for over forty years. When she turns up in a hospital in Vermont, many miles from home, they discover she has a lakeside cottage in the little town of Hartland, Vermont, and a set of complex relationships with people they have never met. As the sisters delve further into her past, they question their own lives and decisions. The trail of secrets goes all the way back to the 1960’s, when their parents were stationed in Vietnam during the war.

Author: Kate Forster

Award winning author, Kate, has published over ten novels and a swathe of short stories. In The Sisters, she writes about siblings under pressure.

The Sisters CoverTitle: The Sisters
Age group: adult
Kate Forster, Novelist and Founder of Ladybirds
Brief description: The de Santoval sisters are heiresses to a glamorous fashion house, and the darlings of LA society.
Violetta is the hottest reality TV star of the moment, with a fierce press interest to rival Hollywood’s A-list.
Carlotta is an exclusive horse trainer, as wild as the stallions she breaks in.
Fine-arts consultant Grace is hiding a dark secret she must keep hidden at all costs.
Their mother, wealthy fashion maven Birdie De Santoval, lies unconscious following a mysterious accident. Blame soon falls on their powerful but ruthless tycoon father, the missing Leon De Santoval.
Beneath the ritzy façade of the de Santoval family lies a web of deceit and betrayal that hides a secret that threatens to destroy them all…

Best of luck with your Christmas shopping. I hope you can find something here for someone you love.

Next time: The Publishing Success Flowchart, should you write from your heart, or follow the market?

3 thoughts on “Christmas Book List

  1. Thank you for the list. I think I’ll start easy with Love and Chocolate…sounds like the making of a Hallmark movie 😀 or maybe The taste of Air…I do like stories with secrets.

    Liked by 1 person

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