Skip to main content


Literary Friday: Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan

Friday, January 7, 2022


Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm reviewing one of my very favorite Christmas books I've ever read: Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan.

According to Goodreads:

“A heartfelt and lovely Christmas tale for book lovers everywhere!”—Jenny Colgan, author of The Bookshop on the Shore
In small-town England, two booksellers facing tough times decide to spread some Christmas cheer through the magic of anonymous book deliveries in this uplifting holiday tale for book lovers everywhere.

Nora and her husband, Simon, have run the beautiful oak-beamed book shop in their small British village for thirty years. But times are tough and the shop is under threat of closure--this Christmas season will really decide their fate. When an elderly man visits the store and buys the one book they've never been able to sell, saying it's the perfect gift for his sick grandson, it gives Nora an idea. She and Simon will send out books to those feeling down this Christmas. Maybe they can't save their bookstore, but at least they'll have one final chance to lift people's spirits through the power of reading.

After gathering nominations online, Nora and Simon quietly deliver books to six residents of the village in need of some festive cheer, including a single dad of twins who is working hard to make ends meet, a teenage boy grieving for his big sister, a local Member of Parliament who is battling depression, and a teacher who's newly retired and living on her own. As the town prepares for a white Christmas, the books begin to give the recipients hope, one by one. But with the future of the bookshop still up in the air, Nora and Simon will need a Christmas miracle--or perhaps a little help from the people whose lives they've touched--to find a happy ending of their own....

My favorite quote from the book.

My review:

The main characters and the couple who own the bookstore, Nora and Simon, are absolutely precious.  I love them so much!  They are on the verge of losing their Cotswolds bookshop to the bank, and yet they decide to give a book to six individuals who need to be uplifted during Christmas.  Their community nominates deserving villagers via social media, and Nora and Simon select winners from the nominees.  They enjoy choosing which six books to give away, and the one stipulation is that each book must be set during Christmas.  One reason they enjoyed their task so much is due to the wine and chocolate consumption during the process.  They carefully wrap each book in brown paper and select the winners.

The next morning, a little hungover yet anxious to deliver the books to the winners, Nora and Simon realize that they forgot to label the wrapped books: They have no way to match the recipient with a book unless they unwrap them, and they decided to let fate determine who gets which book.  What I love most about the plot is that miraculously each person receives the perfect book for his or her circumstances: It's a Christmas miracle!  There are also other miracles in the story, but I'm unwilling to share those spoilers.

Another thing to love about this book is the Christmas Book List for the winners:

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
  • The Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern 
(The classic It's a Wonderful Life was based on The Greatest Gift.)

This novel makes me want to read all of these books.  I might do it next Christmas, but first I want to find a copy of The Greatest Gift.

Not just a cozy Christmas read (it was),  it's literary in that books are discussed, characters are very well developed, and the sense of community in the Village of Stoweford is heart-warming.  If you love books, indie bookshops, unforgettable characters, and Christmas you will love this book.  Added bonus: the bookshop's dog is a Westie named Merry!  I highly recommend it.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

IndieBound affiliate link
Please remember to support your local Indie Bookshop.  They are so important to our communities! 

Did you read a book with a Christmas setting during the holidays?

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. This book had you from the moment you spotted the Westie on the cover! It sounds delightful!

  2. This looks like a wonderful book, one I'd really love. Books, Cotswolds, a cute dog, wine, chocolate? What's not to love!

  3. How adorable. A book like this would be good even after Christmas on a day like we're having - we had a snowstorm last night and got over 10"!

  4. I am sure the cover sold you. Ha ha ha. It sounds like a great book. You typically have a knack at finding the good ones. I hope your day is warmer.

  5. Two favorites, Christmas and Great Britain so this has to be a good read. Like Jenna, the Westie captured you from the get go!!! Happy weekend......

  6. What a great and uplifting book with a beautiful story about heartfelt caring and kindness. Love it. Love the little Westie on the cover telling you to for sure read this one. Miracle right there that you got that message from a cover of a book and then find out it is an all time favorite. Hmmmm miracles happen outside the book and story too. Happy Friday. xoxo

  7. As a westie mom, I would have picked up the book simply because of the cover and now that you have reviewed it, I most definitely shall get it. I spent Christmas day reading Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright. The bookshop has a cafe in it thus, it's called Readmore Cafe and it's characters are very likeable. Another Christmas book I enjoy annually is The 13th Day of Christmas by Jason F. Wright. Happy New Year to all of you. mimi

  8. Ok, so this sounds like just what I need right now. I'd love to read it under a big blanket next to the fire, while the snow falls outside. Plus, that cover is just beautiful. I could live in a shop like that!


Comments are friendly!


I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

Follow me on Instagram