Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton – This is a perennial favorite of mine. Five very different ladies living in Hope Springs, North Carolina, discover true friendship with each other after ending up together on a church’s Cookbook Committee. Margaret, Beatrice, Charlotte, Jessie, and Louise become more dear to me every time I rejoin them. (FYI, sequels to this book are Hope Springs, Forever Friends, Christmas Cake, and Wedding Cake.)
How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn – This is the sequel (sort of) to The Autobiography of Santa Claus, which I absolutely loved (and, if I’m honest, wish I had thought of). In this book, Mrs. Layla Claus inspires and is inspired by English citizens who stand up for Christmas when the Puritans try to outlaw it. It also tells the story of Layla’s life before she became Mrs. Claus.
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland – I asked for this book for Christmas, and I'm glad I did! It’s historical fiction based on the lives of the very real women who created and designed some of the most memorable Tiffany stained glass works, particularly the lamps. Woven into the tale are a number of historical events such as the Chicago World’s Fair, the turn of the 20th century, the construction of iconic New York buildings, and the first time the New Year’s “Ball” dropped in Times Square. This book was entertaining but also taught me a lot of American history.