• Christmas by the Book

  • By: Anne Marie Ryan
  • Narrated by: Esther Wane
  • Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (94 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“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 30 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....

©2021 Anne Marie Ryan (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Snuggle in for the holidays with this heartwarming story about the power of Christmas, books, and friendship. Ryan does an excellent job of building a sense of place and exploring the community relationships, and handles tough topics (depression, loss, financial uncertainty) with a light, deft hand. Whether readers love stories about quaint English bookshops, Christmas, or small towns full of quirky characters, this book will surely warm the cockles of their hearts. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Elin Hilderbrand.” (Booklist)

"Reading Christmas by the Book is like eavesdropping in your favorite bookstore. The novel not only reminds us of the role such a bookstore plays in our communities but how random acts of kindness can heal us all. Ultimately, the novel is a testament to what happens when the perfect book finds us at the moment we need it most. Delightful and hopeful, this novel is the perfect Christmas treat." (Amy Meyerson, author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays)

“Like all of our most beloved Christmas stories, Anne Marie Ryan’s big-hearted Christmas by the Book weaves together a tale of hope, community, friendship, and love. It is warm reminder that real miracles happen when everyday people show up for each other. Best of all, it is a celebration of books, the way they can bring us together, make us stronger, and remind us that we are not alone. I know reading Christmas by the Book will become a part of my own holiday tradition, and I bet it will become a part of your, too.” (Louise Miller, author of The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living and The Late Bloomers’ Club)

What listeners say about Christmas by the Book

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Have patience

The majority of this book is spent in despair. The author walks you through the footsteps of several people who face impossible and heartbreaking situations. You are immersed in their hopelessness - and that can be really hard to take for such a sustained length of time. The author is good about not leaving any question unanswered at the end, but it’s a long way to get there.

3 people found this helpful

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Inspiring Christmas story.

I loved this book and could not put it down. It's truly inspirational for anyone that loves books and loves reading.

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So sorry that this book was massively boring

I really wanted a cozy Christmas read and this looked like it. It turned out to be my holiday penance that I forced myself to finish. The characters were flat, the story moved glacially slow (and I am not someone who needs constant action)and it was so painfully drawn out to be pretty unbearable. It would have made an ok short story but do yourself a favor and skip this one. I always give a book two stars if I finish it, but it really deserved only one.

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Combine every Lifetime movie you've ever seen

This book was so sweet and predictable I couldn't wait for it to end. The only thing I really liked were the references to other (much better) books. You knew, as you met each character, what their fate would be at the end.

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My new favorite Christmas story!

Loved everything about this book from start to finish! The story was engaging from the beginning and kept me interested the whole time. Listened to it quickly, but didn't want it to end! Loved the narration as well.

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MY NEW FAVORITE CHRISTMAS NOVEL!

I absolutely loved this beautifully done audio book. A feel-good book yet not the typical predictable holiday novel.

I found myself looking on Pinterest for many of the foods the author included throughout the book. Very well done!

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Absolutely Charming

Just what I was looking for in a Christmas story..taking place in England & all that it conjures up in my mind.

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Warm and welcome…

I throughly enjoyed this warm and welcome community story with its many problems and solutions. A welcome Christmas story of which I have read very few.

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A sweet read for the holidays

I enjoyed listening to this book while preparing gifts, decorating, puttering around in Christmas prep. It’s a simple story about the power of books, stories, and love of community. Not earth shaking literature, but a truly enjoyable read.

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Merry Christmas

This is a great Christmas book to get you in the mood for the holidays. It’s very engaging and deals with some hard topics.