Hope and Heart: 18 Titles for Readers Who Love the Hallmark Channel

Hope and Heart-18 Titles for Readers Who Love the Hallmark Channel-featured

Sometimes the world can be a dark and scary place (especially, it seems, during the last two years), so is it really any wonder that ratings have been booming for the Hallmark Channel? The seemingly endless supply of made-for-television movies and shows offer a warm and comfortable place to escape from all the sturm and drang of everyday life. Fortunately, one can enjoy the same feel-good ingredients of a Hallmark television production without having to have access to cable TV. Like their television counterparts, the romantic novels below deliver all that Hallmark fans could ever crave, including two eminently likeable protagonists, whose initial antagonistic feelings for each other gradually evolve into a sweet romance; a charming (more often than not) small-town setting, an endearing cast of quirky yet loveable secondary characters, and a story line that unabashedly celebrates hope, hearth, and heart.


Beach Wedding Weekend, by Rachel Magee

Paige always thought she and Brody would end up together, but when Brody returns from Europe, he’s bringing back more than just duty-free Scotch and perfume. Vowing to send the sexy actress who is currently kissing Brody packing, Paige shows up at a wedding they are all attending with her own “boyfriend,” in the person of her best friend’s brother Aiden.


Cottage by the Sea, by Debbie Macomber

When a natural disaster takes everything and everyone she loves away, a grief-stricken Annie Marlowe moves to Oceanside, Washington to live in the seaside cottage, where she and her family enjoyed many happy summer vacations. As Annie slowly puts the pieces of her life back together, she forges new friendships as well as a chance at romance with an old acquaintance. If anyone deserves to be crowned Queen of the Hallmark Channel, it is definitely Macomber, who not only has seen four of her books become successful Christmas movies on the channel, but whose beloved and best-selling Cedar Cove series has also become the Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series.


 Family Tree, by Susan Wiggs

After waking up from a year-long coma, LA cooking show producer Annie Rush finds herself back home on her family’s sugar maple farm in rural Vermont. Now with some help from family, friends, and her old teenage love, along with a cookbook left by her grandmother, Annie starts putting together the ingredients she needs for a new life. Women’s fiction and romance star Wiggs’ book is all about second chances and sweet romance served up with a generous helping of maple sugar.


Hope on the Inside, by Marie Bostwick

Worried about her financial future after retirement, Hope Carpenter begins teaching crafting classes at a local women’s prison. As Hope and some of her students begin a quilting project, the women not only find themselves piecing together a work of art but also slowly stitching back together the pieces of their lives. Bostwick’s latest heartwarming novel beautifully captures the importance of things in life that bring us together and keep us connected.


In Dog We Trust, by Beth Kendrick

No one in Black Dog Bay was more surprised than Jocelyn Hillier when the late Mr. Allardyce’s will is probated, and Jocelyn discovers that she’s been named co-trustee of her employer’s three beloved Labrador retrievers, except possibly Allardyce’s estranged son, Liam, who believes everything belongs to him. Kendrick knows a thing or two about the Hallmark glow given that her book, Nearlyweds, was an early pick for the channel, and her Black Dog Bay series deliver everything fans of Hallmark movies could every want including a charming small-town setting, plenty of zingy humor, and just the right dash of sweet romance.


Lilac Lane, by Sherryl Woods

After the unexpected death of her fiancé, Kiera Malone accepts her daughter’s offer to come to the U.S. from Ireland to see her new granddaughter. While reconnecting with her family, Kiera begins helping out in her son-in-law’s Irish pub, where she is soon butting heads with pub’s stubborn chef, Brian Laramie.  Wood’s Chesapeake Shores series, of which this is the fourteenth heartwarming installment, are the basis for a television series of the same name on the Hallmark Channel.


Love on Location, by Cassidy Carter

When a new freeway pulls business away from Wyatt Andrews’ family-run Cabins in the Pines, Wyatt’s best friend, Delaney Phillips, encourages him to try out for a reality television show that helps out businesses in trouble. However, when the glamorous host of the show begins putting the romantic moves on Wyatt, Delany begins rethinking just how smart her idea might be.


Love at the Shore, by Teri Wilson

Young adult novelist Jenna has come to the beach to break through the writer’s block that is keeping her from delivering her latest manuscript to her publisher. But how on earth can anyone concentrate when your neighbor is a sexy surfer, who loves loud music and wild parties, and can’t even keep his own dog under control? Several of Wilson’s books–including Unleashing Mr. Darcy–have been picked up the Hallmark Channel for TV treatment.


The Perfect Recipe for Love and Friendship, by Shirley Jump

After her husband’s unexpected death, Bridget O’Bannon isn’t sure exactly what she now wants to do with her life, but given the current state of her finances, she needs to figure it out sooner rather than later. Going back to work in the family bakery with her mom and her sisters is supposed to be a temporary stop-gap measure, but instead it may hold the key to Bridget’s future. In the first in a series featuring the O’Bannon clan, Jump isn’t afraid to show the messiness of real family life while at the same time celebrating the love that brings everyone together.


The Recipe Box, by Viola Shipman

After telling her reality television star boss exactly were to stuff his famous baked goods, Samantha “Sam” Mullins heads back home to her family’s orchard and bakery in northern Michigan. As Sam spends the summer cooking and baking alongside her mother and grandmother using recipes from their family’s treasured recipe box, she not only sees the culinary thread that connects her to her past, she also discovers someone who may be the key to her romantic future. Shipman’s heartwarming book Includes a small sampling of mouthwatering recipes.


Small Town Rumors, by Carolyn Brown

Growing up in Bloom, Texas, wealthy, pretty, and popular Jennie Sue Baker was the envy of every other girl in town, but now years later, she returns broke, divorced, and (according to her socially obsessed mother) a sorry disgrace.  Jennie, however, is determined to ignore the town gossips and chart a new course in life for herself, one that just might include a future with sweet yet sexy farmer Rick Lawson. No one does small town Southern charm quite like Brown.


 Welcome to Moonlight Harbor, by Sheila Roberts

Recently divorced Jenna Jones packs up her teenage daughter and her belongs in order to build a new life for herself helping run her Great-Aunt Edie’s charming, if ramshackle, Driftwood Inn. While helping to restore the inn to something resembling its former glory, Jenna discovers much to her surprise that her future just might include romance. Roberts, whose book The Nine Lives of Christmas was adapted by Hallmark, begins a charming new beach series with this sweet mix of women’s fiction and romance.


Mistletoe Required

If there is one thing for which the Hallmark Channel is even more famous for than its romantic movies, it’s the bounty of romantic holiday films that the channel shows around the clock for two straight months every year during its “Countdown to Christmas in November and December.” Not to mention the channel’s Christmas in July movie marathon. So, for readers looking who like their contemporary romances wrapped up with plenty of holiday cheer, the books below will be perfect literary offering.


The Bridge, by Karen Kingsbury

The Bridge, one of Tennessee’s oldest and most beloved bookstores, has always held a special place in country music singer Ryan Kelly’s heart since he spent so many hours there with his old love, Molly Allen. So, when Ryan hears that the bookstore may have to close, he begins a campaign to save it only to become reunited with Molly. Fans of It’s a Wonderful Life will especially enjoy this holiday tale.


Christmas Camp, by Karen Schaler

Brand strategist Haley Hanson doesn’t care what her friends and family think, she just doesn’t like Christmas. But if Haley is going to have any hope of landing a major account and the promotion she desperately wants, she is going to have to spend a week at the Christmas Camp hosted by Holly Peak Inn, proving to everyone, including Jeff Jacoby, the annoyingly sexy son of the inn’s owner, that she really isn’t a grinch.


Christmas on Mistletoe Lane, by Annie Rains

Hoping to start over after her interior design career goes bust in New York, Kaitlyn Russo heads back home to Sweetwater only to discover that her late grandmother has willed her bed-and-breakfast equally to both Kaitlyn and Mitch Hargrove with the stipulation that neither can sell her or his share until they have successfully run the place together for at least two months.


Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses, by Jenny Hale

Single mom Abbey Fuller finally has the chance to make her long dreamed of career switch from nursing to interior decorating, but only if she can completely transform Nick Sinclair’s mansion before Christmas. Readers looking for a sweet love story with an almost fairy tale-like charm will love this warmly romantic tale by Hale, whose novel, Coming Home for Christmas, was adapted by Hallmark for one of their Christmas movies.


Dear Santa, by Nancy Naigle

Heart of Christmas has been in Angela Carson’s family for three generations, but now the holiday gift shop’s retail existence is threatened by Geoff Paisley, who has selected the charming North Carolina beach town of Pleasant Sands as the site for the latest branch of his family’s Christmas Galore chain. In desperation, Angela decides to ask Santa for some help, but she has no idea who exactly is answering all those letters! Think You’ve Got Mail but with Christmas decorations instead of books, and you will have an idea of the plot of Naigle’s latest heartwarming holiday tale. Naigle’s book Christmas Joy was just adapted for the Hallmark Channel this last year.


Season of Wonder, by RaeAnne Thayne

By taking over the practice of Haven Point’s retiring veterinarian, Dani Capelli figures she’ll have the opportunity to push the reset button on her life, and as far as Dani is concerned, her new life doesn’t include romance. Dani’s new next-door neighbor, Deputy Ruben Morales, however, is equally convinced that everyone deserves a little love.




About the Author:

The Romance Writers of America 2002 Librarian of the Year, Charles has been reviewing romances for Booklist since 1999 and is the author of Romance Today: An A to Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance. After working for the Scottsdale Public Library System for 30 years, Charles retired and went to work for Scottsdale's independent bookstore the Poisoned Pen, where he still gets to push books but has to deal with far fewer computer questions.

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