Hanukkah Chanukkah Chanukah Hanukah Romances

There are, I believe, at least 30 ways to spell “hanukkah,” which is an English transliteration of a Hebrew word, so there's lots of room for creativity. Like JR Ward, we are very free with the extra Hs, too. Thus it can be hard to find Hanukkah-themed romances because you might not be sure how the person listing the book spelled Chanukkah.

I've received a few email messages asking about Hanukkah themed romances – and have a small list of some Harlequin categories from way back when.

Sweet Light by Judith Arnold (OOP – BN | AMZ). Check out the description:

They went down on an icy mountain. It was a miracle they survived.

For Alana Halpern, flying Judd Singer was supposed to be a quick favor, and then home for Hanukkah. But when her plane went down in New Hampshire, it became a journey of survival.

Was it all an illusion–the makeshift cabin, the woodpile, the oil lamp that never burned out? When Judd laid his ice-blue eyes on her, passion flared, and Alana knew this was real.

She never expected to spend Hanukkah snowbound with a man she barely knew, a man who could ignite her with just a gaze. But as the wind howled outside, inside they created a heat all their own.

The fight for survival became a flight from desire. And Alana hoped for one more miracle–to resist a forbidden attraction.

OMG. Snowbound WITH a MENORAH?

Book Cover Burning Bright, an anthology with stories about solstice, Christmas, and Hanukkah. The Hanukkah story is “One for Each Night” by Judith Arnold, and it's available for pre-order for the Kindle for $1.49 at Amazon right now. 

The plot description: 

Alana Ross needs a candle, too, one to fit her late grandmother's antique menorah. Not just any candle will do. For Alana's first Hanukkah open house in Crescent Cove, everything has to be perfect.

Maybe that'll make her feel more at home in her new town. It can't hurt. So far she's managed to alienate Jeffrey Barrett, the only man to show any interest in her, by accusing his uncle—in print—of a crime.


Season of Light, by Lorna Michaels ( OOP – AMZ | BN ). I think there's a mistake in this description, but I can't find a better one. I don't think the heroine's name is “dill” though. 

Back home in Cincinnati for the holidays, dill Levin was tormented by thoughts of the baby she'd given up years before, and still angry with her family for their lack of support.

So when charming Ben Abrams showed an interest in her, she was determined to keep it light, She didn't have the emotional energy for a new relationship,

But Ben wasn't easily put off, He had only the eight days of Chanukah to win dill's trust and her love, but he was confident, After all, the holiday season was a time for healing, reconciliation and miracles ….

(I read this, I think. But I read it so long ago, I'm not sure I remember everything. I do know that I liked it, and I was totally charmed that there was a romance set against Hanukkah, but if I recall correctly, there is some infodump about the Jewish holidays in the form of some “As you know, Bob” dialogue in there, too.)



A Candle for Nick, by Lorna Michaels ( HQN | AMZ | BN ). 

Book Cover

Mallory Brenner's life was in a tailspin. Her son, Nick, had been diagnosed with a fatal disease and his best hope of survival was Dr. Kent Berger, the one man Mallory never expected—or wanted—to see again.

For more than ten years Mallory had kept Nick's paternity a secret and now, to save her son, Mallory would continue to keep it. Still, the more time Kent and Nick spent together, the harder Nick fell for his newfound hero… and the more Mallory realized how much she'd missed him.

Kent deserved to know the truth, but while her son's life hung in the balance, could she risk telling him?

Could she risk not telling him?



Who Needs June in December, Anyway? by Stevi Mittman, part of the Holiday Wishes anthology (AMZ | BN). Check out this description!

Book Cover

Teddi Bayer could use some holiday magic this year, especially since Grandma June is making everything worse. If only there was a magical menorah Teddi could rub, and pouf! 

But rubbing it while humming “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” seems to be having unexpected consequences. Hum. You have to wonder…





Newly Fallen, by Megan Hart (HQN | AMZ | BN)

Book Cover

Faced with spending her first Hanukkah alone, Lilly Gold wishes for a miracle that would change her life just a little bit. Then her prayers are answered–in a big way–when the most perfect naked man appears in her yard during a blizzard.

Zachariah tells Lilly he's been sent to be–and do–anything she wants.

And for eight passionate days, trapped together by the snow, he does just that, giving Lilly all the pleasure she could have hoped for. But when their holiday is over, only another miracle can keep their affair from ending, too…

(And again I say, snowbound with Hanukkah? Clearly I am celebrating this holiday ALL WRONG. Good thing there's still time to plan alternate arrangements, and order some fake snow.)


Second Chance Chanukah, by Fay Alter which is a new self-published novella. (AMZ | BN

Book Cover Jess Coen always thought she'd marry her childhood sweetheart, Danny Adler. Until he married someone else.

Now a widower with a son, Danny is back in town just in time for Chanukah.

Will these two have a second chance at love or will past hurts and new emotional wounds keep them apart forever in this holiday-themed, contemporary romance novella.



Got any more suggestions of ChHannukkah romances? Let's hear them!

ETA: Forgot something! A big huge thank you to Jayne at Harlequin for helping with the list!! 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    JaniceG says:

    Actually, _Season of Light_ isn’t bad – there is some description of the holiday observance and her family clearly celebrates the holiday every year. (Heroine’s name is Jill – I sense a spellchecker gone amok substituting “dill.”) The plot description is all right as far as it goes, but it might have mentioned that she meets him when she goes back to her hometown as an ad executive where he’s the client.

    OTOH, _A Candle for Nick_ was basically cliches in a blender.

  2. 2
    Amitatuq says:

    I really enjoyed Holiday Outing by Astrid Amara (M/M).  Not sure how accurate the Hanukkah descriptions are though since I live in one of the least religiously diverse towns ever so I have never really had much exposure to Jewish holidays.  That’s one of the reasons I love when you tweet about what you and your family are up to—very educational for me!

  3. 3
    De says:

    There are, I believe, at least 30 ways to spell “hanukkah,” which is an English transliteration of a Hebrew word, so there’s lots of room for creativity.

    Thank you!  I’ve always wondered what was up with that and never remembered to ask anyone that would know the answer.  I’ve remembered to ask, just never anyone that would know.  It’s like remembering that you need to take out the trash, while you’re taking a shower.  Not helpful.  :)

  4. 4
    JaniceG says:

    Personally, I prefer the spelling “Chanukah” – it tries to replicate the “ch” sound and there’s actually no reason in the Hebrew for the double “k” in some English transliterations.

  5. 5
    Carin says:

    If you use your Harlequin coupon E5DOLL11 you could get some of these $5 off (or free) from Harlequin ebooks.  I saw the Megan Hart one today for $2.69, I think.  Not sure if the other Harlequins are out in digital or not.

  6. 6
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    What are the odds that out of the seven books listed here, two of the heroines are named Alana? Maybe they were both published in a year when that was a popular name.

  7. 7

    It’s hard to beat the classics—“Judith and Holofernes and What the Maidservant Saw”* is still the best Chanukah story ever.

    *No, don’t look for the book on Amazon.  It’s the Book of Judith, which like the Book of Maccabees is not part of the Jewish canon, but is part of the Chanukah story.  You can find the Wiki version here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B…

  8. 8

    Thanks for the recommendations! The heroine of my WIP is Jewish, and I’m always surprised by the lack of Jewish protagonists in the romance genre! It can’t be the religion thing, because outside of African-American romance, I don’t see very many mentions of church or religion, and it can’t be the culture thing, because American culture has taken just as much from Jewish-American culture as it has from African-American culture, so what gives?

  9. 9

    There are actual Hanukkah romances? *swoons* There’s SO MANY Christmas ones I see, but I’ve NEVER seen a Hanukkah one!

  10. 10
    Katherine O'Grady says:

    I read Newly Fallen by Megan Hart last year and recall it being sweet and sexy, with the Hanukah/Jewish references very much part of the story, not bolted on. Which was nice. It was just matter of fact, no big deal. It was the first, and only, Hanukah-themed romance I’ve read. There just aren’t that many.

  11. 11
    Aurora85 says:

    Thanks for finding Chanukkah romances :D

  12. 12
    Rebecca says:

    Ok, I know this is a weird detail, but did anyone else think the character names in *A Candle for Nick* were extremely weird?  Mallory Brenner?  I suppose Kent Berger *could* be from an age and location where families gave super-WASP names to their babies to make them “fit in” and Mallory could have been the shiksa he loved and dumped in favor the nice Jewish girl his mother wanted him to marry….but if they’re both Jewish this is odd.  And a baby named “Nick” (as in St. Nicholas who is, you know, a SAINT—one who has a couple of stories about him and a Christian holiday that shows up around the same time)?  Is this an interfaith romance, or just a very sloppy author?

    Multiple Alanas, on the other hand, I can buy.  It’s the sort of “generically American Jewish but not scarily Biblical name” that does get repeated in certain circles.  What does strike me as weird is that NONE of the main characters have (relatively few) female biblical names that have been standard for Jews for centuries; NO Deborahs, or Hannahs, or Rachels, or Leahs, or Miriams…or Rebeccas?  Weird.

  13. 13

    Sweet Light will have you going WTF the whole time you’re reading it. It’s one of those books that if you can suspend your disbelief it’s good but if you can’t it’s hilarious.

  14. 14

    I had the exact same reaction, Rebecca:  “Who’s naming these kids?  Did their bubbes get any say in it?”

    On the other hand, I know a Rabbi St. John, so anything’s possible.[g]

  15. 15

    Judith Arnold really does seem to like the name Alana.

  16. 16
    cleo says:

    I know about Judith and Holofernes from art history – there are many baroque paintings of this story, many of them on the gruesome side.  I like showing them to my art and design students to get them talking – they’re all like, wait, is that a sword in her hand?  what’s she doing? what’s that thing in the basket?  OMG!

  17. 17

    I love a story with a happy ending, don’t you?[g]

  18. 18
    Danielle says:

    Thank you for this list.

    The first entry in the (so-so) anthology Scenes From A Holiday has this theme. Called “The Eight Dates Of Hanukkah”, it is a chicklit-romance variation on Groundhog Day that sees a workaholic heroine stuck in dating hell after an heirloom menorah falls on her head (!) The author is Laurie Graff. The two other stories, though, by Caren Lissner and Melanie Murray centre on New Year’s Eve and Christmas. And right now I am reading the newly re-issued My Glorious Brothers by Howard Fast – far from romancey yet appropriate since it is about the revolt led by Judah Maccabee and his family.

  19. 19
    Zohar says:

    Love it! I just really wish they have at least one squirting-jelly-in-your-doughnut scene… and flipping some latkes!

  20. 20
    SB Sarah says:

    So many euphemisms for squirting-jelly-in-your-doughnut, so little time….

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