Monday, 10 April 2023

The myth and folklore that is the Easter bunny and his eggs

 By Cassandra Samuels

It is Easter Monday, so I wanted to talk about that other part of Easter.

Everyone loves Easter, if not for the religious aspect, then for the love of chocolate. How did a rabbit become tangled in all this? And how is it connected to eggs? That is what I am going to try and explain today. \

Courtesy of Creative Commons
 We all know they don’t lay eggs so how are chocolate eggs connected? To explain we must go all the way back to the Pagans. They celebrated the festival of Eostre or Ostara (a great northern goddess of Spring) whose symbol is the hare. 

courtesy of Creative Commons
Easter, as you know is not a fixed date every year, but is commanded by the phases of the moon, again a nod to the pagans. The hare also represents spring and fertility. We all know the saying about rabbits, so what about the eggs because we all know rabbits do not lay them. 


Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Since ancient times German folklore has connected rabbits and eggs where the Easter Rabbit puts colourful eggsin nests and baskets of good little children. They then took this custom with them as they migrated around the world.  

The Greeks have a more orthodox reason for dying eggs red at Easter. The egg is dyed red to represent Christ’s blood, its shell the tomb of Jesus and the cracking of the shell the resurrection from the dead and escaping his tomb. 

Photo by ALEXANDRA TORRO on Unsplash

But what about the chocolate? I hear you ask. In the early 19th century France and Germany started introducing chocolate eggs as eating chocolate. Before that chocolate was consumed as a drink but once they perfected the process of separating Cocoa from the seed, they were able to start using chocolate as it is mostly consumed today. Apparently, Fry and sons around 1860 invented the first chocolate bar from paste, sugar, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor and moulded into a bar. Fry’s first chocolate easter egg was around 1873. 

Courtesy of Preston's Museum

The first Cadbury Easter egg was made in 1875 and now there are more types of Easter chocolate than you could possibly consume. 

So, there you have it. Easter is a combination of folklore, festivals, and religion. Over time they have become combined in a celebration that can be shared by all.  

I hope your Easter break was a wonderful one. How is your Easter spent? Have you ever read a Romance novel set over Easter? 

Love to love watching the children participating in the Easter egg hunt. 

Love to learn all about how the first chocolate eggs were made and how they related to the Easter Bunny. 

Love to laugh at my silly new puppy Buddy as he plays with his toys.

Monday, 13 February 2023

Holiday Romance Novels

 by Sharon Bryant

I love reading romance novels and watching movies about Christmas, as well as those with a holiday theme. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Hanukkah, there are so many holiday seasons incorporated within romance novels and films. 

Each Christmas, I look forward to Miranda's special post on this blog site. I download the books she recommends, and spend my spare time in January reading my way through them. So much fun! 

As a Debbie Macomber fan, I was delighted to find her novel "The Christmas Spirit" amongst this year's recommendations. It's a fabulous novel, well worth reading.

I'd also like to recommend a Hanukkah-themed holiday romance novel, "The Matzah Ball". The heroine Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a chronic disease who secretly writes best-selling Christmas romance novels. She runs into difficulties when her publisher insists she diversify and write a Hanukkah-themed romance. She has no idea where to start, and decides to attend the Matzah Ball on the last night of Hanukkah, hoping to find her muse. This means working with her archenemy from summer camp days, Jacob Greenberg. 

My favourite Christmas films are the timeless ones like "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Holiday" and "Love Actually". "Sleepless in Seattle" is my favourite film with a Valentine's Day theme.

Do you love Christmas and holiday-themed romance novels and movies as much as I do? Have you ever wondered what makes them so special?

Why Are Christmas Romance Novels So Special?

Nan Reinhardt, romance author and blogger, thinks Christmas romance novels use the romance tropes we enjoy so much, but the holiday themes can make the romance seem much sweeter. 

Hayley Walsh, author, relates the popularity of Christmas romance novels to the way people like to feel - good, hopeful and happy. "Christmas novels are usually full of love, hope, fun, laughter and leave with that warm fuzzy feeling inside." 

Penny Jaeger, author, argues that Christmas novels amplify the universal desire for love because Christmas is "the time of miracles, the time of wishes being fulfilled".

All of these authors link the popularity of Christmas romance novels to the way we feel or would like to feel at Christmas time.

Why do people like to read books and watch movies with a holiday theme?

Associate Professor Brent Rodriguez-Plate argues that holiday movies are popular because they offer their audience a "glimpse into the world as it could be."  Holiday movies offer hope and can provide "solace, reaffirmation and sometimes even courage to continue working through difficult situations", and can serve as a "barometer for how we might wish to live".

The holiday-themed romance novels and films that I love all meet these criteria. I read and watch characters solving difficult problems, and finding ways to live their lives that more closely approach how they would like to live. This is often accompanied by lessons learned, personal growth and recognition that although life is never perfect, it can be good. 

Do you have any favourite holiday-themed romance novels and movies? If yes, please share the details.

Why do you think holiday-themed romance novels and movies are so popular?

I hope you had a good Christmas, an enjoyable holiday season, and wish you a fulfilling 2023. Happy Valentine's Day.

I love to love holiday romance novels and films.

I love to laugh with friends and family.

I love to learn and grow.

Monday, 19 December 2022


Hello my darlings, it's CHRISTMAS! I just love it: the music, the tree, decorations and lights, the excited faces on the children (and maybe a few adults, eg. me), church, the food, oh my gosh, the food, social get togethers, romantic Christmas movies (definitely addicted), the gifts and cards, oh my. I'm a total Christmas tragic. You?

I always start my Christmas reading early. It gets me in the mood and totally sparks joy, so why not? Here's six of the best festive reads I've found (and there's heaps more waiting on my Kindle).

I truly loved The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber. You all know I love her annual Christmas story, and this one kicked off the spirit of the season for me. Two single friends, Peter - a small town pastor, and Hank - a pub owner, impulsively decide to 'swap jobs' just before Christmas, each convinced they work harder than the other, and maybe a little concerned their busy lives have prevented them from finding romance. Ha! Cue frantic-ness with two lovely romances to enjoy.  

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One Christmas Knight by Kathleen Creighton is a blast from the past, first published in 1997 but making a charming comeback. It's a sweet story about a pregnant woman who - yes, you guessed it - goes into sudden labour when she's driving through a blizzard. A soft-hearted trucker stops to help, and he is totally fabulous the way he copes. All the love here! A baby and Christmas!

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Scrooge and the Girls Next Door by Melanie Jacobson was LOL fun, a wonderful grumpy/sunshine Christmas story. The grump is awful at the beginning, totally uptight, but I'm pleased to report there's much less grump by the end. Imagine my delight when I realised this is a series, I'm totally getting the other stories. Loved this one so big.

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Snowed In For Christmas by Sarah Morgan is an absolute delight. Get a big extended family and various assorted others and snow them into a big Scottish mansion at Christmas, and it's a recipe for disaster. No, wait, a recipe for romance, right? RIGHT? Ha, read it and see. All the feels in this one. I do love Sarah Morgan's ability to make me care so much. Ah, Christmas. 💝

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I promised you six books, but wow, I confess that Life Has Rushed Past and I still have two more I'm absolutely dying to read before Christmas. Think I'll make it? The first is Mistletoe Kisses by Nana Malone, and isn't the cover absolutely divine? A brooding billionaire (nice) gives our heroine a reason to love Christmas after she's been dumped by some loser we don't need to care about. Yes please. 

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I've been hearing a lot of buzz about Viola Shipman, so I've just picked up his book A Wish For Winter. According to the blurb, it's a book for people who love books about books, missed connections and the magic of Christmas. With a mysterious Santa in there somewhere. Tick, tick, tick, tick, wow, can't wait.

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Because I can, I'm going to add one extra. Many of you know Robin Lee Hatcher for her stunning award-winning book The Shepherd's Voice. It's how I discovered her, and I've been a faithful reader ever since. So, ta-da! here's A Carol For Christmas. I'm so looking forward to it.

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Ah, readers. So many books, so little time, but I hope and pray you do have time to sit down and enjoy some festive reading. You deserve it! Give yourself a little Christmas gift: read a book.

Be kind, be careful, be the best you can be. 

Merry Christmas precious people, and may you have a bright, shining Happy New Year!

Love from Miranda xxxx

I love to love:    you guessed it, ALL the Christmas romances. 

I love to laugh:  at unexpected humour in books. Scrooge and the Girls Next Door did that to me.

I love to learn:   what your fave Christmas authors/romances are. Do tell!