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Eight bright romances for the Hanukkah holiday

To celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah, we’re bringing light to eight wonderful Jewish romances. From lush fairytale retellings to sizzling contemporaries, we’re sure you’ll latke these romances a lot! Chag Sameach!

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner are two gorgeous, unique, magical takes on Jewish lore, legends, and love. Spinning Silver is the Rumplestilskin-twist on the Jewish people’s history of money lending that you’ve always needed, and Sisters of the Winter Wood is both haunting and familiar as it weaves rising anti-semitism with the encroaching dangers of the beautiful Goblin Market. As for the romantic elements, may I just say the grand gestures are spectacular?

Appetites & Vices by Felicia Grossman is one of this year’s best debuts, in my opinion. There’s pining, complicated familial relationships, and a wonderfully complex and daring heroine — watching Ursula come into her own is truly where this book shines.

Eight Kinky Nights by Xan West is a recently-released Hanukkah story and is very, very hot indeed. The writing is just lovely, the characterization is deep and thoughtful and sensitive to the characters’ nuanced, often difficult backstories, and if you have more patience than I, you’d stretch the reading out over all eight (or now seven) nights of Hanukkah.

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman and Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr are two sweet, sexy contemporary romances. Knit One, Girl Two is just a wholesome, pure delight of knitting, sock clubs, and flirting with fan fiction, and Imaginary Lines turns the angst-filled trope of “in love with my childhood best friend” into an absolute delight of a story, with minimal heartache and lots of feel-good squee.

Burning Bright is a much-loved Jewish romance collection centered around Hanukkah, and the warm fuzzies these stories provide is a miracle indeed. For a new Jewish story collection to add to the books, also check out It’s a Whole Spiel, a YA anthology curated by romance and YA authors Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman. Not all the stories inside are romance, but it’s the kind of book teenage me desperately wishes had been around for my own YA years. 

Hanukkah romance recommendations


Sam Brody is an editorial assistant at Forever. Find her on Twitter @samjbrody.