The holidays means good food, time with friends and of course, family. But if the drama of your relatives is making you batty, never fear. We’ve got your perfect escape. Today we’ve picked out five of our favorite fictional families, who may be a tiny bit crazy, but are definitely easy to spend time with!
Now we aren’t going to lie, three out of our top five favorite packs of relatives come out of the contemporary romance genre. It may be because we can relate to these dramas, because without the paranormal elements, the dead bodies piling up, and the threat of danger around every corner, these fictional families seem just like ours — only better.
Shannon Stacey’s the Kowalski family will make you yearn for a winter day hanging out with this New England brood. There will be dinner at Mom’s house, probably a game of pick-up football in the yard and a big group of cousins to hang out with at any given time. If you haven’t had a chance to meet the family yet, we suggest you start with November 2010’s Undeniably Yours.
But the Kowalskis aren’t the only contemporary romance family we love. Next on the list is Jennifer Crusie’s con-artist family, the Dempseys. Sisters Sophie and Amy get their stories in Welcome to Temptation, and their brother Davy’s HEA comes in Faking it. Although RT’s Whitney isn’t sure she has the chutzpah to fit in with these characters, they remain some of her all-time favorites. She says, “Don’t be surprised if the Dempseys teach you a few, slightly underhanded, tricks!”
For the last contemporary fictional family that we’re glad we aren't part of, but love to read about (because they certainly make our families look better in comparison) is Nora Roberts' Nouvelles in Honest Illusions. This 1993 book introduced readers to a family of magicians/art thieves that we absolutely love, even though they put heroine Roxy’s chance at romance in danger. But when your own family is driving you up a wall, it’s good to remember that hey, it can always get worse!
However, contemporary romance doesn’t have a monopoly on excellent families in fiction. The next two groups of loved ones come from very different genres but share a few of the same key factors: an in-charge mom, parents that love each other very much and a passel of kids that get into a whole lot of mischief. It sounds like a recipe for chaos — and a whole lot of love.
The Peabody-Emerson family, from author Elizabeth Peters historical mystery series, treks to Egypt every year so that heroine Amelia and her beloved husband Radcliffe can work on excavating tombs. During the 19-book series, which timeline spans from 1884 -1923, the couple falls in love, has a son and adopts a daughter (both of whom readers get to watch grow up). These intrepid Peabody-Emersons also develop close ties with the Egyptian families who they work with on the annual excavation projects. If there’s any family that does a better job of constantly stumbling over bodies, unmasking villains and uncovering the ancient past — we’d like to meet them. Until then, let this fantastic family transport you back to a lost era for some good, old-fashioned fun, starting with Crocodile on the Sandbank.
And finally, the newest family we can’t get enough of are actually in the paranormal Young Adult genre. Alyxandra Harvey introduced her family of vampires, the Drakes, in January 2010 with Hearts at Stake. Since then, these characters have become vampire royalty, three out of their eight children have found their matches, and oh yeah, they are facing down a bevy of outside threats. And they’ve done so with style, grace and a whole lot of teasing back and forth. Can you imagine having seven teenage boys and one teenage girl who will all stay that way for centuries? No, we can’t either, but the Drakes sure make it look like fun!
Hopefully, these fictional families will divert your attention from the coming chaos — or keep you from needing to find a new family after you’ve traded yours in. Of course, if we’ve missed one of your favorite families, be sure to let us know in the comments below. And to all, Happy Holidays!