With the cold, wet days and lockdown continuing, we're finding some solace in curling up with a good book and a warming mug of hot chocolate. This is the time to forget the elements outside and lose yourself to another world, a world of beautifully drawn characters and immersive stories. Booker Prize winner Shuggie Bain has already become a modern day classic in our eyes, a wonderful piece of storytelling. This is a novel of impact which will stay long in the memory and is to be recommended to all your friends.
The Midnight Library by David Haig is next up on our list of winter must-reads. A dazzling creation, Haig’s library explores the different lives Nora Seed may have lived if she had made different choices. It is what great books do, enthral, entertain and make you wonder about the what ifs. Here are some further tips for essential fireside reading to help get you through these long winter nights.
Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan
This unique, compelling novel centers on a nine floor tenement building in Edinburgh. It narrates the mingling misfortunes of the residents across the decades after the devil’s daughter is sent to live among them in this chilling, gothic tale. The world outside the building is changing, but for the tenement’s residents the building’s troubled history never goes away. This is ambitious and compelling writing at its finest.
Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
Wannabe writer Florence Darrow becomes assistant to the famed novelist “Maud Dixon”, a pseudonym. Following a car crash, Florence awakes in hospital with no memory of the accident and Maud is nowhere to be seen. What if Florence steps in to Maud’s shoes, taking the name as her pseudonym to write? A stylish and sharply written novel about stolen identity and opportunities grasped.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Classics are classics for a reason and dusting off your copy of Wuthering Heights never disappoints. Head back to the moors with Heathcliff and Catherine in this timeless novel. A powerful tale of love and revenge, this atmospheric classic is hard to beat on those stormy winter nights. Romanticism and gothic fiction combine to produce enduring characters which are still much loved after all these years.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
There is a Bronte-esque feel to this debut novel as the reclusive, ageing author Vida Winter invites bookshop owner Margaret Lea to record her real life story. The tale which ensues is mesmerising and gothic, ideal for winter reading. It focuses on Winter’s strange upbringing at Angelfield House, where fact and fiction have become blurred over time, and an aura of fairytale pervades.
The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory
Very few can bring history to life like Philippa Gregory. Kateryn Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s wives, suppresses her love for courtier Thomas Seymour while looking to avoid the fate of her predecessors. This is a tale of courtly intrigue which reads like a thriller, as reformist Kateryn Parr tries to keep the increasingly unpredictable king’s favour while the religious traditionalists, headed by Stephen Gardiner, look to replace her.
Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All by Jonas Jonasson
For a left of field read, this off-beat, funny book fits the bill. A receptionist, a vicar and a slightly dim-witted hitman join forces to supply services to local criminals and gangsters. However, as the hitman starts to find religion the business begins to hit rocky roads in this quirky, yet thoughtful book, where you can not help but like the main protagonists.
So that's our lovely pile of books for these chilly days, but are there some great reads we're missing? Share your recommendations by dropping us an email to email@example.com. And if a mug of our handmade, luxury hot chocolate seems like the perfect partner to a great book, pop some in your virtual wicker shopping basket here.
Happy reading, and stay cosy!