Cosy up with one of these wintry reads.
Whether you’re looking for a festive read to get you in the mood for Christmas, or you need a good book to distract you from present shopping, we’ve got you covered with this lot…
Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft (Avon, £7.99)
Let It Snow is the perfect Christmassy rom-com to get you in the mood for the festive period. Refreshingly, the will-they-won’t they element typical of this genre isn’t central here, with the main characters Lilly and Isaac making a connection early on. Instead, more realistically, the story focusses on how busy, complicated family lives can put obstacles in the way of a happy ending. Lily is kind, charming and independent, Isaac thoughtful, sweet and generous – you’re rooting for them throughout. Author Sue Moorcroft loves to travel – that is evident in the way she paints a picture of Switzerland in sumptuous detail. Let It Snow has plenty of the white stuff, carolling and festive cheer. What more could you ask for in a feel-good read?
The Christmas Wishlist by Heidi Swain (Simon & Schuster, £7.99)
After being made redundant, Hattie agrees to join her boyfriend as he embarks on a new career in Abu Dhabi. Before the move, however, Hattie decides to swap sun for snow to regain her holiday spirit with old friend Dolly in the idyllic village of Wynbridge. The Christmas Wish List follows Hattie and Dolly as they complete a festive to-do list during their last Christmas together. Equal parts uplifting and heartbreaking, Swain’s novel contains a serious side, which ensures its winter cheer doesn’t fall into the saccharine. The book takes a little while to get into, but once fully immersed in cosy Wynbridge, this festive novel proves a comforting winter read.
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Bantam Press, £20)
Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood is back and this time it is the chance to host her first Christmas which is giving her the excuse to spend money she doesn’t have on things she doesn’t need. Kinsella, in her ninth Shopaholic novel, pitches the tone just right for a really funny book as Becky hunts for this year’s must-have Christmas llama bauble and the perfect present for husband Luke. The surprise appearance of a charismatic ex and a squabble between long-time friends keep the plot flowing. The success of the Shopaholic books has always been that while Becky’s spending habits may seem over the top, she is really just a more extreme version of many of us who enjoy shopping and spend a little more than we should. Becky’s Christmas plans, as well as her cupboards full of bags for life and ‘bargain’ dresses which are a size too small, won’t disappoint Kinsella’s loyal fans.
Last Christmas curated and introduced by Greg Wise and Emma Thompson (Quercus Books, £14.99)
Released in conjunction with the festive film, starring Emilia Clarke, of the same name, Last Christmas is a collection of essays that explores the meaning of the holiday season, with contributions from actors, comedians, people who have been homeless, refugees, charity workers and even a vicar. The memories have been compiled by Emma Thompson, who stars in the film and co-wrote it alongside her husband Greg Wise. Other contributors include Twiggy, Caitlin Moran, Stanley Tucci, Meryl Streep and Olivia Colman. For the most part, the book avoids cliches and offers true insight. Sometimes funny and often heart-wrenching, this is not another sickly-sweet festive tale that ends in happily ever after. The darker moments are balanced by humorous takes on the season, with one of the best written by Thompson herself. A different kind of Christmas story, but an important one nonetheless.
The Christmasaurus And The Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher (Puffin, £12.99)
In this delightful sequel to the popular first instalment, Tom Fletcher reunites us with William (our hero and dinosaur obsessive), Bob (William’s dad), Brenda (William’s friend) and Pamela (Brenda’s mum). They’re now living together in a cosy home that celebrates all things Christmas – cue advent calendars, snowflake tea towels and plenty of cinnamon and vanilla pancakes. The action begins when William meets the time-controlling Winter Witch. She pulls him through various periods of time, one of which reveals a future of banned Christmases. Witnessing his dad’s imprisonment for too much festivity (the Christmas jumper is an official crime in 30 years), he realises it’s up to him and the Christmasaurus to steer humanity away from a joyless fate. There’s a lot to love about this story – the humour is laugh-out-loud for adults and children alike, the characters are well crafted, the Christmasaurus is loveable and the whole mix leaves the reader feeling warm, fuzzy and ready for Christmas. Delightful illustrations and a playful use of font make this compulsive adventure easy for younger readers, but still packs a lot for those more confident. Although reading the first book is encouraged, it’s not essential.