I am an Autumn/Winter person, give me cold, give me rain, give me snow, I’m much happier with that than summer sun.
From the end of September onwards I start reading festive novels, there nothing more ’Hygge’ to me than sitting on an autumn afternoon kor evening with a good book, a cosy fire, a hot tea or coffe and slice of cake.
Christmas themed books are my favourites as they add to the overall feel of the season for me - which I am guilty of dragging out as long as possible!
These are the first of my Christmas reads this year:
Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair - Heidi Swain
I was hooked from the beginning of this book. Anna doesn’t celebrate Christmas for reasons I personally identify with to some extent. Choosing to take employment as a companion over Christmas she arrives at Wynthrope hall and meets a cast of characters from the enthusiastic and bountiful Angus, his loving and dedicated but more sensible wife Catherine and the rest of the household staff/family.
Immediately it’s obvious this is a job like no other and with the arrival of the youngest son, Jamie, her professional demeanour is challenged as everyone else adopts her in to the family.
With Christmas fast approaching Anna has to deal with her past and learn to grow from her experiences, while family conflicts and the future of the hall need to be settled.
A warm fireside read ideal to get you in the Christmas spirit
Twelve days of Christmas - Trisha Ashley
After a slow start I really got in to this enchanting Christmas tale and was finding myself desperate to pick it up whenever I could.
The story follows Holly, a chef and house sitter who's had a bit of a rough ride of late and is planning on hiding out over Christmas in a country house as a house sitter/dog/horse sitter. However Christmas has other plans. After crossing swords with the home owner over the phone she is faced with having a massive Christmas celebration thrust upon her whether she likes it or not.
With a few family truths to unearth, a loveable dog name Merlin and a heavy snow storm threatening to cut her off from civilisation, Holly is in for the most memorable Christmas of her life
Winter at the Dog and Duck - Jill Steeples
Ellie Browne had a whole career and life mapped out in London, but following a shock redundancy she has time to return to her home village and reevaluate her life. Returning home gives her a whole new outlook of what she wants from life.
Starting her own dog walking business and working at her beloved Dog and Duck pub she feels comfortable back in the heart of her childhood home until news of the Dog and Duck being sold comes to her attention.
With property developer Max on the scene, Ellie’s choices become cloudy and less clear. Can she really turn her back on the career she work so hard for, if she did would her home town be the same if the pub is lost?
It’s time for Ellie to decide where she really fits in.
This was a good introduction to festive reads, Ellie is likeable and the village is an idyllic aspirational home. Max for me was a little harder to like, maybe I’m a little less forgiving of secret keeping than Ellie is!
The Christmas Promise - Sue Moorcroft
Ava Bliss is a bespoke hat designer, living with her best friend and just out of a relationship that ended sourly.
At a Christmas party she meets her friends boss Sam. However the spectre of her former partner looms large as he bitterly threatens to expose her if she doesn’t goes back to him.
When Sam recruits her to help his mother with a special Christmas present it spirals into a pretend relationship to give his ailing mother a wonderful Christmas. Ava is faced with battling her vicious ex, saving her struggling business and learning how to trust again.
A heart warming not too Christmassy read with a core message to reassure the female reader about the impacts of 'bullying' from former parters. The Story is well paced and the characters are easy to empathise with. A great way to start the build up to the festive season.
Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries - Martin Edwards
A friend gave me two British Library Crime Classics as presents last year. I love cozy Crime mysteries and these classic collection open the door on a past world of clever short stories from locked room mysteries to festive crimes with classic characters including Shelock Holmes and Father Brown.
An enjoyable dark night, fire light cosy read
Kissing Christmas Goodbye-Agatha Raisin no18 -MC Beaton
Poor Agatha, she never quite gets things the way she wants them. She dreams of the perfect love, the perfect figure and the perfect life. In the run up to Christmas she takes on Toni at her detective agency. Young, slim, determined Toni makes Agatha feel old but her gruff exterior and low self esteem don’t stop her helping the young girl.
With a murder at the manor to solve and planning the perfect Dickensian Christmas Agatha has her hands full, but as always will it work out quite the way she imagines.
The festive spirit is a little lacking till the end of the novel but this is a typical Agatha mystery, a simple fun frolic.