Here it is, slightly later than planned (don’t ask), the Christmas-themed book post! It’s Christmas Eve, I’ve finished work for Christmas and I’ve read my way through a whole stack of Christmas-themed reading to come up with some top recommendations for you to read on your Christmas break. As this is now too late to go to the shops, tonight’s links are to Kindle – but you can click through from that to buy the paperback if you want to. Or you can pick them up in the scrum at the Supermarket on Boxing Day.
Asta is back in Ireland for the first time since she fled with a secret years ago. Now the secret is sixteen and desperate to know about her family. Asta was hoping to be in and out in a flash, but ends up snowed in with her madcap extended family. Will she gets the answers that she needs or will her trip home bring more complications?
I think this is my favourite of the bunch – it might well have been BotW last week if it wasn’t for the fact that I wanted to feature it in this! Clare Sandy has featured on this blog before (with A Very Big House in the Country and What Would Mary Berry Do?) and this is such a joy. I was trying to sum this up and I came up with Ballykissangel meets Marian Keyes and your favourite romantic comedy movie. This book is wickedly funny but also touching and paints a vivid picture both of Asta’s London life and the village in Ireland. It is so much fun – and very Christmassy – but without feeling contrived or saccharine. It is a fabulous story that happens to be set at Christmas.
Last Christmas Livvy was knocked over in the supermarket car park and now she’s dead. But she’s not ready to let her husband and her son go, so she’s hovering on the edge of the afterlife – fuming over her husband’s new girlfriend and fretting about whether her son’s coping without her. When she gets a last chance to make it right, will she take it – and what is right anyway?
This is so clever. I started it thinking it wasn’t going to be my sort of book and then got totally sucked in. I found Livvy quite a tough character to like, but I was totally rooting for her husband Adam and her son Joe. This is not a sweet and fluffy Christmas book – it’s funny, but it made me cry too. I had moments of wondering whether it would all turn out right (in my opinion) in the end, but when I got to the end I had that warm and fuzzy feeling inside that you get from a good story well told.
Other top tips – I’ve already mentioned Trisha Ashley’s latest A Christmas Cracker on the blog, but I thought it was worth repeating that this is a great festive read – warm and witty and romantic. I’ve got Jenny Colgan’s latest (in paperback anyway) A Christmas Surprise waiting for me still – it’s the third Rosie Hopkins book. And there’s my Novelicious colleague Cressida McLoughlin’s A Christmas Tail which I read through the year as the four part Primrose Terrace series. For some Christmas crime, try Mavis Doriel Hay’s recently republished the Santa Klaus Murder or go equally golden age with a dose of Inspector Alleyn with Ngaio Marsh’s Tied up in Tinsel (which I can only find on Kindle as an omnibus with Clutch of Constables and When in Rome).
If you want something a bit shorter but still festive, there’s a bunch of excellent short stories and novellas too. Some of my favourites were revisiting characters from other books that I’d read earlier in the year. So you can see what happened next to the Winter family in Harriet Evans’ A Winterfold Christmas or you can catch-up with the residents of Hazy Hassocks in Christina Jones’s Mitzi’s Midwinter Wedding. There’s also a new Christmas short from Katie Fforde – A Christmas in Disguise – which I enjoyed, but wanted to be longer. And if you’ve been following the residents of Cherry Pie Island all year, then the final part of that, Four Weddings and A White Christmas is out as well (I’m halfway through it!). There’s also the final part of Cathy Bramley’s Wickham Hall series White Christmas. And don’t forget Silent Nights – the short crime story collection that was BotW a few weeks back.
And there you are. Have a happy Christmas and I hope you all get what you wished for. I’m back at work at 6am on Boxing Day, please think of me as you’re waking up with your hangover!
Disclosure: I bought my own copy of all of the books and novellas in this post except for: Silent Nights and The Santa Klaus Murder which came via NetGalley, Snowed in for Christmas which I was sent by the author and Make A Christmas Wish which I won in a twitter competition. In addition I received the Trisha Ashley via NetGalley – but bought myself a copy as well!