And relax...our pick of feel-good holiday reads

Winter page-turners – what we love to read this winter - Planning a B&B getaway over the Christmas break or over New Year? As well as exploring local attractions and foodie offerings, or enjoying long wintry walks, a lovely way to round off the daylight hours is by curling up in front of an open fire with a good book. And this year, there is no shortage of amazing fiction to enjoy, so with a bit of help from The Independent, we’ve put together three recommendations for packing in your suitcase or loading onto your e-reader. (Although we are quite traditional and we love the feel of paper between our fingers!)


His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

A brand new series currently showing on BBC, this award-winning trilogy by Philip Pullman is an absolute must-read and must-see. The three novels – Northern LightsThe Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass – move between multiple parallel universes, following the coming of age of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, accompanied by their daemons (the physical manifestations of their inner selves in animal form). Although sometimes marketed at young adults, the books effortlessly weave fantasy with themes and concepts from physics, philosophy and theology, so we think there’s something for everyone, whatever your age.

Literary crime

Big Sky – Kate Atkinson

Private investigator Jackson Brodie is back for his fifth instalment and we can’t wait to read it. Luckily Emma Lee Potter has reviewed Big Sky for The Independent and she says: “Superbly written and utterly readable, this novel is a delight from start to finish.” We loved the previous four books in the series. The crimes are clever, the writing is a delight and the language light-of-touch and witty, all of which contribute to a series that is both dark and funny. You don’t need to have read the series to enjoy Big Sky but if you haven’t read any of them, you’re in for a treat so we’d highly recommend you do so! Find out more about the books and the TV series on Kate Atkinson’s website here


The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal

This is the debut novel from writer, potter and former City worker Elizabeth Macneal and we chose it because we love a historical setting. We also listened to the abridged version on BBC Radio 4 earlier this year and we’re desperate to read the full novel. It’s set in Victorian London, and tells the story of porcelain doll painter and aspiring artist Iris, who becomes a muse for artist Louis Frost in return for him teaching her to paint. But Iris also attracts the attention of Silas Reed, a sinister collector of strange and beautiful things. Potter sums it up: “An atmospheric book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.”

We hope you enjoy delving into our top three recommendations. For more excellent books to add to your wishlist, read the full article here.

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