Fiction for that Festive Feeling
With Christmas just around the corner, put your Santa jumper on, grab some eggnog and cosy up under the Christmas tree with one of our festive recommendations.
The Unwrapping of Theodora Quirke by Caroline Smailes
If you’re looking for a Christmas story that isn’t all candy canes and tinsel, something with a little more edge, The Unwrapping of Theodora Quirke is the ideal book for you. It centres on Theo, a nineteen-year-old struggling with grief and a missing sense of belonging. It follows her as she is taken on a journey by St Nicholas (NOT Santa Claus) to change her life forever. Although rooted in the painful realities of life, there is a palpable sense of warmth and wit that makes the story so beautiful.
Caroline Smailes delivers a magical story sprinkled with moments of unbearable sadness. It has aspects of It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol but with more swearing and Northern humour. The shining light of this book is the belief that no matter how bad things get, they will get better. It is the perfect story for Christmas, especially this year. Its dark wit allows you to find humour in even the worst situations, a skill many of us have learned this year.
On top of the hope this story brings, we are shown the errors of our consumerist ways. Smailes shows that what we need to do to really enjoy the festive season is to be present. Focusing on the people around you and small acts of kindness rather than the presents is the best way to find your Christmas spirit. In a year when just seeing your family is a luxury, this book teaches us to appreciate what is right in front of us.
A Wayne In a Manger by Gervase Phinn
Encouraging a family to sit down together and read a book- now more than ever - can be a near-impossible task. However, this book may be the exception. As a child, I would roar with laughter alongside my parents as we took turns reading Phinn’s short stories, detailing the shenanigans of a primary school nativity show. Phinn’s work as a school inspector in England provided him with the anecdotal evidence to create this funny and festive little book - seek it out this coming Christmas, and I assure you it will become a household staple every year.
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Milly Johnson
If you’re looking for a heart-warming, Christmas-spirited read, then look no further than Johnson’s new novel. Six different characters, travelling for various different reasons, end up stranded in the snow somewhere in Yorkshire. One by one, they stumble upon an inn in a town called Figgy Hollow and have a Christmas like no other. Laughter and tears are expected when reading this beautiful story about friendship, rebuilding the past and looking forward to the future. This novel is the hug that we all desperately need this winter and will remind you of the pure magic of Christmas.
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
Before there was the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, there was the toymaker who started it all by giving a special Christmas gift to his goddaughter. Known for his original reimaginings of classic tales, Maguire tells the backstory of Klara’s Godfather Drosselmeier, who carves the Nutcracker. Hiddensee is filled with historical nods to early nineteenth-century German Romanticism and magical elements that are enchanting yet mysterious. Drosselmeier’s life story provides an unconventional backdrop to a beloved holiday favourite.
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Becky Bloomwood is back and Christmas chaos is a go! This hilarious tale sees Becky frantically trying to organise Christmas for the whole family after unexpectedly finding herself upgraded to host. In a bid to create a happy holiday for all, Becky soon gets lost in expensive gifts, high percentage discounts (that simply CAN’T be ignored!) and vegan turkeys. This is the perfect festive read and giggles are guaranteed as Becky reminds us why we need her in our lives – especially this year. Perfect with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie!
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Groundhog day meets Christmas spirit in this heart-warming novel. After a not-so-magical holiday filled with mistakes, all Mae can wish for is a second chance to fix everything. Next thing she knows, Mae’s beginning the same holiday all over again. In addition to breaking the time-loop, Mae is on a mission to figure out what makes her happy and reunite with her true love under the mistletoe. A novel filled to the brim with snowball fights, family, friends and tradition, Lauren makes you believe in the magic of the holiday season and you can’t help but yearn for yuletide!