Festive book reviews, including I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day, The Arctic Curry Club, and The Little Book of Bridgerton
Janet Gordon, who lives in Takeley, reviews bestsellers and early fiction for India …
I love this time of year, although my curly hair doesn’t. The first sign of humidity in the air makes me scream for the straightener!
Still worth browsing through all the Christmas fairs, and when you’re done, relax on the couch with husband, dog, and cat.
I love that every Sunday newspaper is full of Christmas catalogs stuffed with gifts for the “older man,” “teenager,” or “stay-at-home mom,” you know they’ll never thank you for. But it’s fun to watch.
But the best thing for me is that bookstores – and supermarket shelves – are full of Christmas books with wonderful titles and covers laden with snowy scenes, Christmas trees adorned with baubles and couples romantically gazing. a candlelit meal. Does all of this happen in real life? Well, not really, but, you never know, we might have a white Christmas.
I Wish It Was Christmas Every Day by Milly Johnson (Simon & Schuster € 8.99)
One of my favorite authors is Milly Johnson and she absolutely enjoys a Christmas reading that is currently on sale.
Three couples are on their way to an important location a few days before Christmas.
Snow begins to fall in the blizzard, and when their cars stop, each couple finds a sign showing the way to the village of Figgy Hollow.
The first half of a couple – who were traveling separately! – discovers a picture book inn and, finding himself just having a screwdriver kit in his car, creeps in very gently to find that everything, and I mean everything, is ready for Christmas. There are beds made with fluffy towels in the private bathrooms, freezers and fridges stocked with all manner of Christmas dishes, and cupboards full of beverage bottles.
Gradually, the remaining couples all find their way to Figgy Hollow, and after opening a bottle or two, find that they are most definitely snowy.
What follows is an absolutely perfect Christmas with no internet, no TV, and only a very old radio that seems to be broadcasting specifically to the residents of Figgy Hollow – six people stranded in the snow with absolutely nothing to do but eat, drink, and get along. with each other.
It may sound like a trivial story, but quite the opposite. It’s the very embodiment of a Christmas story, full of food and drink, snow, good humor, pathos and stories that will strike your heart. I loved it.
The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd (Avon € 7.99)
Snow and ice aside, it’s as far away from a cozy English Christmas as you can get.
When Maya follows her boyfriend on her six-month sabbatical in the Arctic Circle village of Longyearbyen, she is plunged into the most incredibly hostile world of darkness and freezing cold where all she can think of is why oh why did she do that.
The darkness and cold exacerbate her anxiety, causing her to spend days curled up in her bed, unable to even consider trying to discover her new world.
But forced to return to India for her father’s wedding, Maya rediscovers her love of cooking and, helped by an old friend, she takes courage in both hands – aided and encouraged by the discovery of her mom’s old recipe book. – to launch the Arctic Curry Club.
There are a lot of adventures along the way and I’m not sure I’m as brave as Maya ultimately turns out to be, but, reading this while I was safe in a warm bed, I loved this idea. A truly different Christmas reading.
Baby it’s cold outside by Emily Bell (Penguin € 7.99)
It’s a familiar story – the girl longs for “the one who ran away”, but takes comfort in the fact that they had arranged to meet in 10 years in front of a cafe on Christmas Eve in Dublin.
Norah doesn’t really believe Andrew will be there, but, faced with the prospect of a Christmas house alone, she enlists the help of her ever-present friend, Joe, who offers to spend Christmas in Dublin.
Dublin at Christmas is another magical place and, yes, you can guess what’s going on. Will André be there? Will Norah still love him? What role does Joe play? But it’s a beautifully written love story and maybe a happy read forever.
Bridgerton’s Little Book by Charlotte Brown (Blink Publishing £ 9.99)
You’ve probably already realized that I’m an old-fashioned girl. I love snowy Christmas cards, people with Christmas trees, kids skating on frozen ponds and, of course, Georgette Heyer’s novels which have long been my stress reliever read.
On the trail of the Regency novel, there is Julia Quinn and the adaptation of Bridgerton which I absolutely adored. So what better gift could there be for a Regency lover than The Little Book of Bridgerton.
It is full of Regency-type quizzes and questions, etiquette guides, Regency jargon and even one or two Regency dances to master. Love it and would love to find this impulse buy in my stocking stuffer.
The Quiet People by Paul Cleave (Orenda Books £ 8.99)
And if all that Christmas goodwill is too much to take, then, for a total change of pace, The Quiet People is one of the most expertly drawn and tense thrillers I’ve read in a while.
A husband and wife gang of criminal writers make a good living – their books feature high on the bestseller charts – and all is well in their world. Until their seven-year-old son Zach goes missing and everything indicates her husband Cameron is the suspect.
He’s a detective writer, so of course he has an answer and a thought for whatever the police throw at him.
But he is also very volatile and we are aware of his inner workings as he thinks and doubly thinks everything that is going on.
The Quiet People is totally captivating and fascinating with twists and turns you won’t believe. It’s a roller coaster of a read.