There are books for all seasons, and there are books that are best read at a particular time of year. Especially, there are Christmas books that are best read just about now, preferably by a fire and with a hot drink and something to eat. You all know about A CHRISTMAS CAROL and THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. Here are some of my favourites, all of them re-read countless times –
THE THIRTEEN DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Jenny Overton. In this particular little town, at some point in more or less the seventeenth century, each day of Christmas has its own traditions and its own song. As the season gets underway, Francis de Vere realises that it’s no good trying to win the heart of beautiful Annaple with yet more gifts of flowers. Annaple just wants to be a simple country girl, after all. So day by day, aided by her younger sister and brothers, he woos her with suitable gifts – partridges, hens, singing birds, swans that swim down the river and snap at everyone, noisy geese…
THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE by Lucy Boston is a classic. Everything is in there, snow, tales by the fire, secrets, something scary, a secret chapel, holly, ivy and the children who have been there for years. Here’s Tolly in the snow –
‘Outside, the world was most magical. It had stopped snowing. The garden looked like the back of a giant swan curled up to sleep. There was nothing but white slopes, white curves, white rounded softnesses with bright blue shadows. Nothing had been scraped aside or trodden on. The only footmarks were the birds’ round the door. The yew trees had disappeared. In their places were white hills with folds and creases in their sides. Tolly picked up a handful of snow and found it was made up of tiny violet stars. He could hardly eat his breakfast for excitement.’
THE DEAN’S WATCH by Elizabeth Goudge is for adults, but young adults who like a good absorbing read will be fine with it. This is possibly my favourite book ever, my desert island book. It is one of the most perfectly constructed stories I have ever read, and so beautifully written that you find yourself in the winding streets of the City with shy old Isaac the watchmaker, the formidable Dean who loves the City passionately, the bright-spirited Polly. The back stories of the characters and the City weave into the narrative.
These are my Christmas recommendations. Please to share yours?