I’m well into my Christmas baking (mostly sausage rolls and mince pies, in case you were wondering). We’ve had a surprisingly early fall of snow in the UK (which I loved and my cat didn’t). The soundtrack to The Muppet Christmas Carol has on repeat for some time. That can only mean Christmas is nearly here!
I really, really love Christmas. One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is to get stuck into a festive book, and I thought I’d share some of my go-to novels with you lovely people. I’ll be completely honest with you, none of these are books where you’ll be dazzled by plot twists. They are books where you’ll genuinely care about the characters (even the background ones). You’ll also feel a nice dollop of festive spirit by the time you’ve finished them.
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop
First up is Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop, by Jenny Colgan. I’m a huge fan of Jenny Colgan; her debut novel, Amanda’s Wedding, was the first ‘grown up’ book I ever read as a teenager and she writes Doctor Who books – she’s fantastic.
Of all her characters, the ones in the Rosie Hopkins series are my very favourites. Combined with the fact Rosie owns an old-fashioned sweet shop, I want to climb into this book and live in Lipton.
The Christmas Surprise
Given my love of Lipton, it makes sense that The Christmas Surprise, the last in the Rosie Hopkins trilogy, also makes my list. Trigger and mascara warning for an utterly devastating event in the first part of the book (that hit very, very close to home for me).
This unfolds into another wonderfully warm read. Even the dastardly characters aren’t really that dastardly and you know everything is going to work out for the best.
Christmas at the Cupcake Café
To round off the Jenny Colgan love, I’m currently re-reading Christmas at the Cupcake Café. It’s a sequel to another Jenny Colgan book, but you don’t really need to have read that to enjoy this one. My favourite bit is the recipes at the start of most of the chapters. I’ve already made the mince pies and gingerbread, and next on my list are polar bear cupcakes (just as soon as I think of an alternative to liquorice, because I hate it with a burning passion).
Calling Mrs Christmas
When I’m not reading Jenny Colgan’s festive novels, you can probably find me with my nose in Calling Mrs Christmas, by Carole Matthews. It’s the story of Cassie, who is made redundant and then has a rather wonderful idea for a business (can you guess what it is?). My sister recommended this book to me a few years ago and I’ve read it every year since. What it lacks in twists and turns it makes up for with snow, Father Christmas and well-rounded characters. I want to adopt Mrs Ledbury.
Snowflakes on Christmas Street
New on my list for this year is Snowflakes on Christmas Street, by Ivy Pembroke. Told from the point of view of a few different characters, it’s the story of the residents of Christmas Street. I’m especially interested to find out more about Jack, the dog who’s a central part of the action and who seems like my kind of chap.
I’m sure there are tonnes and tonnes of books I’ve missed out of this list – what are your recommendations?