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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Assistant Editor Molly Powell is bullied into choosing her favourite Christmas reads . . .

December: it’s dark, it’s cold, and it should be snowing,but we’re stuck with rain instead. It’s that time of year again – time for closed curtains, lit candles, fuzzy socks, and more time on the sofa than is probably good for us. And what to do with all that time indoors? Read, of course! So here are a few recommendations to keep you warm and cosy all winter long.

While I’m sure there’s no need to recommend The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to any true Brit, reading it remains one of my fondest memories from my childhood.A classic that will have you hankering after Turkish delight, crisp snow and a giant talking lion of your own, it’s the perfect, magical escape after a long day – Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.

The Bear and the Nightingale took me by surprise when I read it earlier this year. Beautifully told and wonderfully atmospheric, this lyrical fairytale set in a fantastical version of medieval Russia conjures up a world of superstition and uncertainty, magic and wonder.Within a page, you’ll be hotly rooting for Vasya while feeling the deep chill of a Russian winter on your fingertips.

Another novel full of atmosphere and wonder, The Snow Child is the story of a couple who move to the depths of Alaska to start a new life – and find they are missing just one thing. Jack and Mabel’s relationship is carefully crafted, and rich with nuance and heartbreak, and their story is guaranteed to melt your heart.

If you’re looking for atmosphere, you could do worse than sinking into Alison Littlewood’s haunting exploration of madness in Victorian England. Set in Yorkshire-based Crakethorne Asylum, The Crow Garden is a masterpiece of tension and oppression, perfect for a long night by a warm fire.