When the inky night sky carries a blanket of frost, it’s the perfect excuse to light a log fire, enjoy a mug of mulled wine and get lost in one of these books. So sit back, light a warming Winter Candle and enjoy a moment of peace as you work your way through our favourite December reads.
1. The unmissable debut
The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis (Pan Macmillan)
This gripping novel is new author Paulson-Ellis’ debut, and what a debut it is. Following the death of a lonely old lady, Mrs Walker, Margaret Penny – an employee of the Office for Lost People – is asked to discover the identity of the late woman. Using the few peculiar personal objects left behind, Margaret begins to unravel a life of secrets and betrayal, moving from the 1930s to the present day… and Margaret will finally discover her own story, too. You’ll like this if you enjoy a good ‘who-did-it’ crime novel, like Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.
2. The Christmas novel
The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
If, like us, you have a fond tradition of reading a Christmas novel in December, this is your perfect choice. Get ready to escape the everyday as you meet powerful business leader Alex, who, just a few weeks before Christmas Day, has to travel to the depths of the remote Scottish Hebrides for a new client – a troublesome and troubled whisky-company heir. As Alex tries to work her magic to get inside the head of this darkly charismatic Scot, the boundaries begin to blur and lies are uncovered, meaning no-one is as they first seemed. Amongst the thickly falling snow, the most unlikely romance is only part of this moving story. If you enjoyed Christmas in Paris, Anita Hughes’ heart-warming novel about love, trust and self-discovery, then this is another must-read for you.
3. The soon-to-be released on TV drama
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Pan Macmillan)
With a TV adaptation airing on BBC One next month, now is the time to pick up The Miniaturist for the first – or even second – time. Set in 1686 Amsterdam, protagonist Nella has come to the country to marry an illustrious merchant trader, Johannes. But her new life is not what she had imagined. With nothing but a cabinet-sized replica of their home to keep her occupied, she notices its tiny inhabitants start to mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected – and heart-poundingly worrying – ways. Escalating danger awaits them all, but who is it that holds their fate? As addictive as The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, this is another page-turning tale of survival, self-invention and the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.
4. The hotly anticipated thriller
The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana (Pan Macmillan). Released January 11th 2018
Mystery, memory and mortality are explored in this gripping debut – a tale of new beginnings and inescapable truths. Follow Anna Flores as the death of her mother forces her to face up to things she tried to run from in her past. Just what did happen to her adored sister, Gabriella, who went missing thirty years before? With that question comes the revelation that her biggest fear isn’t discovering the worst; it’s never knowing the answer. But is it too late for Anna to uncover the truth about Gabriella’s disappearance? With twists and turns on par with The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, you’ll want to read this all in one go.
The Missing Girl is released in January, and is available for pre-order now.