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The 12 Best Winter Books for The Holiday Season

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The first signs of winter chills tend to elicit the sweet anticipation of a yuletide season. Some of you will be sipping hot cocoa by roaring fire, while others will be watching snowflakes dancing to the rhythm of a blizzard. But whatever your idea of winter bliss is, it will not be complete without a secret detour into a snowbound fictional world. From bone-chilling thrillers to feel-good holiday romance novels, we have selected twelve books that will transport you to faraway lands of shimmering white beauty.

The Chalet by Catherine Cooper


Image credit: Harper Collins

"Ria and Hugo have booked a luxury chalet in the French Alps hoping to impress potential clients, however during the week a body is found of someone who went missing 20 years ago. As news spreads across the alps all four guest at the chalet start to look guilty and someone knows more than they are letting on." - Wilkinson

The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle


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Off the coast of Antarctica, a research vessel discovers a mysterious structure buried deep within an iceberg. It has been there for thousands of years, and something is guarding it. Could it be the fabled city of Atlantis? Or is it something more dangerous? At the same moment, in Jakarta, Indonesia, a brilliant geneticist named Kate Warner has just discovered a breakthrough treatment for autism. Or so she thinks. On the other side of Jakarta, Agent David Vale is racing to uncover a conspiracy with far-reaching implications. But he’s out of time. Together, Kate and David race to unravel a global conspiracy and learn the truth about the Atlantis Gene... and human origins.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren


Image credit: Gallery Books

“Maelyn Jones has just finished a week long Christmas vacation with her family and their closest friends at a cabin in Park City, UT. This annual trip is her most cherished tradition. This year, it got awkward, and it might have been their last hoorah. As she contemplates the mess her life has become, she makes a simple wish. For the universe to reveal what will ultimately make her happy. Well… the universe listened. Maelyn is given the chance to redo her vacation, but also to fix a few things along the way. Things mostly include Andrew Hollis. He will make you swoon.” - Cassandra Markovich

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


Image credit: Penguin Random House

“The setting for this fantasy tale is a version of 19th century Russia, complete with isolated villages surrounded by hundreds of miles of thick woodland, nobility who have the power of life and death over their subjects and a simmering resentment against the Jewish community. They are the ones who lend money to those who need it, the ones who often also make music, jewellery and can read and write within their close-knit communities, so make a convenient target when those in power don’t want to pay back their debts. Add in the danger of the ferocious cold of a Russian winter, when the dreaded Staryk are more easily able to cross into the human world. These icy fae have mercilessly predated upon the humans who wander too far into their forests, killing and stealing from them – and when their actions further impact upon the protagonists in the story, these shadowy, terrifying beings end up at the heart of this story.” - Higbee

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher


Image credit: Hodder & Stoughton

The story follows the lives of Oscar, a new widower devastated by the loss of his wife and young daughter and now homeless, and Elfrida, an older actress with no attachments who drops everything to take Oscar to Scotland for Christmas. Through a series of events they are joined in Scotland by Elfrida’s neice and great-niece who have no other place to celebrate the holidays. A snowstorm brings one more person into the mix for the holiday week. As the story unfolds we are introduced to the idyllic town of Creagan and its inhabitants which include Mrs. Snead (the housekeeper), her husband, and Peter Kennedy (the minister) and his family. Interactions and growing friendships with these, and others, help to bring about a feeling of true community as well as ideas and support for solving the imminent question of what the future holds for each person in the house after Christmas is over.

White Fang by Jack London


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“White Fang is half dog and half wolf. Growing up in the Yukon territory of Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush, he learned the law of the Wild at an early age: kill, or be killed, eat, or be eaten. Separated from his mother and traded from master to master, White Fang never grasped the concept of love, and violence was all that he knew. Having no teacher, he learned the rules of survival by experience. Then, a cruel man buys White Fang and turns him into a pit dog forced to fight for money. With beautifully realistic details of the harsh realities of life in the Yukon, White Fang is a grippingly original tale about morality and redemption that still stands as an American classic.” - Neha

The Adventure of The Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Image credit: Los Angeles Public Library

“I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas, with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right, and a pile of crumpled morning papers, evidently newly studied, near at hand. I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire, for a sharp frost had set in, and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. "I suppose," I remarked, “that, homely as it looks, this thing has some deadly story linked on to it--that it is the clue which will guide you in the solution of some mystery and the punishment of some crime.”

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper


Image credit: Simon & Schuster

“Will Stanton discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is the last born of the Old Ones, immortals with supernatural powers who fight the Dark. The Old Ones are led by Merriman and the Lady who represent the Light and struggle against the Dark Rider who wants the forces of the Dark to take over the world using fear, chaos and deceit. Will must vanquish them by collecting six Signs before the twelve days of Christmas are over when the Dark is most powerful. Rich in symbolism and allegory, this complex weaving of Celtic, Norse mythology along with Arthurian legend and English folklore represents a potpourri of past storytelling where dreamlike quality adds to the magical elements of the story.” - B. Middleton

The Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett


Image credit: Herper Tempest

This all-age comic fantasy has the power to teleport you to a magical world of eternal winter. The forth story in the Young Adult Discworld series centres on a thirteen-year-old witch Tiffany Aching, who inadvertently draws the attention of the Wintersmith during a ritualistic dance. Determined to woo the object of his affection, the spirit of winter bestows hand-crafted snowflakes and ice roses on Tiffany, chasing her to the end of the world. Loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus’s descent to the underworld, the tale of sacrifice and obsession skilfully blends the trials of love, sarcastic undertones and punchy humour into one absorbing read!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie


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Agatha Christie’s seasonal mystery thriller, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man…

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak


Image credit: Vintage Classics

Censored by Soviet authorities, this haunting tale describes the devastating effect of the Russian Revolution of 1917 on a bourgeois family. Caught in the midst of a tumultuous period in history, Dr. Yury Zhivago becomes increasingly frustrated when political circumstances interfere with the lives of ordinary people. Torn between his loyalty to his wife and the urge to taste forbidden fruit, Yury channels his anger into philosophical poems that became an integral part of the plot, enriching the novel. In the great epic tradition, the story seamlessly interweaves the brutality and harshness of the war with romance between star-crossed lovers into a heart-rending saga of love.

The Glamour of The Snow by Algernon Blackwood


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Nestled in a pristine Alpine valley, the Nature resort has been hosting ski enthusiasts for decades. Enchanted by the magnificence of the Swiss Alps, a lonely English traveller arrives at the hotel in the hope of enjoying his slice of paradise. But soon, a much-anticipated retreat turns into a hair-raising affair when the unsuspecting skier is lured up into the mountain by a cadaverous stranger. As the spectral chill of the night fills his lungs, Hibbert begins to suspect that beneath the glittering beauty lurks something far sinister that he could ever imagine.

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