8 top wintry reads to snuggle up on the sofa with

Published on: 13 January 2020 Author: Harriet Whitehorn

It can feel like winter goes on forever, so we might as well make the most of it! We asked The Conspiracy of Magic author Harriet Whitehorn to choose her favourite magical wintry reads - they're bound to make you feel cosy...

The front cover of The Conspiracy of Magic and author Harriet Whitehorn

1. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

This is probably my favourite children's book. It has pretty much everything you could ask for - adventure, ice skating, secret passages, orphanages, evil baddies and a large dollop of female friendship - all in a deliciously wintry setting.

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2. The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

This a beautifully written, lyrical fairytale about a world stuck in winter and a sisters' quest to find their missing brother.

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3. The Tzar's Curious Runaways by Robin Scott-Elliot

I have to admit that I bought this because I loved the title and the cover, but once I started reading it I was hooked into a really cracking adventure story as the three main characters flee across snowy Russia, running for their lives.

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4. The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Another adventure book set in Russia, elegantly written by Katherine Rundell. I particularly loved its wolfishness and 'dark and stormy' heroine, Feodora.

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5. The Pearl in the Ice by Cathryn Constable

Keeping the Russian/wolf theme, I was a big fan of The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable, which was published a few years ago. And now I've just finished her new book, The Pearl in the Ice, which I really enjoyed. It has a great heroine in the fearless Marina, who stows away on the Seawitch, following her enigmatic father Commander Derham on his top secret voyage to the snowy north.

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6. Winter Magic edited by Abi Elphinstone

I read a lot of short stories as a child and always pounce on them as a grown-up. This collection is great - I particularly enjoyed Emma Carroll's story about a Victorian frost fair on the Thames and Michelle Magorian's beautiful wintry poem.

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7. A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos

This YA book really blew me away - it has incredible world building, superb characters, and a brilliant plot. I'm sure it will go on to be considered a modern classic.

8. The Book of the Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick

If you are in the mood for something dark, this is a gothic, sometimes chilling, YA story cleverly set in the 'dead' period between Christmas and New Year.

And then if that was a little too intense...

I suggest a dose of the deliciously funny The Polar Bear Explorers' Club by Alex Bell! This book had me from the list of club rules right at beginning, particularly, 'Please do not take penguins into the saltwater baths; they will hog the jacuzzi.'

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