As the winter sets in, there is nothing better than cosy days curled up with a book, a blanket and a mug of something warm. It’s time to share some of the books I’ve enjoyed this year!

Books are THE thing that I have kept for myself through the demands of family and working life. They offer just the right ways of making sense of things at just the right times. So this year, I’m telling you about my favourite reads with one sentence summaries of what they gave me.

One book I won’t forget:

Beloved, by Toni Morrison: This searing, exceptionally well-written story left me with a painfully acute awareness of the tragedy and trauma of racism.

Four Great Novels:

The Lido, by Libby Page: This sweet novel gave me a sense of hope and of the loveliness of simple lives, well lived, in community with others.

Where the Light Gets In, by Lucy Dillon: Another story of hope, friendship and community and of a young woman finding her feet with the help of an older one.

The Jazz Files, by Fiona Veitch Smith: This was a fun, gentle pocket of escapism during a whirlwind time for me, with a strong lead character, who I can’t wait to meet again in the other Poppy Denby books.

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: This gothic, Bronte-esque love story was a re-read for me, but just as captivating the second time around, absorbing me in its Barcelona setting.

Three Great Books for Mental Health:

Happy, by Fearne Cotton: Wise words from someone who has worked hard to create a positive outlook on life.

Catching Contentment, by Liz Carter: This just gave me a deep sense of the possibilities of finding and sharing contentment through a relationship with God.

Out of the Dark Woods, by Jo Swinney: With the warmth, wit and informality of a conversation with a friend, this book helped me as I reflected on my own mental health.

Two Parenting Books:

The Joy Journal for Magical Everyday Parenting, by Laura Brand: Full of simple, sweet ideas to make and play with young children.

The Life We Never Expected, by Andrew and Rachel Wilson: A hope-filled book about the challenges of special needs parenting.

The Greatest Secret, by Krish Kandiah: Illuminating just how important adoption is to God.

I read lots of other books this year, many of which were also great reads. What have you been reading? Have you got any books on your Christmas list this year?

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