As the leaves are turning prettily from green to yellow to red, and the urge to curl up by a hot fire with a hot chocolate and a good book gets ever stronger, I thought it’d be apt to share some of my fave seasonal reads. This series will mainly feature books I’ve read in the past and really loved and from a variety of genres. Some posts will also include some books of the genre discussed that are patiently waiting in my to-be-read pile. As the nights draw in autumn is the best time to grab some great reads. Hopefully I can give you a few recommendations! First off; Romance. Featuring one of my favourite authors, Harriet Evans.
I don’t really read much from this genre, in fact there is only one author whose new releases I always pick up. Harriet Evans has written seven novels in this genre and I own all of them. Naturally, there are some I prefer over the others but I always enjoy her stories. The more I think about her novels the more I realise how much they have influenced some of my life choices and decisions… That’s how engaging her writing is. It’s amazing really, that stories about every day people living their normal lives can be so interesting. There’s no magic, no huge tragedy triggering the end of the world, just normal people dealing with very normal, very human emotions and events that anyone can relate to. I love her stories, they’re such easy reading and tend to leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Perfect for these autumn days where the nights are drawing in and you want to curl up with a cuppa and a blanket…
My faves are:
I Remember You
This was the first Harriet Evans I picked up and I would definitely recommend this as your first too if you haven’t already come across her work. This novel explores the life of a young woman who returns to her hometown after a bad break up and starts a new job teaching Classics to the locals. Her best friend had a troubled childhood, which is revealed in flashbacks, and has changed a lot over the years but Tess still feels like there is some unfinished business between them. If only his new girlfriend wasn’t also her roommate. As the novel progresses, we learn that the secrets they thought they had moved on from need to be re-evaluated and nothing is ever quite as simple as it may seem from the outside. Evans’ writing style is so engaging and addictive. Plot lines weave in and out and there are even twists and turns in the story that you won’t expect. It’s easy to empathise with the characters and feel their pain and happiness too. This book was one of the reasons I wanted to study Classics at university for a while. It has a special place in my heart and I am definitely going to re-read it, possibly for the fifth time, very soon. It makes me happy. It would definitely be on my list of books to take to a desert island.
Happily Ever After
This story follows Eleanor Bee, a 22 year old English graduate determined to start a career in the publishing industry. She moves to London and soon transitions from a naive newby to a driven professional with great potential. Her parents’ messy divorce has an adverse affect on her love life and she learns the hard way that not all men are good for you… Especially not your boss. It’s a realistic portrayal of the ups and downs of finding yourself and that learning important life lessons the hard way is sometimes good for you. I’ve wanted to be in the publishing industry for some time now but reading this definitely reminded me why. Even if her experiences were not always positive, I still think of this book when I think of my career. Funny how some stories just stick with you.
Going home should fill you full of happy, fuzzy warm feelings, not anxiety and stress. Lizzy is not looking forward to the extended family Christmas get together. She has a feeling her parents are hiding something from her and being in her hometown drags up a lot of old feelings that she’d tried so hard to repress. As the secrets spill out and the truth is revealed, it seems Lizzy got it wrong all those years ago but is it too late to fix them? This is definitely an autumnal/Christmassy read and does leave you feeling all happy inside. Family drama, nasty boyfriends getting their cumuppance and falling in love all over again, at th right time, with the right man. What more could you want?
Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Edge of Reason, Mad About the Boy
I also recommend Helen Fielding’s excellent Bridget Jones’ Diary. I know this is waaaay after the story’s heyday but I think the novels are brilliant. I was in a bit of a slump last summer, meandering around my local bookshop picking books up and swiftly putting them back down when I came across the third novel, Mad About the Boy. After a quick flick through I liked that it was easy to read and I felt I could start here as I’ve seen the movies many times. So I bought it. I loved it. It was so funny and relatable and Bridget was just how I’d imagine her to be after a few kids. I enjoyed it so much I bought the first two in the series Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Edge of Reason. I’m glad I’d seen the films so I could put faces to the characters but I do think the books were better, as is usually, the case, and far more entertaining. Really light-hearted, fun reading. It got me out of my slump and I’d read them again. They’ve got some pretty bad reviews, especially the third one, but if you go into them without expecting literary perfection, you’ll see the fun side of them, and appreciate the escapism they provide.