5 Great Novels For The Holiday Season

Self on 12.27.12
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When you’re full of delicious holiday food and needing a break from conversation with relatives, it’s time to escape with a good book. I believe there are few pleasures greater than curling up with an enchanting, riveting read that lasts days on end. Here are a few of the novels that have captured my interest lately.

1. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This novel is written in an autobiographical style from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. It tells the story of how they met in Chicago and eventually moved to Paris in an attempt to further Hemingway’s writing career. It is a well-written story of romance, self-sacrifice, and eventual heartbreak as their relationship begins to fall apart. 

2. The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

This is a short novel about a Jewish midwife living in seventeenth-century Venice. While her husband is held captive in Malta, Hannah must find a way to free him and stand up for her beliefs in a prejudiced, plague- and violence-ridden city.

3. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

A poor Indian woman is forced to give up her newborn daughter for adoption and the baby finds a new life with an American family that’s been struggling with infertility. The girl eventually returns to India on a trip and must sort out the complexities of her past.

4. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

One of the most gripping books I’ve read in a while, this work of historical fiction had me sobbing on several occasions. A little English girl is found in an Australian port with few clues to her identity. Thus begins an intricate search to find out who she is and why she is there that spans generations and continents.

5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

In honour of the movie that has recently come out and I have yet to see, this is one of my favourite novels. Despite being an intimidatingly large classic of Western literature, Anna Karenina is surprisingly easy to read – full of illicit romance, Russian aristocrats, and complex social politics. The fact that Tolstoy himself fell in love with Anna while intending to write a condemnation of adultery goes to show that it’s an addictive book.

The Christmas holiday season is as good a time as any to squeeze in some uninterrupted (if you’re lucky), quality reading time, so take this list to your local bookstore or head to the library; you’re in for some wonderful storytelling. 

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