Winter has officially started, so we thought we’d provide you with a suitably cockle-warming read to hunker down with until spring. To this end, we’ve compiled a list of seven, wonderfully wintery reads by women to keep you entertained until sunnier climes return.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, and shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, Tartt’s 700 page giant of a novel follows Theo, who traumatically loses his mother at the start of the book. It’s a coming of age story, beautifully written, and bursting with perfectly put together lines. Part of the book takes place in the freezing New York City winter, but the other half is set in scorching hot Las Vegas, so you can stay toasty vicariously.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This hauntingly beautiful novel was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2014. If you’re feeling chilly in the UK, this will make you count your lucky stars; transporting you to the bleak and icy landscapes of nineteenth century Iceland to bear witness to the fate of Agnes Magnusdottir, awaiting the death sentence for the murder of her lover.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
A story which depends on the setting as much as the characters within, as you read you’ll feel the freezing Amsterdam winter descending around you. Burton follows young Nella Oortman as she marries Johannes Brandt, a wealthy merchant, and sets off for Amsterdam to start her married life, but to Nella’s dismay, she finds herself in the care of Johannes’ cold sister. Everything changes when a mysterious miniaturist begins leaving Nella strange presents, presents that could expose Johannes and his entire family.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
A fascinating tale from a feminist perspective, and also an incredibly icy one, perfect for snugging away with on winter nights. This Hugo-winning tale is set on an icebound planet, truly as wintery as it gets, and is as remarkable for Le Guin’s subtley revolutionary portrait of an alien world in which gender is fluid, as it is for its bone-freezing descriptions of whirling snow and chilling cold.
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
This new collection of stories from the inimitable Margaret Atwood seems to be themed around the cold, offering nine wintery tales, perfect for snuggling up inside, shielded from the apocalyptic visions Atwood conjures in its pages. Stone Mattress has something for everyone, from the titular story, set in the Arctic, to the tale of a woman being guided through a stormy winter night by the voice of her husband, to The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom, about a man who buys a storage space at auction and finds an unexpected surprise inside.
Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
In this blackly comic and wonderfully quirky read, a woman trying come to terms with being dumped finds herself travelling Iceland in the company of her best friend’s deaf-mute son. With glorious landscapes, icy weather and hilarious, heart-warming scenes, this is a uniquely moving tale of motherhood, friendship and the power of words.
Join in the conversation on Twitter @BaileysPrize and tell us your favourite wintery read.