Can you feel it? The countdown to Christmas is in full swing and we find ourselves glancing over our shoulders just a little, biting a lower lip as we consider the year now in its final exhale. Something within yearns to slow, even as the pace ramps up with festive frivolity. We all have our ritual for rest— for many of us, reading is a balm to the soul. Give us a beautiful book and a cozy corner. And so, in my glancing back, I’ve selected six sweet reads to share with you. Perhaps one will catch your eye and slow you down for half a minute…
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” Anna Quindlen
This has become my practice, this choosing of six books at the end of a year. Always eclectic and entirely traumatizing as I have to NOT choose so many. I keep track on GOODREADS, and 2018 saw me inhale over 40 books (there would have been more, it’s just that I have to make time to actually WRITE books also…) If you’re hanging out on Goodreads, let’s connect— you can find me HERE!
Allow me to dive right in with my selected six. All were published this year— except the Guernsey book, but its Netflix movie debuted so that counts, sort of. Here are my little reviews on each of them, along with my Amazon affiliate links in case you want to grab a copy (full disclosure here) which means I get a tiny commission while you pay the regular price for any of the books.
*BONUS: Right now most of them are on sale at Amazon… so if you happen to have some Christmas shopping to do (or need a little something-something for your own book stack), look no further:
GARDEN OF TRUTH by Ruth Chou Simons
(short devotional) “Preaching truth to ourselves reminds our souls, through God’s Word, who the Master Gardener is and what He is cultivating in the soil of our lives through the hope of the gospel.” This gorgeous little book is the perfect gift of encouragement—for yourself or for a friend. 58 Bible verses are accompanied by short, thoughtful nuggets of truth and stunning hand-painted artwork created by Ruth Chou Simons.
THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Kate Morton
(historical fiction) This haunting novel is beautifully penned. It begins with a modern-day London setting and an archivist named Elodie Winslow, who comes across some curious artifacts from the 1800’s and is intent on finding answers. The story spans 150 years and a variety of characters connected to a very special house, Birchwood Manor, where love, family, murder, and secrets are contained. Through a clockmaker’s daughter, a group of artists from the 1860’s, a school principal, and her own family members, Elodie feels the pull of the old manor house and begins to unravel the mystery.
MAGNOLIA TABLE by Joanna Gaines
(cookbook) Just as you would expect from Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Table is beautifully designed and filled with gorgeous photos and the most delicious recipes, from savoury ham and cheese bread pudding to grilled raspberry-chipotle pork tenderloin to mocha trifle cups. So far, we have enjoyed every recipe I’ve attempted from this book, and the chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars have become firm family favourites! I thoroughly recommend this stunning cookbook.
(historical fiction) A story about a female writer in post-WWII London paired with a quirky book club on the charming island of Guernsey is the recipe for a captivating read! Add the fact that the entire book is written as a series of letters and you have something truly unique and compelling. The protagonist, Juliet Ashton, has a quick wit and is utterly fearless. She navigates romantic relationships, new and old friendships, and devastating revelations with strength and a writer’s curiosity. This little book with the long title has fast become one of my new favourites!
THE MASTERPIECE by Francine Rivers
(Christian fiction) I devoured The Masterpiece with relish! Roman Velasco is an unbelieving, wealthy, successful artist with a gigantic chip on his shoulder and a troubled past. Grace Moore, his new personal assistant, is a Christian single mother with her own heartbreaking story. Both try to fight the attraction they clearly have for one another, and neither intend to fall in love. Walls are erected and secrets are deeply hidden. But when Roman has an unforgettable encounter with the demons he is fighting, everything changes. A story of conviction, redemption, and forgiveness.
TALES OF BUTTERCUP GROVE: A Windy
(children’s books ages 4-8) “The Tales of Buttercup Grove series introduces young readers, ages 4-8, to the many fun adventures of Skunk, Raccoon, and the rest of their woodland friends, teaching timeless Christian values along the way.” I suppose this is cheating a little as there are 4 books in this series, but I couldn’t possibly choose just one! With adorable illustrations and seasonal stories written in spring, summer, fall, and winter on topics such as friendship, patience, sharing, and kindness, any or all of these books make a perfect gift for young readers.
If you need additional inspiration for fiction books—either for yourself or for Christmas gift ideas for the booklovers on your list, I have you covered! My latest freebie is a lovely curated PDF of TWENTY of my favourite fiction books, each with a mini-review:
CLICK HERE to grab your FREE copy to print up or save for future reading needs!
That was A LOT. I know. But I do hope you have the opportunity to simply sit somewhere serene with a good book over the festive season, if reading is something that brings you joy and rest. But most of all, I pray you experience the love and truth only found in one book: The Bible. God’s gift of life-giving words to our very souls. It doesn’t get any better than that, friend.
Happy reading— and be sure to leave me any book recommendations in the comments below!
P.S. I would be remiss if I failed to mention my own books, of course! You can peruse at your leisure HERE! 🙂
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: