Good Fiction Books to Read When You're Down

Turn that frown upside down with these cosy literary treats! From rib-tickling tales and romantic reads to mind-bending magic, enjoy our list of rainy-day favourites for when you're feeling down.

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1. The Complete Harry Potter Collection

J. K. Rowling

Don't let the Dementors get you down and pick up the Harry Potter books! A little bit of magic may be the much-needed medicine to your Monday blues. Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and take a mystical journey through the wonderful world of Harry Potter, because J. K. Rowling's books are bound to get you out of the dumps! As spoken by Albus Dumbledore: 'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.'

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2. Bridget Jones's Diary

Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones is the ultimate comfort novel to pick you up when you're feeling low. The lives of Bridget, Shazzer, Jude and Tom will have you laughing out loud from the beginning. Join Bridget as she documents the social minefield that is her thirties, as well as the ongoing trauma of deciding between heartthrobs Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver. If you're feeling blue, Bridget is there to drown your sorrows in a good laugh and a bottle of chardonnay.

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3. The Museum of Things Left Behind

Seni Glaister

When your heart says 'I need a holiday' but your purse says 'no chance', pick up The Museum of Things Left Behind for an affordable literary alternative to exotic travelling! Set in the fictitious country Vallerosa, with an idyllic landscape and equally extraordinary community, this book will keep you hooked from the beginning. The enticing descriptions and witty tone will leave you dreaming of a glamorous holiday to Vallerosa to escape the toils of modern life.

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4. The House of New Beginnings

Lucy Diamond

In this uplifting novel by bestselling author Lucy Diamond, follow the lives of the three tenants living at Number 11, Dukes Square, throughout a brilliant pick-me-up book that will charm you to pieces! Set in the sunny vibrancy of Brighton, this novel will fill you with all the joys of spring. Find yourself turning over a new leaf and leaving your troubles behind you in The House of New Beginnings alongside Georgie, Charlotte and Rosa.

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5. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Joanna Cannon

Enjoy reading about the curious lives of The Avenue residents, as discovered by 10-year-olds Tilly and Grace. Set during the famed summer of 1976, this novel is a nostalgic treat! Written with wit and perception, the story follows the strange circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Mrs Creasy. With roots in a Christian parable, and the addition of suburban cul-de-sac charm, this book is perfect for a rainy day.

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6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Mary Ann Shaffer

In this delightful and unique book, embrace the peculiar lives of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Written in the form of letters between Juliet, an author in London, and the society members, find yourself falling in love with the charming country and residents, just as the protagonist does. Set in 1946, this book is heartfelt and enjoyable, and the lovable characters will help you to look on the bright side of life.

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7. If You Go Away

Adele Parks

This remarkable love story set in 1914 is hopeful and uplifting. Parks's first historical romance follows the lives of Vivian and Howard throughout the First World War. Vivian is unhappily married and Howard is struggling with the realities of war. Things take a wonderful turn for the better as amongst all the chaos and severity of conflict, the two develop an enchanting romance. This novel is bound to warm your heart and lift your spirits.

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8. A Room with a View

E. M. Forster

In this classic love story, step back in time to follow the life of Lucy Honeychurch as she discovers what lies beyond her rigid middle-class Edwardian upbringing. On a trip to Italy, she meets an abundance of unconventional characters, as well as the charming and passionate George Emerson. This timeless novel will help you forget about your troubles and escape into the past.

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9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Mark Haddon

See the world through the eyes of 15-year-old Christopher as he tries to solve the mystery of a dead dog. Christopher has Asperger's Syndrome, a viewpoint that brings poignancy as well as humorous situations to the story. When learning about Christopher's refreshing perspective to life, find your own outlook being transformed and your grey skies turning blue.

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10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

Grin like a Cheshire cat with this fantastic read! Revisit this enduring classic and rediscover all of your favourite characters and adventures from your childhood. Follow the extraordinary escapades of Alice as she tumbles down a rabbit hole and lands in a bizarre new world full of bizarre new friends. A little bit of brilliant nonsense may be just what you need if you've had a bad day.

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Need more uplifting literature in your life? Browse our full range of the best fiction books for plenty of rejuvenating reads.

  • URI2 13 years +
    13 years +
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    The narrator of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is 15-year-old Christopher who has a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome.

    His obsessive and unusual take on life creates lots of hilarious situations but also brings incredible poignancy to the story. Christopher finds it hard to relate to people, particularly their emotions and feelings, so when he finds a dead dog and decides to solve the mystery of its death, his quest leads him into a difficult and unfamiliar territory that threatens to upset his carefully ordered existence.

    This is an intriguing and insightful novel that will appeal to readers from 13+.
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    'You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you ...'. Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George. Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiance Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart? "A Room with a View" is a sunny, brilliantly witty comedy of manners.
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    A poignant tale of the power of friendship, built through a mutual love of reading, Annie Barrows' feel-good novel is highly recommended. Lead character Juliet Ashton is drawn into correspondence with Guernsey boy Dawsey Adams and slowly learns all there is to know about the fascinating secret history of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is not long before she begins to hear from other members and as letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name. As her curiosity grows, Juliet, an author struggling for ideas for her next book, visits her new friends in a charming encounter.

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    Book People favourite Adele Parks returns with If You Go Away, a story set around the outbreak of World War I that combines glamorous debutantes with themes of heartbreak and discovering just what it is that is really worth fighting for...

    Young debutante Vivian has been hurried into a pedestrian marriage to cover up a scandal, but when her husband enlists on their wedding day she is left with no choice but to take up the management and running of his estate - despite her lack of experience in this field...

    Meanwhile, young playwright Howard has rushed to the front to see the horrors of war for himself - and to observe both the best and worst of humanity. When conscription becomes law in 1916, he steadfastly refuses to join the ranks and becomes one of the most notorious conscientious objectors of all time...

    Handsome, famous and seen as a threat to the government, he narrowly escapes a death sentence and agrees to work on Vivian's farm - when the two meet, they quickly form a bond...

    This is a lovely slice of historical romance!
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    `Sunny, charming, and as playful as Stella Gibbons or E.F. Benson, The Museum of Things Left Behind took me on holiday to the tiny imaginary country of Vallerosa, and returned me with the wonderful feeling of having spent time with an uplifting friend.' - Laline Paull, 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction-shortlisted author of The Bees.

    Our love of books is unsurpassed at the Book People so it's no surprise that our staff are passionate about writing, too. And now we're delighted to bring you the stunning hardback debut novel from our very own Seni Glaister - The Museum of Things Left Behind.

    With its lush valleys and beautiful mountains, the European country of Vallerosa appears to be a dream destination. A place lost in time, the community does not bother with money but does have strong values that mean more than any politician's ideals. But underneath this positive exterior, the locals are beginning to grow cranky and disaffected... Meanwhile, some hostile Americans have cottoned on to the country's financial potential and are making plans of their own. Will an unlikely visitor prove to be the agent of change the country's been waiting for?

    A book about the world we live in today and the issues that affect us all - from politics to religion and economics to a good cup of tea - the light, witty and heart-warming tone will keep you hooked from the very first page, and have you pining for a trip to Vallerosa!
  • AWZ2 9 years +
    9 years +
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    A beautiful Oxford Classics edition of Lewis Carroll's inspired fantasy Alice in Wonderland. This surreal story has truly enduring appeal and is a must-read book for all readers aged 9 and above.

    On an ordinary summer's afternoon, Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole and an extraordinary adventure begins. In a strange world, she meets some even stranger characters including a grinning cat, a rabbit with a pocket watch and a queen who plays croquet using hedgehogs and flamingos!

    Packed full of nonsense poems and songs, quirky characters and bizarre goings-on, Alice in Wonderland is a timeless classic!

    Please note this edition does not contain any illustrations.
  • The Complete Harry Potter Collection - 7-Book Box Set - Collection - 9781408856772 - JK Rowling
    HRYP 9 years +
    9 years +
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    • Just £4.28 per book
    If you're lucky enough to have tickets to see The Cursed Child on stage or are already excited for the next Fantastic Beasts film later this year, then why not head back to Platform 9 3/4, climb aboard the Hogwarts Express and enjoy the Complete Harry Potter Collection for a magical price. Presented in a gorgeous slipcase, these editions of J. K. Rowling's classics come complete with stunning cover illustrations from Jonny Duddle.

    A phenomenon like no other, Harry's incredible journey begins with The Philosopher's Stone. Unhappily living in a cupboard under the stairs at his aunt's, he's visited by a giant called Rubeus Hagrid who delivers the most astonishing news - Harry's a wizard. As he heads to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, meets oh-so-wise Professor Dumbledore and the complex Severus Snape and their incredible adventure begins. But evil in the shape of Lord Voldemort is getting ever closer - and the Dark Lord has his sights set firmly on Harry.

    Throughout the seven books, Harry learns what it means to be a Gryffindor student and the value of friendship and trust. The eight films starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were a record-breaking success and now you can relive the stories where it all began time and time again with this amazing Harry Potter box set - Expecto Patronum!
    Format: paperback
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    With an introduction by Caitlin Moran A dazzling urban satire of modern relationships? An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family? Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something? As Bridget documents her struggles through the social minefield of her thirties and tries to weigh up the eternal question (Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy?), she turns for support to four indispensable friends: Shazzer, Jude, Tom and a bottle of chardonnay. Bridget Jones's Diary was first published in 1996 and applauded by critics from Salman Rushdie to Jilly Cooper. A number-one bestseller, Helen Fielding's book has sold over fifteen million copies worldwide and has been turned into an Academy Award-nominated film series starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. Bridget Jones's Diary is followed by Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.
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    Lucy Diamond is the bestselling author of both The Secrets of Happiness and Summer at Shell Cottage and in her latest heart-warming novel, The House of New Beginnings, she tackles the subjects of love, loss and starting over.

    Number 11, Dukes Square may look like the other grand houses on the Brighton seafront and it most certainly has a place in the city's history, but it's also a building that plays host to a whole series of new beginnings - journalist Georgie followed her childhood sweetheart to Brighton but wants to carve out her own career. She loves the vibrant nature of the city, but is she going to get into trouble?

    Charlotte wants a new start after suffering a heartbreaking loss and wants to keep her head down, but her stylish elderly neighbour Margot is determined for this not to happen; and Rosa is looking to build her career as a sous chef. It's a gruelling and thankless career, but then she comes up against a stroppy teenager who inspires her to change her life choices.

    As the three tenants find each other, they embark on this exciting new chapter in their lives together. It's a moving and uplifting read.
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    THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Part whodunnit, part coming of age, this is a gripping debut about the secrets behind every door' RACHEL JOYCE 'A very special book' NATHAN FILER 'An utter delight' SARAH WINMAN 'A delight' PAULA HAWKINS 'A treasure chest of a novel' JULIE COHEN 'One of the standout novels of the year' HANNAH BECKERMAN 'I didn't want the book to end' CARYS BRAY 'An excellent debut' JAMES HANNAH 'Grace and Tilly are my new heroes' KATE HAMER 'A wonderful debut' JILL MANSELL 'A modern classic in the making' SARAH HILARY 'A stunning debut' KATIE FFORDE 'Phenomenal' MIRANDA DICKINSON England,1976. Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined...