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Top 10 Best Books for Winter

These wonderful, snow-sprinkled stories are perfect for curling up with on a cold winter's day. From dazzling fantasy across frozen plains, to heart-pounding historical fiction, to cosy reads to wrap up warm with, there's something for everyone in this list of the best winter books.

1. Northern Lights

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Philip Pullman

It may technically be a children's book, but this magical tale will appeal to readers of all ages. It follows Lyra and her animal 'daemon' - the animal embodiment of her inner self - who live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. Lyra's destiny will take her to frozen lands, magical witch-clans and savage ice-bears. Join her on her extraordinary quest, which will have unimaginable consequences far beyond her own world...

2. The World According to Anna

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Jostein Gaarder

This captivating read follows 15-year-old Anna, who is haunted by visions of the desolate world of 2082. She sees her great-granddaughter, Nova, roaming through the empty wastelands with a group of survivors. The more she sees, the more she realises she must do something to prevent these grave premonitions from becoming reality - but is she already too late?

3. The Hunting Party

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Lucy Foley

This Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery sees a group of old university friends go on a trip that soon turns sour when they are snowed in at the hunting lodge. Trapped and isolated in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, tensions are already running high in the group but never more so than when they find a body. A classic whodunit that's the perfect read for winter, this is the cold weather read for crime fiction fans.

4. A Meal in Winter

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Hubert Mingarelli

One morning, in the dead of winter, three German soldiers head into the Polish countryside, commanded to track down and bring back for execution 'one of them': a Jew. They flush out a man hiding in the woods, but decide to rest in an abandoned house before going back to camp. They are soon joined by a passing Pole, whose fervent anti-Semitism adds further tension to an already prickly atmosphere. Each member of the group will have to confront their own conscience as the moral implications of their deadly mission become all too clear.

5. Winter Siege

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Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman

It's 1141 and freezing cold. Gwil, a battle-hardened mercenary, is horrified to find a little girl close to death. She has been attacked, another victim in a winter of atrocities. The frightened child clutches a sliver of parchment, and Gwil is determined to bring her back to life. He will train her to fight and, together, they will hunt down the man who did this to her. But danger lurks behind every corner. Castle after castle falls victim to siege, and rumours abound of a madman, of murder - and of a small piece of parchment with a terrible secret...

6. Midwinter

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Fiona Melrose

Father and son Landyn and Vale Midwinter are Suffolk farmers, haunted by a past they can't bear to confront: the death of beloved wife and mother, Cecelia. But something snaps with the onset of a harsh winter. Vale makes increasingly fraught decisions whilst Landyn withdraws, finding comfort in the land, his animals, and a vixen who frequents the farm, seemingly bringing reassurance and protection. A soft, beautiful tale about love and home.

7. Winter Magic

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Edited by Abi Elphinstone

This stunning anthology of snow-sprinkled stories will enchant children and adults alike. It features tales by acclaimed children's writers including Michelle Magorian, Lauren St John and Berlie Doherty, with all sorts of winter themes, such as snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers. This book is an enchanting winter treat, perfect for cosy nights beside a crackling fire.

8. Winter Garden

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Kristin Hannah

Meredith and Nina might be sisters but aside from having the same parents they have nothing in common. One of them stayed at home to raise a family and the other left to see the world but after their father falls ill the two sister are brought back together and reunited with their cold mother. A family history is about to be unveiled, however, and it's a story that will completely change how these reluctant relatives view each other forever.  

9. Winter King

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Thomas Penn

Discover the dark and tumultuous reign of Henry VII, in which his young son, Henry, would transform from a vulnerable young boy into the aggressive teenager who would become King Henry VIII, and in which Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife, would arrive on the soils of England to meet her destiny. At the heart of this tale was the compelling yet tragic figure of Henry VII - controlling, paranoid, covetous, yet conveying an irresistible charm and an unwavering determination to build on his power and wealth.

10. Wolf Winter

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Cecilia Ekback

An empty town on Blackasen Mountain comes to life just once, in winter, when the Church summons her people through the snows. But now, it is summer, and new settlers arrive. Their two young daughters find the dead man. The father is away, and the mother will not let it rest. She will dig at the secrets of the mountain, desperate to uncover the truth. They say a wolf made those wounds - but what wild animal cuts a body so cleanly? This dark, heart-pounding mystery will captivate readers.