Five of the Best Winter Comfort Reads

With the days getting shorter, colder and altogether nastier, the time is right to escape under a comforting blanket with an equally comforting read. NZ Booklovers has some suggestions for books that will help you keep the winter blues at bay.

1. Chocolat, by Joanne Harris

The name of the novel really says it all – apart from some mouth-watering sweet concoctions brewed up by the novel’s feisty and wise protagonist Vianne Rocher, the story is about love, motherhood and overcoming your own personal fears and allowing yourself to be who you are meant to be. Set in the small, idyllic hillside town of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes in France, Chocolat will soon have you believing in magic and relishing the zest of life against all odds – even when it’s freezing and raining outside.


little women2. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale about the lives of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March growing up during the Civil War in New England is a comfort read in every way. Packed with moral lessons and historical throwbacks to “the age of innocence”, Little Women has remained popular thanks to a well-drawn cast of characters and Alcott’s ability to infuse some gutsy spirit into the main character Jo. The novel’s underlying message of being thankful for your blessings will have you appreciate your winter blanket even more.


heavenly hiranis school of laughing yoga3. Heavenly Hirani’s School of Laughing Yoga, by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Escape a dreary winter sky by delving into the sights, sounds and smells of Mumbai in Sarah-Kate Lynch’s latest novel, in which Annie, a fourty-nine year old woman mentally estranged from her kids and husband, is questioning the meaning of life. When Annie’s mother passes away and then her dog disappears, a surprise ticket to India – a place that initially sounds like hell on earth to Annie – soon provides some very timely and much needed relief. The book’s mixture of humour and poignancy provides a comforting dose of food for the soul.


the shipping news4. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

A classic in its own right, this Pulitzer Prize winning novel will have you snuggling even tighter into your duvet as you read the masterful descriptions of the raging elements in the small coastal town of Newfoundland, USA, home to newspaper reporter Quoyle and his two daughters. After a traumatic past – including the suicide of his parents and the death of his ex-wife – Quoyle and his Aunt try to save the family by re-connecting to their ancestral roots. This beautifully written book will shine a light on the strength of human resilience in even the darkest of times.


jane eyre5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Revisiting old favourites is always a comfort, and so the story of orphan Jane Eyre, growing up impoverished in Victorian England and working her way up to becoming a governess for one Edward Rochester, is still one of the best stories of love and redemption ever written. The descriptions of a harsh, wintery English countryside will do much to make you feel thankful for living in tepid New Zealand, and the budding romance between Jane and Rochester should go a long way to keeping you warm and comforted. Happy reading!

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Tanya is a freelance writer, reviewer and blogger with a background in comparative literature. When she is not reading fabulous new books or writing about them, you can find her horse riding or walking her dogs in the beautiful Waitakere ranges. Visit Tanya at

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