A few posts ago, I mentioned I was longing for a good book to read that would put me in the Christmas spirit. I’d purchased a few and wasn’t really satisfied and then–thankfully–I read in the November issue of Marie Claire about India Knight’s Comfort and Joy. I ordered it directly from Penguin (along with my Fitzgerald novels with Jazz Age covers) and waited patiently for my shipment to arrive. It took a bit longer than promised (could be the Royal Post being slow, could be the Royal Swedish post being slow–who knows?) but it was worth the wait. Comfort adn Joy was a delight to read. It focused on three Christmas Eves & Christmas Days in the life of Clara, twice-married and wondering why she no longer feels that spark with her dishy Irish husband, Sam. Throw in friends and family, the ex-husband she’s managed to keep as a friend and a stranger she meets over drinks at the Connaught and you’ve got the makings of a raucous holiday get-together. What I liked about this novel was that Christmas played a huge role without taking over the entire story. It was still about Clara and how she reacted to all of the conflicts brewing around her. But Christmas wasn’t there simply as a nice bit of fluff. India Knight managed to weave why Christmas and traditions were so important to Clara into the story without it feeling intrusive or ridiculous. It was a real page-turner for me and I would definitely recommend it as a fun book to read in between all the family visits and parties next Christmas. Or why not read it now to keep the Christmas spirit alive in you for a little while longer?
The Distant Hours is in no way related to Christmas–but I did receive it as a Christmas present from my lovely husband. I started reading it yesterday and I am already hooked. I love a good story with a mysterious castle, weird old ladies and a bookish woman trying to figure out how it all connects to her.
I must admit that I’m only on page 100 but based on what I’ve read so far–fantastic writing, great atmosphere that pulls you in, the right touch of spookiness that gives you chills…well, I think if you like well-written gothic fiction then you should most definitely read The Distant Hours. I am sure I will spend the rest of today getting lost in this book, dreaming myself away to a castle in England in summertime.