Two comforting Brit books: A Week in Winter, and Winter Solstice
"The old house was being renovated. Even from this distance he could see the evidence of it in the yard: piles of timber, a small bonfire still smoking, ladders and scaffolding.... The house, built at the moor gate, in the shadow of the hills, always reminded him of a poem he'd known from childhood....
'From quiet homes and first beginning,
Out to the undiscovered ends...'" ~Marcia Willett, A Week in Winter
I was curious to read a book by Marcia Willett, because she is often compared to Rosamunde Pilcher, my favorite British author of "comfort literature." When you're feeling angry, scared, and depressed (or all three in my case, when violent, white supremacist mobs stormed the US capitol last week) one thing you can do to regain your equilibrium is to read a "comfort novel" about interesting people dealing with ordinary life dilemmas that all get worked out by the end. Though reviewers sometimes remark that Willett's novels are not as good as Pilcher's, I found A Week in Winter immensely satisfying, calming, cozy and heartwarming. But I suggest reading Pilcher's Winter Solstice too, as they are both wonderful authors whose older adult characters are filled with wisdom, love and a bit of magic. There are wise and wonderful matriarchs, manor houses that reluctantly have to be sold, spoiled, ungrateful and money-grubbing step-children, happy loving children making true connections, untimely deaths, unsolved mysteries and secrets revealed, unfaithful spouses, second chances at love, and through it all, faithful dogs. Just what I needed to lift my spirits and renew my optimism.
Paperback 512 pages @headlinebooks, Audiobook 6 hours 34 minutes @macmillan.audio and beautifully narrated by Josephine Bailey
Winter Solstice hardcover 454 pages @stmartinspress, Audiobook 17 hours 52 minutes @macmillan.audio ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 Narrated slowly and juicily by Jilly Bond