I love reading during the winter months when the world outside is covered in snow and it’s too cold to go anywhere. We often talk about cities or locations as a character in books but I also think that seasons can take on such a role. These are a few books that really showcase winter and help me get through the long winters we have here.
Many of these books are set in isolated communities facing hardships where winter would present one of the most significant struggles.
While I’m curled up on the sofa sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace, I’m reminded at how different my experience of winter is in comparison. Do you have any novels you love to read in the winter?
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - I have recommended this book here before and for obvious reasons it is perfectly suited for winter reading. A childless couple one evening make a child out of snow only to find a real child on their property the next morning. The setting is Alaska 1920 and Jack and Mabel are trying to carve out a homestead in this brutal landscape. If you are familiar with the original fairy tale you will know how much the passing of seasons is central to the story. A beautifully written story and definitely worth reading this winter.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - This book takes place in Iceland, a country I would love to visit someday, and is based on a true story. It focuses on the final days of Agnes a young woman convicted of murder. She is sent to a remote farm to serve out her time before her execution. This book was sometimes difficult to get through due to the disturbing material but it is well told and absorbing. The setting in Iceland is vividly imagined as Hannah Kent brings to life the remoteness and isolation of Agnes.
Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman - I had never heard of this 1947 novel until last year when it started popping up on some booklists. Even more surprising since it is set in Canada! The book is loosely based on the life of Katherine Mary O’Fallon Flannigan who travels from Boston to her uncle’s home in Calgary to recover from pleurisy. Once there she meets Mike Flannigan, a Canadian Mountie stationed in remote areas of northern Alberta. The novel focuses mainly on their courtship and marriage but also the difficulties of living in northern Canada and their relationship with the First Nations communities. It’s definitely a bit dated but a very sweet story that deserves to be remembered!