05 December 2015

Festive Fantasy Reads


Illustration for "The Snow Queen" by Edmund Dulac, 1911

As Christmas approaches, I enjoy reading books that have a festive feel. While Christmas-themed mysteries and thrillers abound (see my post on this topic from last year), it can be a little harder to find fantasy books set at the holidays. Still, over the years I've discovered a few favorite fantasy reads for the season--while these books don't take place entirely at Christmas, they have enough cozy winter atmosphere to keep me in the holiday spirit!

Everard's Ride by Diana Wynne Jones


This early novella by Diana Wynne Jones is quite different from her later, better-known Chrestomanci and Howl's Moving Castle series, but it's one of my favorites of her books. I love the Victorian setting and mysterious ambience of the story, which follows siblings to a secret kingdom across a marsh. The book opens at Christmastime and takes place in the days following the holiday, and is currently published in an anthology of Jones' shorter works titled Unexpected Magic.

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley


When Penelope Taberner Cameron goes to stay with her great-aunt and great-uncle at their house Thackers, she finds herself slipping between the present and the house's Elizabethan past. This beautiful and thought-provoking time-travel fantasy takes place throughout various seasons, but the climax of the story falls during Christmastime.

The Snowstorm by Beryl Netherclift


Siblings Caroline, Kit, and Richard go to spend their winter holiday with their Aunt Amethyst at her house Farthingales, where they find an old snow globe that serves as a window to the past. While the book takes place after Christmas, the winter break setting makes it a cozy read for the holidays. This time-travel fantasy is unfortunately out of print, but well worth tracking down from a used book retailer or at a local library.

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