To me, February is the month of love and light-heartedness. As the days grow longer and brighter, there is an air of hope but it can still be dreary and often feels like warmer weather is light-years away. Having said that, I can’t believe there’s only a few days left of February – where has this month gone?!
Anyway, we’re in for a cold snap apparently and there’s no better way to beat the winter blues than by reading a good book and transporting yourself to somewhere else entirely, if only for a short time. With that in mind, I’ve picked out some uplifting, heart-warming books that are perfect for reading as we patiently wait for spring to…well spring.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is hands down one of the most delightful, touching books that I’ve ever read and perfect if you’re looking for a heartrending read that isn’t about romantic love.
30 year old Eleanor Oliphant works in an office and has been doing the same thing every day for years. She lives a lonely existence but is content with her anti-social, regimented routine. She wears the same sensible clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal each lunch time and buys two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Socially unaware, Eleanor is very matter of fact and often speaks her mind, which isolates her from the few people in her life. When fate forces her into the company of Raymond, a bumbling IT geek from her office, and heir friendship steadily develops, her helps Eleanor find the courage to confront her tragic past.
Interspersed with humour and heart-break, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a beautiful book with a powerful message highlighting the importance of everyday kindness. You can read my full review of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine here.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
If you know me at all or if you’ve even just glanced at my Instagram then you will know I love cats and this book is a cat lover’s dream.
Translated from Japanese and set in Japan, The Travelling Cat Chronicles tells the story of a cat called Nana who is devoted to his owner Satoru. When Satoru takes Nana on a road trip to find him a new home, he doesn’t understand why. Together they visit Satoru’s old friends who are all very welcoming but they also question why he is giving Nana away, that is until a long-hidden, heartbreaking secret is revealed.
An uplifting, comforting story about friendship, the narrative alternates between the perspective of Nana and his owner – as a self-confessed crazy cat lady, I can’t wait to read it!
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison
This book has been out for a while, since 2013, and I’m not quite sure how I haven’t got round to reading it yet as it sounds like just my cup of tea!
Don Tillman, a thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, has never made it to the second date so he devises “the Wife Project”, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. On throwing Don’s ordered, safe life into chaos, an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realisation that love is not always what looks good on paper.
Described as moving and hilarious, I have a feeling I’m going to really enjoy Don and Rosie’s story – plus there’s a sequel, The Rosie Effect, to look forward to reading afterwards!
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
The Keeper of Lost Things had been on my ‘to be read’ pile for a long time but I’m glad I only got round to reading it last month as it was the perfect book for beating the January blues.
The story centres around Laura who works as a housekeeper for Anthony Peardew, a once celebrated author of short stories now living out his twilight years in his beautiful home, Padua. Since Anthony lost his wife on their wedding day forty years ago, along with a precious possession, he has been collecting people’s misplaced items with the hope that he will heal broken hearts by returning them to their owners. When he dies, he leaves Padua to Laura, much to her surprise, on the condition that she will restore the lost items to their owners. Having suffered some major setbacks in life, including a painful divorce, she finds a new sense of purpose in fulfilling Anthony’s wish and learns to trust again.
A hug in book form, I highly recommend reaching for The Keeper of Lost Things if you’re feeling a bit down. You can read my full review of The Keeper of Lost Things here.
Miss You by Kate Eberlen
I read Miss You by Kate Eberlen this time last year and fell in love with Tess and Gus.
Told in first person narrative, Tess and Gus first cross paths in 1977 at the age of 18 when they both find themselves in Florence; Tess whilst interrailing with her best friend Doll and Gus on holiday with his parents. What Tess doesn’t realise is that her life is about to change forever on her return to England. When her mum’s cancer returns, Tess has to give up her dream of studying English Literature at university and she’s left to look after her little sister Hope. Whereas Gus and his parents’ lives have already drastically changed after his older brother Ross died in a skiing accident and he’s living in his shadow, plagued with guilt after blaming himself for his death. Over the next 16 years Tess and Gus navigate the emotional obstacles of modern life whilst trying to discover who they are. All the while, their lives interweaving, they are constantly on the verge of meeting.
A truly addictive and captivating book, Miss You explores the relationship between love and fate through vignettes over time – if you’re a fan of One Day by David Nicholls then you will most definitely enjoy Miss You.
Take a look at my full review of Miss You here.
So there we have it, these are just a few uplifting, heart-warming reads that will hopefully take the edge off the winter blues. Let me know in the comments below if you’re going to curl up with any of these feel-good reads.