December Reads

December Reads

Happy New Year everyone! This post is obviously coming late, it’s been a tough month here. I’m excited to re-visit my last reads of 2020, the year so much changed for so many.

The Queens Gambit by Walter Tevis

Rating: 4/5.


Many of you will be familiar with the Netflix adaptation of this book, and I was pleased to see that they kept very close to the original novel. The Queens Gambit follows Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy, on her journey from amateur chess matches to professional ones, but her journey is not a smooth one, and she has her own demons to face along the way.

I really enjoyed this novel, I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more or less had I read it before the show. The imagery in the adaptation was exquisite and brought it to life, the characters Netflix formed were the ones that stuck in my mind as I read the book. To me this was a raw portrayal of the cost of life, intelligence and perfection.

Breathing Underwater by Julia Green.

Rating: 4/5.


This novel follows Freya, returning to visit her grandparents on the remote island they live in, a trip she normally shares with her brother, who one year ago died in a boating accident. We follow Freya as she explores her grief, and comes to terms with life without him.

Perhaps a strange read to start in December, but the cold bleak streets of England made me crave a little sun. I really enjoyed this novel, it was emotional, it was raw, and it was real. Grief is never a simple process, and in just over 200 pages this story allows the reader to feel it all, the good, the bad and the after.

The Nursemaid’s Secret by Sheila Newberry.

Rating: 3/5.

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This novel follows Tilly, a young maid who has been sent to care for a sick child far away from home. She hopes her new home will be a place of happiness, and a place to escape her past, but when tragedy strikes and she has no choice but to return to London, she must leave her new life behind.

I wanted to enjoy this novel a lot more than I did, the beginning was great, but as the novel continued I found myself less and less drawn into the plot. I really enjoyed the Winter Baby by Newberry, it was one of those books that will stay with me for a lifetime, perhaps I have been spoilt by that. As usual Newberry’s strong writing styles shines throughout, I just didn’t fall in love with this one.

Now onto 2021, and not long until I will be back going over the books I have read this month.

What are your must reads this year?

The Winter Baby by Sheila Newberry

The Winter Baby by Sheila Newberry

*I purchased this book for myself.

Rating: 5/5.

The main character in this novel is Katherine, a runaway who is days away from giving birth, the Mason family take her in. Although Katherine finally feels safe, her past is far from forgotten, she harbours secrets she still cannot share.

I had a good feeling about this book from the beginning, and in turn high hopes for it. All of my expectations were met. Newberry’s writing style is compelling and filled me with nostalgia for a time I wasn’t even a part of. I was captured by the exquisite writing and storytelling from page one, and couldn’t put the book down.

The book flowed well from chapter to chapter, there was a good pace to the plot, and the plot was very well throughout. Newberry filled the novel with key events and moments, which helped to capture my attention over and over again.

Although this book appears to be marketed as a Christmas novel, and Christmases are a common theme within the novel, it is a book that can be enjoyed at any time of year. I myself read a large amount of it sat on the beach.

Overall this was a masterpiece, one which will stay with me for the rest of my life. For me this book was as close to perfect as can be. If you enjoy historical novels set around the early 20th century then it’s likely you’ll enjoy this one.