Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown I Feel Bad About My Neck: with a new introduction from Dolly Alderton The Pursuit of Love: Now a major series on BBC and Prime Video directed by Emily Mortimer and starring Lily James and Andrew Sco The Far Pavilions
I Capture the Castle: A special edition of the coming-of-age classic The Girls Of Slender Means Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life The Lady in the Van
The Shell Seekers: the beloved classic family drama, as read on Radio 4 (April 2024) Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown I Feel Bad About My Neck: with a new introduction from Dolly Alderton
The Pursuit of Love: Now a major series on BBC and Prime Video directed by Emily Mortimer and starring Lily James and Andrew Sco The Far Pavilions I Capture the Castle: A special edition of the coming-of-age classic The Girls Of Slender Means

Comfort reads (needed now more than ever)

By Harriet Evans

Comfort reads (needed now more than ever)

By Harriet Evans

Some of these are classics, some are a bit more obscure. But all of them are books I turn to when I need taking out of the present situation by opening the pages of a book that I can just fall into. (Why? What's wrong with the present situation, I hear you ask. Everything's great! )

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown

Anne Glenconner

£12.99 £12.34

I read this in one day last year when I was in bed with flu. It was perhaps my favourite day of the year despite feeling so rotten I could barely raise my head. That's all you need to know.

I Feel Bad About My Neck: with a new introduction from Dolly Alderton

I Feel Bad About My Neck: with a new introduction from Dolly Alderton

Nora Ephron

£9.99 £9.49

There are so many different bits of this gorgeous book that stay with you. Blessed woman. As Meryl Streep* said when Nora Ephron died, we're so sorry you're gone, but we're so glad you were here. *Meryl Streep was one of her best friends, what else do you need to know?

The Pursuit of Love: Now a major series on BBC and Prime Video directed by Emily Mortimer and starring Lily James and Andrew Sco

The Pursuit of Love: Now a major series on BBC and Prime Video directed by Emily Mortimer and starring Lily James and Andrew Sco

Nancy Mitford

£8.99 £8.54

War, heartbreak, hunting animals to death, psychopathic parents and cold, cold houses... why is this book so very comforting? Because it's Nancy Mitford's world, and we just sink into it.

The Far Pavilions

The Far Pavilions

M M Kaye

£14.99 £14.24

I read this whilst in labour and it is so absorbing it took my mind off it. OFF LABOUR. It is so richly detailed and plotted that you can't help but be sucked in. I adore it. A proper old-fashioned saga.

I Capture the Castle: A special edition of the coming-of-age classic

I Capture the Castle: A special edition of the coming-of-age classic

Dodie Smith

£8.99 £8.54

Along with The Pursuit of Love this is a cliched comfort read but if you haven't read it I envy you so much. It is unexpected in places and surprisingly raw, and has the darkest ending in any book like it. Gorgeous. That's all.

The Girls Of Slender Means

The Girls Of Slender Means

Muriel Spark

£9.99 £9.49

The plotting, the details, the edginess, the sense of time and place make this wonderful novel such a pleasure. Like Pym, and like I Capture the Castle, it is packaged as fluffy, along with so much fiction by woman, and is anything but, but hugely comforting at the same time.

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life

Nina Stibbe

£10.99 £10.44

These lovely letters from a nanny in 80s Primrose Hill to her sister are so enjoyable and funny, I keep them by my bed to pick up and peruse for a lift.

The Lady in the Van

The Lady in the Van

Alan Bennett

£6.99 £6.64

Such a little book but it's a nice companion to the one above and that thing about Alan Bennett that he is seen as comfortable which often gets in the way of how acutely perceptive he is on people and life.

The Shell Seekers: the beloved classic family drama, as read on Radio 4 (April 2024)

The Shell Seekers: the beloved classic family drama, as read on Radio 4 (April 2024)

Rosamunde Pilcher

£10.99 £10.44

We should all be more like Penelope Keeling, the ageing heroine of Pilcher's most successful novel. This is one of those big old curl up and get stuck in books that I can reread and find something to enjoy anew every time.

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Gwen Raverat

£10.99 £10.44

I ordered the beautiful Slightly Foxed hardback edition of this perfect little gem of a memoir for my Christmas present and really it's all I've needed to see me through these first ghastly days of 2021. She was Charles Darwin's granddaughter & this account of her childhood in Cambridge with her eccentric, intellectual family is sheer joy. Go on and treat yourself, too.

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