A Novel Prescription – Winter warmers

As all of Australia officially tucks into bed with a winter cold, you can almost hear the sound of long abandoned books inching their way back on to the doonah, clutched in feverish hands by people who have exhausted every wretched show Netflix has to offer.


Baby penguin snuggles on father's feet to avoid winter chill
Winter warmer…


You can almost hear the pages turning, over the sounds of sniffling, sneezing and coughing.

But what’s that? Just as soon as they have taken up their book, these same people cast it aside in despair.

It’s too hard, too boring, too depressing, too nasty, too… Just too much.

If this sounds like you, then perhaps what you need is something light and easy, a book that will warm your heart and not exhaust your tired brain.

So for this month’s Novel Prescription, I have some delicious winter warmers. Consider them the chicken soups of novels.


A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towles

Things aren’t going well for Count Rostov. He has been placed under house arrest following the Bolshevik revolution and must spend the rest of his days confined to the luxurious Metropol Hotel. The good news is that the Count does not let this stop him from going on adventures. He befriends the staff, finds out all the secrets of the hotel, and even gets involved in political intrigue.

It’s a beautiful story, which unfurls at a pleasant pace. It’s never taxing but you always want to read more.

Prescribed for people who are:

– feeling a little overwhelmed by all the bad news in the world.

– looking for a nice, engaging and well-written read.



The Uncommon Reader

By Alan Bennett

A mobile library moves into the vicinity of Buckingham Palace and who should become a regular patron but Queen Lizzy herself! This short novella is an absolute treat as the Queen starts on a reading journey that will transform her forever.

Prescribed for people who are:

– thinking about a change later in life.

– looking to fall in love with books again.



The Woolgrower’s Companion

By Joy Rhoades

Young Mrs Dowd’s life on a sprawling sheep property in outback Australia is irrevocably changed by the end of WWII. Kate must contend with her father’s deteriorating mental health, along with the ailing finances of the drought-plagued farm. Throw in a handsome Italian POW and complicated race relations, and you have an easy page-turner that brings many neglected aspects of mid-Twentieth Century Australian life to light.

Prescribed for people who:

  • are looking to escape the winter.
  • don’t mind some romance.



The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By Rachel Joyce

Retiree Harold Fry’s boring life is interrupted when he receives a distressing letter from a former colleague who is dying in hospice. Determined to say goodbye to Queenie in person, Harold begins to walk and walk and walk – covering 600 miles to see her. Harold meets many characters on his journey, most of whom help him along the way and offer him compassion and understanding. This is an unflinchingly sentimental story and might make you cry, but some of those tears will be happy tears!

Prescribed for people who:

– are looking for goodness in the world.

– don’t mind a bit of a good cry.



This is the first of a series of monthly novel prescriptions. Hope you like it! If you’d like next month’s delivered directly to your inbox, sign up to the newsletter by scrolling down to the bottom right corner of the home page.