January has always been one of my favourite reading months as the cold and short days give you the perfect excuse to spend evenings and weekends curled up inside with a good book.
Here’s what I’m reading this month:
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
About the Book:
Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.
Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.
It’s become a bit of an annual tradition for me to pull this snowy, mysterious classic off the shelf each January and step back on to the luxurious Orient Express with Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot. Murder, mayhem and a silent snowy night combine in what fans and literary critics have called one of the greatest mysteries of all time.
This was the first Agatha Christie I ever read and I was instantly hooked by peculiar Poirot – he’s completely unlike any other detective out there – and the amazing storytelling on display. I can’t wait to read it again!
Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin
About the Book:
For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found.
Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money-laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?
I’ve spoken before of my love for Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin and his surly, anti-hero Detective Inspector John Rebus, and I’ve been looking forward to this one. Rebus may now be retired but he’ll never really be out of the game, especially when an enticing unsolved case is suddenly reopened.
I started to read this book while we were in Edinburgh over Christmas and was delighted to open the first page and find that the action was taking place in the Caledonian – our hotel! Thankfully the murder Rebus sets out to solve didn’t take place in our exact room though, as that definitely would have put a damper on the festive feeling. As always, Ian Rankin has created a gripping story and with only a few chapters to go I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
GOOP Clean Beauty by the Editors of GOOP
About the Book:
Finally, the ultimate guide to all things beauty from THE experts in clean living.
Written by the editors of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle collective, goop, this must-have beauty bible will shed a definitive light on topics such as what to eat, the importance of sleep, the power of antioxidants, and the impact of exercise, while offering tactical advice for skin issues and acne, as well as clean makeup product suggestions. Readers will also find beauty tutorials from some of goop’s expert makeup artists and hair stylists. GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY will feature delicious skin-boosting recipes and 100 gorgeous photographs of real women, and of course Gwyneth and other goop friends and family, all of whom will share their own secrets, routines, and beauty rituals.
It wouldn’t be January without at least one tome dedicated to self-improvement! This year it’s the latest offering from Gwyneth Paltrow’s team at Goop. I fully admit to having been a fan of GOOP from day one – I’ve had many a delicious meal at a GOOP-recommended restaurant and their city guides (now available as an App!) have amazing suggestions for what to eat/where to stay/what to do and everything in between.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the team has to say about beauty and intrigued to see what brands and processes they recommend.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
About the Book:
The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the New England island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to an impeccably appropriate young man. The weekend is full of lobster and champagne, salt air and practiced bonhomie, but long-buried discontent and simmering lust seep through the cracks in the revelry.
Winn Van Meter, father-of-the-bride, has spent his life following the rules of the east coast upper crust, but now, just shy of his sixtieth birthday, he must finally confront his failings, his desires, and his own humanity.
I can’t quite remember how or why this book caught my eye but it’s been on my To Be Read pile for a while and has finally worked its way to the top. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a (proud) history nerd but something about the New England setting and family secrets instantly had me thinking about the Kennedys. Whether or not there will be echoes of America’s favourite family in the book remains to be seen (I’ll keep you posted!) but I have no doubt this family wedding will be full of drama and completely engrossing.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
About the Book:
Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart…
Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life?
As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life…
This is another one I’ll be reading again rather than for the first time. It’s been a few years but when I was tucking Christmas cards onto my bookshelf it caught my eye and I realised it was time to add it to the To Be Read pile once again.
Wintery and gothic, the story twists and turns completely unexpectedly, (seriously unexpectedly at times!) captivating the reader and sweeping them into a world of secrets and lies. It will be tempting to race to the end to find out how it all comes together but my best advice is to take time to savour it. Also, don’t forget the importance of the details…