My Three Favourite… Autumn Reads

24th Sep 2012

Book in Autumn Leaves
There's no fighting it any more. It's time to stop pretending and pack those summer clothes away. Over the weekend was the first official day of Autumn. And that can only mean one thing. Time to get cosy in an armchair with a book, blanket, and mug of Amaretto.


Want some recommended reads for those Autumnal days and nights? Here’s three Autumn reads sure to warm your cockles when it’s cold outside…

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

So what if it was written for children? Even adult readers need the occasional comfort read (think of it as the literary equivalent of apple crumble and custard), and Autumn is an ideal time to indulge in some cosy nostalgia. Revisit spunky cousins Bonnie and Sylvia, and their turbulent time at grand but remote country home, Willoughby Chase.

Featuring a duplicitous governess, scheming servants and ever-present feral wolves who have migrated to Britain through the Channel Tunnel to escape the bitter cold of Europe and Russia, the icy adventures chronicled in this 1963 novel will soon have you feeling warmer about the weather outside.

The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon

A taut confessional tale guaranteed to keep you turning those pages, the sharp-tongued teenage narrator of The Colour of Milk has a distinctive and original voice that’ll stay with you long after the end of the book.

Set in 1831, Mary is the youngest of four sisters, living and working on their family farm under the tyrannical reign of a father who wishes he’d had sons instead. With muddy stockings, moonlit meetings and sinister secrets aplenty, it’s a short but satisfying read perfect for staying indoors with on a stormy night.

A Candle in Her Room by Ruth M. Arthur

Once Autumn is here, before long it’ll be Halloween, and it’s never too early to start spooking yourself into being scared of the dark. Published in 1966, A Candle in Her Room is a creepy young adult novel telling the stories of three generations of women, their relationships with each other and how they come to confront their various demons.

All seemingly brought about by an evil wooden doll named Dido, which seems to have a strange power over anyone who comes too close to it. A cult classic among children and teens, it’s a haunting exploration of cruelty, madness, resilience and redemption. Just don’t come crying to us when your candles start flickering…

What about you? When the weather starts to get dark and dismal, which Autumn reads do you turn to?

(Image via danklar)


  • Gill Jackman says:

    A solid George Eliot’s always good for autumn. For anyone who got into Middlemarch but never tried anything else, I’d thoroughly recommend Daniel Deronda. Verging on Shakespeare for breadth, depth and vision.

  • Beulah says:

    LOVE The Wolves of Willoughby Chase! Good choices and more fodder for my to-read list!

  • Sorrell says:

    ‘Wuthering Heights’ on a good blustery autumn day is my fail safe book. I re-read it every couple of years and always garner something new from it.
    By the end of reading the book I always end up looking somewhat disheveled and wind-swept…basically a bit mad.

  • Jess says:

    I’m currently hibernating in Barbara Taylor Bradford-not exactly a literary read but a) it’s the start of term b) it’s bloody cold, and I am therefore Allowed.

  • Am savouring both Dickens and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel for the depths of Autumn…but….a MUG of Amaretto! Blimey. I could hardly stay conscious….

  • Lu says:

    Oh I love Autumn. Once it’s too cold and wet to be working on the garden it means its time to snuggle up with a stack of books and a blanket! I really like the sound of A Candle In Her Room. I’m planning on reading Little Women again as I love that book 🙂

  • Jane Bradley says:

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone. Loving all these suggestions too – even more excuses to stay in and read when it’s wet and miserable outside!

  • Fictavia says:

    Just a little heads-up: the link to ‘Candle’ doesn’t quite work. Not sure if that’s a big deal, just thought I’d mention! That’s one I definitely need to read now.

    • Jane Bradley says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, Fictavia! We’ll get that fixed as soon as we can. Candle can be hard to get hold of, so we recommend starting with your local library and secondhand bookshops first. Make you sure report back afterwards and let us know what you thought…

  • janetwro says:

    I read Sarah Water’s Little Stranger last year about this time and it was a great autumnal read. I’m thinking about re-reading Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend soon, too. There’s something about a well-written creepy book this time of year that I just can’t resist.