Winter Magic

I moved up to Scotland, Aberdeen, last January and on our first night our boiler broke, and we huddled in our cold house, breath misting the air, under many blankets and hot water bottles to get through the -5 degrees night. We wrote hats to bed and two layers of socks and thermals, that normally only come out when we’re in the mountains.

Suffice to say, I was not best pleased with winter.

It’s now been a year and winter is here again, and I find I’m far more open to seeing its magic. There is a thin layer of frost every morning on the grass so that is sparkles in the sunlight, we get occasional dustings of snow that melts and drips from the trees. From my office window I can see white plumes of smoke rising from the chimneys and a pink, dusky sky.

I’m enjoying being a little more mindful, and a little slower – putting food in the slow cooker to have pulled pork for dinner, taking my time over coffee as I watch the sun come up. The soft light of winter feels much calmer compared to the stark contrasts of summer, and there is something quite beautiful about it.

Or maybe it is due to our boiler no longer being broken, and feeling like we are far more settled here. I expect our new kittens snoozing on my lap also plays a part.

So in the spirit of winter magic, I wanted to share some beautiful books I have been reading centred around fairytales, magic, snow and ice. These books are brillaint to read in front of a fireplace, under a blanket with tea in hand if you wanted to have a little winter magic too:

  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – a beautiful tale that follows the lives of three different women and their battle with survival, politics, family etc. It has been inspired by Russian Folklore and it will take you into a world of ice and demons and snow kings. It is a beautifully woven tale.
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – set in northern Alaska against a bitter backdrop of winter in a stark landscape, an old couple are trying to rebuild their lives on new land. It is a story of perseverance, friendship, love and nature.
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, this is the beginning book in her Winternight trilogy. Set in Russia, inspired again by Russian folklore and fairytales, it is an epic story of family, love, grief, loss and endurance. It is a spellbinding tale that will transport you to another world.

These wonderful books have kept me company during the darker, winter nights. If you have any other recommendations for winter magic stories, please let me know as I always love reading recommendations, or let me know what you thought of these.

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