All written by women, these superb classic and contemporary page-turners are definitely worth staying in for.
With the help of our friends over at Vintage Books, here (in no particular order) are the six novels we'd recommend snuggling up with and getting lost in this winter...
The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow
An unforgettable read, Gertie is the young mother of five children – uneducated, determined, strong-willed. Her only ambition is to own her own small farm in the Kentucky hills where she lives, to become self-sufficient and free. She is an artist, a sculptor of wood and creator of beautiful handmade dolls. When the family is forced to move to industrial Detroit, life turns into an incomprehensible, lonely nightmare. Gertie realises she must adapt to a life where land, family and creativity are replaced by just one thing: the constant need for money.
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A literary classic and one of Virginia Woolf's most experimental works, To The Lighthouse centres on the serene and maternal Mrs Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr Ramsay, their eight children and an assortment of guests, who are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse comes a moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life.
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West
Irreverent, entertaining and insightful, this is a tale of the unexpected joys of growing older. When the great statesman Lord Slane dies, everyone assumes his dutiful wife will slowly fade away, the paying guest of each of her six children. But Lady Slane surprises everyone by escaping to a rented house in Hampstead where she revels in her new freedom, revives youthful ambitions and gathers some very unsuitable companions.
Love by Angela Carter
A revised edition of Angela Carter's fifth novel, which has lost none of her haunting power to evoke the ebb of the 1960s. Love charts the destructive emotional war between a young woman, her husband and his disruptive brother as they move through a labyrinth of betrayal, alienation and lost connections. Followed by an afterword which describes the progress of the survivors into the anguish of middle age.
Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen
Imposing, rich, unloved and with a genius for unreality; Eva Trout has a 'capacity for making trouble, attracting trouble, strewing trouble around her' that is endless. Elizabeth Bowen's last completed novel, in it her elegant style, portrays her gift for social comedy and her intense sensibility combine to create one of her most formidable - and moving - heroines.
A Bunch of Fives by Helen Simpson
Hailed as one of the best short story writers at work in the world today, Helen Simpson's wonderfully funny and penetrating stories in A Bunch of Fives take on the full stretch, from birth to death and everything in between, in writing of remarkable originality and clarity.