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Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

This is a beautiful book I was given as soon as it came out, but it's stayed with me ever since I read it. It's magical and dark and has the most gorgeous cover, which means it gets to stay on my mantelpiece in pride of place! The story begins in an old inn, when a drowned child is brought inside by an injured stranger. But then, the dead girl stirs... and is brought back to life. Shining with atmosphere and wonderful characters, it's an incredible book I was so grateful to read. Just the kind of present I like to get. Ella

Mrs Hinch's Little Book of Lists by Mrs Hinch

I am Mrs Hinch's biggest fan, so of course this was going to be the ideal gift for me! But that aside, it's the most helpful companion and I'm not sure how I lived without it. It keeps me organised, let's me lay out my thoughts and plans and To Do lists each day, and gives me that satisfying chance to tick things off before I go to bed at night. It looks beautiful on my bedside table too, in the classic Hinch shade of grey. My daughter did well giving me this one on my birthday - although I reckon she bought it purely to encourage me to plan our meals ahead of time, so she gets a say in what's for dinner. Louise

Three Ingredient Baking by Sarah Rainey

I am a terrible baker. Truly terrible. But I made the mistake of promising my sister I'd make her brownies for her graduation, and next thing I knew, this book was in my hands and I had to live up to my word! I'm so glad though, because this is baking at its easiest, quickest and simplest, and has turned me from a reluctant banana-bread-burner to somewhat of a whizz in the kitchen. She never got her celebratory brownies though. We ate them before the ceremony. Annabel

Little Women by Louisa May Allcott

The cover of this book speaks for itself. I acutally bought this for someone else and (full disclosure) ended up keeping it for myself, because I couldn't bear to let it go! Little Women is an old childhood favourite, and has had a wonderful revival after the new film was released. But nothing beats settling down with this stunning edition with a cup of tea, sunlight pouring through the window or the curtains closed against a cold dark night. It's a book for every season, every mood, and every year. A timeless birthday classic. Sav

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

This book got me out of a reading rut. I'd confided in my mum that I was struggling to read, so she bought me this after hearing great things - and it wasn't even my birthday! But I sunk into it straight away, and resurfaced healed from my reader's block. It's a complex and beautifully written story about two families, their two children that make friends, and a tragedy that binds them together. I adored it, and I think you will too. Vicky

Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

I hadn't really ever connected with poetry before - I just remembered it being a bit stuffy and diffcult at school, all about landscape or things I couldn't quite understand. But my friend gave me Bone and my opinion totally changed. This is raw and beautiful and so easy to read, plus it moved me to tears a few times. I found it easy to relate to, for once, and the language was unlike anything I've ever read. It's really powerful, and now I can say I read poems! Rachel

The Language of Kindness by Christine Watson

This was such a touching and emotional book; I remember the author coming to speak to us at work, and moving me to tears. It opened my eyes to what nurses go through, every day, and the incredibly tough nature of their work - but also the hope and the heart of it. It's one of the best books I was ever given, and I even had a reading from it at my wedding. Claire

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I could NOT tear my eyes away from this book! I adored The Goldfinch and The Secret History, so my friend bought me this because she said if I liked Donna Tartt, I'd love Tana French. She was right. This is a gripping, beautifully written mystery set in an old family home, with believable characters and a dark secret at its core. Best present ever. Sophie

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

This is, quite frankly, one of the nicest gifts I've ever received - not even just in the book category. The illustrations are gorgeous, but the words are the most special part about it. It's uplifting and gentle and exactly the kind of messages we should be spreading in this day and age. Be kind. Hold love in your heart. Enjoy the little things. It's so lovely, for anyone of any age, and it's all my friends and family will be getting from me on their next birthdays. It's the ultimate bundle of joy. Catherine

Under The Duvet by Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes is the best present anyone could ever get, in my mind, and her non-fiction is no exception. With her bright and bubbly musings on everything from fake tan to feminism, and shopping to short stories, it's the loveliest little book to dip in and out of when I need a laugh. I don't even remember who bought it for me, but my copy is tattered, well-loved and re-read whenever I need a little lift. Maria

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