Our Christmas Top Picks: Fiction Books

Our Christmas Top Picks: Fiction Books

Origin – Dan Brown

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” 

The Midnight Line – Lee Child

He’s still shaken by the recent horrors of Make Me, and now The Midnight Line sees him set on a raw and elemental quest for simple justice. Best advice: don’t get in his way.

Darker – E.L. James

E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe. Their scorching, sensual affair ended in heartbreak and recrimination, but Christian Grey cannot get Anastasia Steele out of his mind, or his blood.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself.

A Column of Fire – Ken Follett

Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred.

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent new novel, set ten years before Northern Lights and featuring his much-loved character, Lyra Belacqua.

Damaged – Martina Cole

When the bodies of missing schoolgirls start turning up, former DCI Kate Burrows is dragged out of retirement. She welcomes the distraction from her home life with former gangster, Patrick Kelly, whose long lost son has turned up out of the blue, bringing trouble with him.

Tell Tale – Jeffrey Archer

Nearly a decade after his last volume of short stories, Jeffrey Archer returns with his eagerly awaited collection of short stories, giving us a fascinating, exciting and sometimes poignant insight into the people he has met, the stories he has come across and the countries he has visited during the past ten years.

The Rooster Bar – John Grisham

The third-year students realise they have been duped. Their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans. They have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. So they begin plotting a way out. 

Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal. 

Munich – Robert Harris

September 1938 Hitler is determined to start a war. Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace. The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there. Munich. 

Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King

All around the world, something is happening to women when they fall asleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed, the women become feral and spectacularly violent…

The Tiger’s Prey – Wilbur Smith

Francis Courtney flees the comfort of his Devonshire estate when his stepfather’s gambling debts leave him penniless and at risk. He sails to South Africa with revenge and fortune on his mind: his uncle Tom Courtney killed his father, and Francis intends to avenge his death and make his fortune in the process.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories – Tom Hanks

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. 

The Last Tudor – Philippa Gregory

Jane Grey was Queen of England for nine days. Using her position as cousin to the deceased king, her father and his conspirators put her on the throne ahead of the king’s half-sister Mary, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her crown and locked Jane in the Tower. Mary sent her to the executioner’s block.

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. 

The People VS Alex Cross – James Patterson

Charged with gunning down followers of his nemesis Gary Soneji in cold blood, Cross is being turned into the poster child for trigger-happy cops who think they’re above the law. Cross knows it was self-defence. But will a jury see it that way? 

A Legacy of Spies – John leCarre

Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.

Fairytale – Danielle Steel

After graduating from Stanford, Camille returns to help manage Chateau Joy, her lifetime goal. But their fairytale ends suddenly with her mother’s death. Six months after losing his wife, the devastated Christophe is easy prey for a mysterious, charming Frenchwoman visiting the valley . . . 

Mythos – Stephen Fry

From the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind, Stephen Fry – who fell in love with these stories as a child – retells these myths for our tragic, comic, fateful age. 

The Break – Marian Keyes

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her.He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . . 

Playing with Fire – Katie Price

Organising celebrity parties and glamorous launches is the reward of years of hard work, and when restaurant entrepreneur Connor asks Indigo to plan the opening of his swanky new Shoreditch nightclub, she knows this could be the high-profile event that puts Glamour to Go on the map. 

A Question of Trust – Penny Vincenzi

1950s London. Tom Knelston is charismatic, working class and driven by ambition, ideals and passion. His wife Alice shares his vision. It seems they are the perfect match.Then out of the blue, Tom meets a beautiful and unhappily married fashion model. An exciting but dangerous affair is inevitable.

Some Kind of Wonderful – Giovanna Fletcher

Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since the first week of university. Now, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged. Instead, Lizzy is left heartbroken – but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she’s been missing.

Thrill – Jackie Collins

Lara is a dazzling movie star with the world at her feet, but at thirty-two she has yet to find a man capable of living with such a tempting object of desire…

Good Friday – Lynda La Plante

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not. 

Tom Clancy’s Point of Contact – Mike Maden

When Jack Ryan Jr is sent to Singapore on what seems a routine administrative task, he worries he’s being sidelined in the war on terror. But it soon becomes clear there’s more to the mission – and his unassuming new partner, Paul Brown – than meets the eye.

The Girl who Takes an Eye for an Eye – David Lagercrantz

Confinement to the secure unit of a women’s prison is intended as a punishment. Instead, Lisbeth finds herself in relative safety. Flodberga is a failing prison, effectively controlled by the inmates, and for a computer hacker of her exceptional gifts there are no boundaries.

Christmas on Coronation Street – Maggie Sullivan

Elsie Grimshaw lives in one of the worst streets in Weatherfield and is desperate to escape from life at home with a brutal father and the drudgery of working at the local mill. Grabbing at the slim chances that come her way, Elsie emerges from the heartbreak of her marriage, if not much older, then certainly wiser. 

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth – William Boyd

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it.

War Cry – Wilbur Smith

Saffron grows up on a sprawling Kenyan estate, under the watchful eye of her father, prominent businessman and distinguished war veteran Leon Courtney. Her childhood is idyllic, until a family tragedy forces her to grow up much faster than necessary. 

Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on a journey – the story spooling outwards from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis and beyond, to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India.

Into the Water – Paula Hawkins

In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help. Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind. 

The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch

Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter.

Artemis – Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? 

End Game – David Baldacci

Will Robie, highly trained assassin and the US government’s most indispensable asset, is called to London. An imminent terrorist attack threatens the Underground and with the US next in line, Robie is the perfect choice to stop it before it begins.

Wilde Like Me – Louise Pentland

Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She’s great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine. But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely. 

He Said/She Said – Erin Kelly

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear. And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden . . .

Mirror, Mirror – Cara Delevigne

 Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Naima and Rose are like anyone their age. Life isn’t perfect, but they’re united by their love of music and excited about what the future holds for their band. That is until Naima dies in tragic circumstances, leaving behind only one word. ‘Sorry’. 

The Last Secret of the Deverills – Santa Montefiore

1939 and peace has flourished since the Great War ended. Martha Wallace came to Dublin from her home in America to find her birth mother. But instead she has lost her heart to the impossibly charming JP Deverill.

The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce

1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. 

A Cornish Gift – Fern Britton

Christmas comes to the little village of Pendruggan and Cornwall’s very own Mr Rochester, Piran Ambrose, discovers the true meaning of the festive season when even he can’t resist the village celebrations.

Pulse – Felix Francis

A smartly dressed man has been found unconscious at the local racecourse and is rushed to the hospital, where he subsequently dies. He had no form of ID on him, and no one claims the body. Doctor Rankin is intrigued by the nameless dead man, obsessed even, and starts asking questions. 

Cold Feet: The Lost Years – Carmel Harring

Reeling from the sudden death of Rachel, his beloved wife, Adam has no time to grieve. He has to keep going, for the sake of their baby son. Jenny moves back in with ex-husband Pete, eight and a half months pregnant with another man’s child. Can their relationship overcome past jealousies?

The Stolen Marriage – Diane Chamber

 In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina. Hickory is a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. 

How Hard Can it Be? – Allison Pearson

Kate Reddy is back! This is the follow-up to the international bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It, the novel that defined modern life for women everywhere. This time she’s juggling teenagers, ageing parents and getting back into the workplace.

Greatest Hits – Laura Barnett

Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. After a silence of ten years, the singer-songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her – sixteen key moments in her life – for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits album.

City of Friends – Joanna Trollop

The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university. But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey’s redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits . . .

It – Stephen King

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs. 

Secrets of a Happy Marriage – Cathy Kelly

Recently married Bess should be blissfully happy, but as she plans a party for her husband, the cracks are beginning to show. As the party brings them all together, can the Brannigans discover the secrets of a happy marriage before it is too late?

The Little Angel – Rosie Goodwin

Kitty brings sunshine and joy wherever she goes, and grows into a beguiling and favoured young girl. But then Kitty is summoned to live in London with her birth mother. At first London offers Kitty excitement and adventure. But those now close to Kitty are not what they seem…

Paris for One and Other Stories – Jojo Moyes

Nell’s boyfriend has deserted her in Paris . . . alone in the most romantic city in the world, can she forget him to find herself? Eleven unmissable stories from the author of heart breaking Me Before You.

Christmas at Woolworths – Elaine Everest

Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?

The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel

The girls of the Roanoke family – beautiful, rich, mysterious – seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them that’s never spoken. 

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena

As you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there. What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

I See You – Clare Mackintosh

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that. Is someone keeping track of every move they make… 

Lying in Wait – Liz Nugent

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder.

Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. 

Check out more of our Christmas Top Picks here

241 thoughts on “Our Christmas Top Picks: Fiction Books

  1. My favourite book is Lee Childs Night School, my wife got me into reading his books because she loves his style & now we’re both hooked!

  2. My favourite book is “Any Human Heart” by William Boyd. It follows the central character through all the great events of the 20th century.

  3. There’s too many books to just pick one! But I would have to say my favourite book is Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen!

  4. So many books to choose from but I think if I had to pick my favourite fiction book ever is would have to be Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom as it’s a book that I read 30 years ago and I still vividly remember.

  5. How to pick a favourite book? There are too many to list, but probably the novel that first started me as a bookworm when I was a child was The Secret Garden x

  6. Advent Day 7 I’d love to win David Walliams new book but my favourite is the Kite Runner

  7. Always get the Richard and Judy book club lists.. my favourite was In a Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

  8. Three Sisters, Three Queens – I love Philippa Gregory’s books, I’ve learned far more history from them than I ever learned at school. I know they are fiction but they encourage me to find out about what was really happening at the time.

  9. Cannot wait to read the new Celia Ahern love her books they never let me down . The books I have enjoyed this year are Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens set in a cafe in Belfast about the owners lives and their customers.The other was The House at the End of Hope Street by Meena Van Prang a delight of a book about the magic of women and the sisterhood if women past and present and how it helps a woman in need.

  10. “Magpie Murders” by Anthony Horowitz from this selection. All time favourite is “Pride and Prejudice”.

  11. Can’t wait to read Victoria Hislop’s new book but my all time favorite is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel

  12. All I ever wanted by lucy dillon such a good read a great book to chill out with a hot choccie and read, in fact after reading this I will read more books by the same author?

  13. My favourite book is The Beach House by Jane Green, read it a few times now and love it even more every read!

  14. My favourite from the books above is Han King’s “Human Acts” – a powerful novel based on an actual event in South Korea where hundreds (if not thousands) were killed in a student uprising. It’s not necessarily the cheeriest book on the list, but it is utterly compelling. Usually I pass books on once I’ve read them, but this is one I’ll be re-reading.

  15. ohh difficult, I love a good thriller, so I’d have to say Before I go to Sleep by S J Watson, I’m intrigued by Nomad and I’ve read quite a few Lee Child books so would be keen to read more of those.

  16. Mine is ‘We were on a break’ Lindsey Kelk is one of my favourite authors and I still need to add this to my collection. I’m being good and not buying before Christmas. #sacrifice

  17. I absolutely love these books. My pick would be Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Baby – Fielding is such a brilliant writer, captivating you from the beginning and often making you laugh out loud with one of the most iconic characters in contemporary literature. I would highly recommend! Loving this advent calendar idea – thanks WH Smith!

  18. My favourite book is ‘I, Partridge’ by Alan Partridge… it’s just gets funnier and funnier with every read! “Lovely stuff”.

  19. Miss Peregrines home for peculiars – not only is gripping, but set in my home town two. Also has a great journey to follow.

  20. ‘After You’ by Jojo Moyes – I have read ‘Me before you’ earlier this year and also seen the movie this year too! I would love to find out what happens in the next book! 😀

  21. My favourite book is The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – her books are amazing x

  22. After You by Jojo Moyes. I love a book with a film adaptation so I can compare the two. Always read the book first though and it’s always impressive when both can bring me to tears. #WHSAdvent

  23. I have just finished I See You by Clare Mackintosh, for Crime fiction / psychological thriller fans this book is for you! A superb plot with a twist on the stalker theme. Awesome.

  24. Island of Glass by Nora Roberts! I can’t wait to see what power they get from fallen stars and how they can save the world.

  25. Island of glass by nora Roberts – nice east read and she always delivers a good read

  26. I haven’t read many of these, but am looking forward to reading The Wonder. I loved The Room ? Thank you for the chance to win, what a fab prize! x

  27. Peter James Love you dead….absolutely LOVE this author have read ALL of the Roy Grace series 😀 #CrimeFictionFanatic!

  28. Blue by Danielle Steel – I love her books and have read a fair amount of them. They are really quite moving and not just about romance.

  29. Fishbowl! Such a unique read. I loved how one action unrelated to anything at the time affects something in the future and those events impact on each other. And of course Ian …

  30. Haven’t read any so surely I should win them? Plus have an empty bookcase that needs filling ☺

  31. Lee Child’s Night School is my number one favouritefavourite but a friend bought me Oliver The cat that saved Christmas and I love it a real Christmas story , not normally my type of read but lovely.

  32. I loved I See You by Claire Mackintosh, read others but it was my favourite. There is quite a lot of those already on my book wish list so I would be over the moon with this 😀

  33. Two by two and conclave! I LOVE reading ? and always carry round a book with me. To win this would be a dream come true ? You can never read enough ?

  34. Everyone brave is forgiven, looks like an awesome book, going to have to look into buying it

  35. My favourite from this year didn’t make your list. It was The Witness by Simon Kernick.

  36. I’ve read through them and have a short list of twelve! I’ll choose I See You by Clare Mackintosh because I’ve wanted to read it for a while.

  37. I have just finished reading Jeffrey Archers book This Was A Man and I loved it. I had read the whole series and thought the book had a good ending, although I did cry at it.

  38. I see you by Clare Mackintosh was fab. Got the Jodi Picoult to read next – can’t wait

  39. Jojo Moyes – After You. I loved Me Before You and want to find out how Lou gets on with her life.

  40. I loved reading Jilly Cooper, Martina Cole Betrayal, John Grisham The Whistler and Bridgets Jones Baby from the list, but I also love reading Patricia Cornwall books 🙂

  41. Every year I make the resolution to read more current books. This would be a perfect incentive to start next year!

  42. Three Sisters Three Queen . I love Phillipa Gregory’s writing and she always covers subjects that interest me .

  43. betrayal by martina cole. I love her books. though to be honest, there were several I wanted to say, inc lee childs. I have ALL his jack reacher books x

  44. Pharaoh
    The Worldwide Number One Bestseller by my favourite Author Wilbur Smith. I would have loved to have met him and discussed his books.

  45. I’ve never met a Santa Montefiore book that I didn’t love. Can’t wait to get started on The Gypsy Madonna

  46. Those were the days!
    All of these books are ones I wouldn’t usually take a second glance at but I really would like to read them now! They look like great reads ?❤️

  47. Would love, love, love to read lots of these but my favourite would be Bridget Jones’ Baby 🙂

  48. Nora Roberts – Island of Glass. I’ve been reading Nora Roberts books for more years than I care to remember!

  49. I’ve only read ‘Love You Dead’ on this list. Love it and would love to read all of them

  50. Haven’t read it yet but have heard good reports of Magpie Murders. On the Christmas list!

  51. But I want to read all of these books. As it is snowing outside I know I would rather sit by the Christmas tree and read. Eps is me I haven’t won the books,yet.

  52. I would treat my wife to this! We work so hard to make the kids Christmas perfect, we don’t have time/money for ourselves- which is fine btw, but would love to treat her. Merry Christmas ? ?

  53. I would treat my husband to some of these! It’s been a tough year and he deserves a treat

  54. Martina Cole – Damaged, Stephen Kings IT and Giovanna Fletcher Some Kind of Wonderful #WHSAdvent

  55. Some Kind of Wonderful – Giovanna Fletcher
    The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena
    Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell

  56. Darker by E. L. James
    The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
    It by Stephen King

    So many of the others I could list 🙂

  57. Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

    The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye – David Lagercrantz

    The People vs Alex Cross – James Patterson

    #WHSAdvent 🙂🙂

  58. The midnight line – Lee Child
    The people vs Alex Cross – James Patterson
    Origin – Dan Brown

  59. Darker by E. L. James , Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell , Lying in Wait – Liz Nugent . Amazing selection read a few of these .Thank you.

  60. The Furthest Station- Ben Aaronovitch
    The Midnight Line- Lee Child
    The Book of Dust- Philip Pullman

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