Christmas books

A week to go until the big day, Christmas!!! Just in case you’re struggling for gifts, here are a few ideas. I recommend the following, not just because my friend is responsible, but because I know it would be a  great and  welcome gifts!

A book by my friend Andrew Simpson charts the development of his area of Manchester, from a small rural village of little more than a few rams and cottages, to a town, and now a suburb of the great city of Manchester. Even if you don’t know the area, the development seen through the eyes and experiences of the people who lived there, some of whose descendants still live there, is absolutely fascinating. Andrew has a great ‘voice’ and he tells the story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy vividly.

This is the Amazon blurb:

This richly illustrated history explores every aspect of life in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. Drawing on contemporary accounts, Government documents, newspaper reports, antiquarian books and recent academic work, it debunks many myths about the town – and unearths some surprising truths along the way. Local historian Andrew Simpson takes the reader to the rural cottages and houses of the past, many of which disappeared only recently and some which are still local landmarks today. Revealing the close links between rural communities and the city, and with chapters on farming, local industries, shops and pubs, health, wealth and poverty, children, housework and housing, churches, entertainments and sports, crime, politics and all manner of other topics, it will delight residents and visitors alike.

… and here is a link –

Andrew has written other interesting books which I’m sure would make good Christmas presents.

If I were to blow my own trumpet and recommend from the books I have written, then as a gift, my paperback ‘Radwinter’ is set during the autumn and winter of 2013; in my Radwinter world it was a winter of snow and bad weather… in this excerpt it’s Christmas Eve and Thomas, worried about a friend who lives near a river prone to flooding, catches a bus:

“I’m not sure how far we’ll get, the weather’s closing in,” the bus driver said, but he sounded pretty nonchalant so I said I’d keep my fingers crossed.

I sat on the front seat behind the luggage rack and stared into the darkness as we left the bus station. It was a double-decker and was rocked by the wind and I heard a little scream behind me. Two elderly ladies were sitting further back.

“I’m sure we’ll be fine!” I called to them.

“I hope we don’t get stuck in a snowdrift,” one of them replied.

“Or blown over the cliff,” her friend added… thank you ladies for your cheerful thoughts.

The driver was whistling though, and although we were going slowly, and the bus rocked from time to time, he didn’t seem concerned as we chugged along the coast road and then up to Castle Point. I had to use my inhaler a couple of times, I was struggling, so anxious about so many things and I wished I’d brought my reindeer.

“Are we nearly there, young man?” one of the old ladies called.

“Not far now!” I called back and then the bus skidded and slithered and the driver shouted ‘oh fuck!’ and the old ladies screamed, but then we were moving downhill slowly and steadily.

I got up and went back to the old girls who were clutching each other and clearly terrified. I sat down by them and turned sideways in my seat.

“Don’t worry, we’re nearly there, the driver will get us safely to Easthope,” I told them.

I began to chat to them about Christmas and shopping, and presents, and they rallied and chatted back. They were sisters and good friends too; their husbands were at home and they’d gone shopping in Strand and had treated themselves to a fish supper. Now they were regretting having stayed so late. I told them that when they were safely home, sitting by their fires with a cup of tea, they’d think it a great adventure.

“Glass of wine, young man, glass of wine,” one of them said and we were laughing as the bus drew up on the High Street.

We all thanked the driver, who seemed untroubled by the adventure. I asked the ladies how they were getting home but they said they only lived a little way away, down Byron Street. I didn’t like the idea of them struggling through what was now a blizzard, so I insisted on them each taking my arm and I walked them slowly home, just hoping I didn’t slip over and bring us all down in a heap

© Lois Elsden 2017

If you think this would make a great present, here is a link:

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