This is the third year I’ve taken part in the Cold Winter Reading Challenge, and the first year I’ve blogged about it. Originally created up by one of my favourite booktubers: Margaud Liseuse, but this year she handed the running of it over to L’Enluminée. This year’s CWC ran from the 1st December 2020 to the 28th February 2021.
This year I decided to aim for the second tier of the challenge: Flocon de neige, for which I had to read 4 books based on 2 prompts from 2 of the different reading menus. I actually ended up reading a 5th book for this challenge, which was cool!
The menus I chose were: Mysterious Winter, and Walking Together in the Snow.
For Mysterious Winter‘s first prompt, New Year, New Me, I read “Pride” by Idi Zoboi. A review can be found here. The evolution the main character goes through feels realistic, and I loved the fresh take on “Pride and Prejudice“.
The second prompt, Snow Queen, was fulfilled by one of my many comfort re-reads: “Wildwood Dancing” by Juliet Marillier.
This book is a retelling of the fairy tale “The 12 Dancing Princesses”. Set in a magical Romania, the magical atmosphere of this book sucks me in every time.
The two prompts I read for Walking Together in the Snow were Santa’s Reindeer, and Aurora Borealis.
I chose “The Tale of Shikonoko” for Santa’s Reindeer. I really enjoyed the book until the part where [highlight below – spoiler]
the hero rapes a teenager (she’s practically a child).
Which put me right off.
The second prompt, Aurora Borealis required that I read a book with a journey or adventure in. Monty Don’s “The Road to Le Tholonet” was a brilliant discovery.
It isn’t the sort of book I normally read but as it’s one of the 1000 books I got off E-Bay, it’s one in my collection. It was partly an exploration of various gardens’ histories, and partly review of said gardens. As a professional gardener, Don knows his acorns (see what I did there?), and as a professional TV and radio presenter, he knows how to write a compelling yarn. The gardens were a charming mix of small gardens he got to know in his younger years in Provence, and also grand gardens like those of Chenonceaux, and Versailles.
I would absolutely read something by Monty Don in the future.
Overall: this challenge encouraged me to read outside of my comfort zone, which was definitely for the best. Any worries I had about the challenge changing radically because of the change of hands were assuaged by the excellent challenge prompts created by L’Enluminée. This remains my favourite seasonal reading challenge, and I’m already looking forward to the 2021 Cold Winter Challenge!