Five great books to help you through winter

The dark nights are still here and the brightly-coloured lights are down.

To brighten up our evenings, the Rare Birds Book Club is suggesting some winter reads to keep us entertained. – 2021

Rare Birds Books founder Rachel Wood has compiled her top winter reads to see you through the blustery nights and frosty mornings.

From gothic and mysterious to dark and brooding, these books are the perfect accompaniment to the festive season. Beloved as previous subscription picks and favourites of those shopping the new Edinburgh Rare Birds Books store, there is sure to be something here to set your spine tingling or your heart racing…

Mexican Gothic

Set in the 1950s in Mexico, this is a deeply satisfying and creepy gothic thriller that we could not put down. After receiving a distressing letter from her cousin, our heroine visits her and discovers the old mansion she calls home may be holding more dark secrets than either of them knew.


Dark, atmospheric, gothic and mysterious, this is the long-awaited second novel from one of our most gifted contemporary fantasy writers and a brilliant reminder of the power fiction has to transport us to the farthest reaches of our imagination. Blending elements of fantasy and mythology, it’s a fable about loneliness, imagination and memory, and one of the most engrossing books we’ve read this year.

The Wolf Den

Fans of mythical retellings like Circe and Silence of the Girls will love this book, a gripping piece of historical fiction set in one of Pompeii’s most infamous brothels. Once the daughter of a prominent man, our heroine must navigate her new reality as a slave.

Love in Colour

Ancient folktales from around the world are reimagined through a modern lens in this brilliant collection of short stories that put women front and centre. It’s the perfect palate cleanser if you’re tired of traditional love stories from a writer with great instincts. It’s one you can binge or savour story-by-story.

The Coven

The Craft meets the Handmaid’s Tale in this dystopian thriller about misogyny, witchcraft and the power and potential of women. It’s pacey, chillingly realistic and filled with plenty of twists and turns along the way. If you love something spooky for Halloween, this is the book for you.

Rare Birds Book Club is a book club founded on a simple principle: books should be fun to read. Centred upon contemporary women’s fiction, Rare Birds Book Club selects only the very best pacey, interesting stories with gripping plotlines, amazing heroines, happyish endings, and – when the occasion calls for it – totally smouldering love interests.

Members can choose to be part of the club for three, six or twelve months, as well as on a rolling basis if needed. They will receive a surprise read at the start of each month along with a personal intro from founder Rachel as to why she thinks it’s worth their time. After completing the book, members can log onto the digital book club, chatting about the story with likeminded others, as well as accessing members-only bonus content.

Rachel Wood is the founder and director of Rare Birds Books, a book subscription that for the last four years has dedicated itself to celebrating women’s fiction and helping readers break out of their reading ruts. After growing up in Canada, Rachel moved to Edinburgh where she now spends most of her time working at the new Rare Birds Book Shop and chatting to people about books.

Find out more about the club HERE.