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The best books to give as gifts this Christmas

Persephone Books reprints unjustly neglected novels, diaries and cookery books from the twentieth century, and we are delighted to feature a selection in our Gift Sets this Christmas.  Perfect for relaxation over the festive season, each set includes your choice of pyjamas, Amelia Rope chocolate and Persephone book with beautiful patterned endpapers; presented in a stylish case-lined gift box.

Take your pick from the following six novels and it’s a guarantee you won’t be disappointed on Christmas morning.

The Exiles Return (Elisabeth de Waal) Set in post-War Vienna about the experiences of émigrés returning home to a changed city and lives forever altered, this novel was never even published in the author’s lifetime, but (perhaps as a result of her grandson’s success with The Hare With The Amber Eyes) has now been brought to a wider public.

The Priory (Dorothy Whipple) The secret of Dorothy Whipple's books is that just enough happens to propel the narrative along, but it's the effect small events have on the social balance and how these repercussions play out that makes them so engrossing. In this 1939 novel, the pre-war tranquillity of Saunby Priory is disturbed when the widowed father Major Marwood suddenly remarries a younger woman.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (Winifred Watson) India Knight called this book ‘the sweetest grown-up book in the world’, and she wasn’t wrong. A deliciously entertaining Cinderella story set in the 1930s about a down-on-her-luck governess sent by an employment agency to the wrong address, where she encounters the glamorous Miss LaFosse and a whole new lifestyle.

Greenbanks (Dorothy Whipple) First published in 1932, here is yet another book rescued from ill-deserved oblivion by Persephone Books – and for that we should all be grateful. A fantastic read, full of well-written characters who stay with you long after you’ve finished the book and with all the ingredients of a good family drama.

Someone At A Distance (Dorothy Whipple) The best recommendation I can give this book is that I lent my copy to my mum who was visiting from Australia and she loved it so much it (almost) took precedence over her grandchildren! Another great novel written by Dorothy Whipple and published by Persephone Books, it’s an all too familiar but grippingly told story of the destruction of a seemingly happy marriage.

Still Missing (Beth Gutcheon) It is every mother’s worst nightmare. Your child turning the corner on their way to school and then disappearing seemingly into thin air. That’s what happens to Susan Selky in Beth Gutcheon’s novel (later made into film Without Trace) – and what follows as she clings to the certain belief that son Alex is still alive is an all too believable and harrowing story of a mother’s grief as support from friends and family melts away.

 Also available separately, here.