Classic Comfort Reads… with Mandy James

The idea behind the Classic Comfort posts is that each featured writer chooses a favourite title from the classics – we’ll define ‘classic’ as pre-1940 – and a favourite comfort read, a book they always return to, for whatever reasons. As third book in each post, we’ll have one by the writer.

This week, it’s Mandy James, who writes suspense and feel-good fiction. Her books are all set in Cornwall, where she lives. Her latest, A Secret Gift, was published at the end of October and will be followed by The Garden by the Sea in January.
Over to Mandy:


I read this book when I was a teenager and was drawn into the daily life and loves of the March family, particularly the headstrong Jo. It was like a 19th century soap opera. I read it again years later, and saw the new film adaptation recently. I realised how much more Alcott had to say about the position of women in society and the inequality between genders and also race. I loved the subtle humour too. I found out she was an abolitionist and a campaigner for women’s suffrage which made me love her and her book even more!


I first read this book, a gift from my brother, when I was 13. Immediately I was captivated by the characters, the setting and the quest. A whole new world of Middle Earth opened up to me, along with dragons, orcs, wizards, elves and long forgotten kings. The desire to destroy evil and set the world to rights is an ongoing theme throughout the story, along with the importance of teamwork, friendship and a little romance. Tolkien certainly knew how to pull at the heartstrings as well put a fire in your belly. The perfect escapist comfort read.

Thank you, Mandy! These are two of my own favourites, both as books and all the various film versions that are available.
Mandy’s new release, A Secret Gift, is the first of her Cornish Escape novels, standalone uplit reads set in Cornwall. It’s a lovely book – just what we need at the moment. Here’s the blurb:

Three years ago, Joy Pentire lost her firefighter husband and she still hasn’t returned to the woman she once was. But then she meets Hope, one of the residents at the nursing home where she’s a carer.
Hope has a secret gift that she wants to pass on.
And Joy’s life is forever changed.
Surrounded by the community in her Cornish hometown, Joy’s unexpected inheritance soon leads to new opportunities, new friends, new love, and the part of herself she’d thought forever lost … her joy.

Amanda James has written since she was a child, and as an eight-year-old, she asked her parents for a typewriter for Christmas. She never imagined her words would ever be published however. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when she had her first short story published for a Born Free anthology. She left teaching in 2013 to pursue her dream full-time.

Originally from Sheffield, Amanda now lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the wild and beautiful coastline near her home. She has many suspense novels set there, but her last few books have been uplifting in nature with a twist of magic. She loves writing feel-good reads and has decided the world needs more joy in it right now, and her plan is to write many more novels in that genre. Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

You can find out more about Mandy and her books on Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.
Next month, we’re having Jennie Ensor, who also writes in different genres, with her choice of Classic Comfort books.
The blog will be on holiday now until January, so I’ll say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s supported me in the past year – and before that, too – and have a very merry (safe) Christmas! I’ll leave you with a lovely image of Cornwall, and another of Mandy’s feel-good books.

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