Pop the fire on, mix yourself an old fashioned, ease into your favourite reading chair and tuck in to these perfect winter reads, all of which I have been enraptured by in the last few weeks.

Adam O’Riordan’s debut novel, The Falling Thread, is a delicious portrait of three siblings of the Wright family from 1890 to 1913 as they negotiate a world of privilege and power in Manchester. Born into a world rich in cash, culture and patriotism, the eldest sibling Charles is on holiday from his studies at Cambridge. A passionate botanist, he is now bored and listless and the summer opens out ahead of him. He fills this time by chasing after his sister’s piano teacher, Hettie. Their affair leads to a pregnancy that will change their lives forever.

While Charles spends the next decades forging himself the career in business and politics he has been born for, his sisters have other callings to follow. Tabitha is pulled to activism, not only campaigning for the women’s vote but also helping the hungry and needy. Eloise, meanwhile, is drawn to art, developing herself as a painter under the tutelage of European and American talents, eventually joining a salon in Paris reminiscent of Gertrude Stein’s.

This is a novel about power and wealth and how privilege insulates itself. How connections are maintained and how difficult it is to claw your way in – or indeed out – of this peculiarly British elite. O’Riordan’s prose is as beautiful and decadent as you would expect – he is a renowned poet – and the story is strangely beguiling in this magnificent debut for fans of Ian McEwan, William Boyd and Benjamin Myers’ The Offing.

In Claire Keegan’s incredible new novel, Small Things Like These, it is winter 1985 and Bill Furlong is making his final pre-Christmas rounds as the coal and timber merchant in a small Irish town. At home his wife Eileen and their five daughters prepare for the festivities to come. But something dark is brewing under the facade of this seemingly happy town, where the church wields so much power – and Bill’s moral centre is about to be tested to its limit. Keegan has produced a miniature masterpiece of rare perfection which has left me obsessed with her work. This is the perfect winter read and has already become a favourite of several of the Mr B’s team.

The Passenger, by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz (translated by Philip Boehm), is a novel with a fascinating history – written in just a few furious weeks in 1938 and smuggled out of Germany, it was published to little success in England before being lost for almost 80 years. Boschwitz himself was killed when the ship he was returning to the UK from Australia on was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Atlantic. Now rediscovered and brilliantly translated, The Passenger is a great read for fans of Alone in Berlin, Kafka and chase thrillers.

It follows Otto Silbermann, a Jewish businessman who knew things in Berlin were getting bad – but he never expected storm troopers hammering down the front door. He flees out the back entrance but finds everyone he once trusted has now deserted him. Desperate and afraid, he takes to the country’s train network where he hopes he can hide from the tyranny overtaking the country… and maybe find a way out.