AFTER the glorious sunshine earlier this week, the weather has taken a turn for the Easter weekend. 

So while enjoying a chocolate egg or two, why not curl up with a book set in East Lancashire?

Here are five novels to get you started.

1. Her Father’s Sins, by Josephine Cox

Josephine Cox

Josephine Cox

This is the first novel published by bestselling Blackburn author Josephine Cox, who sadly died in July last year.

Published in 1988, it follows a girl called Queenie as she grows up in post-war Blackburn, and Queenie’s life mirrors Cox’s in other ways too – both having alcoholic fathers and impoverished beginnings.

This family saga combines both romance and tragedy, and is a truly heart-wrenching read.

Remarkably, Cox wrote the novel in just six weeks, while hospitalised with an illness.

After Her Father’s Sins, Cox went on to publish more than 60 books over three decades, and sold more than 20 million copies!

2. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson leaves Buckingham Palace, London, after receiving her CBE in 2018

Jeanette Winterson leaves Buckingham Palace, London, after receiving her CBE in 2018

Jeanette Winterson’s 1985 coming of age story follows a lesbian girl, also named Jeanette, as she grows up in an evangelical family in the 60s.

Although set in an unnamed village in Lancashire, it is assumed to be in Accrington, as the novel is based on Winterson’s own life growing up there.

The novel deals with issue of same-sex relationships, religion, family conflict and the prevalence of myths, and is both thought-provoking and witty throughout.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit has also featured on GCSE and A Level syllabus’ in England and Wales, and was even adapted into a BBC television drama in 1990.

3. Bad Tidings by Nick Oldham

Retired police officer and writer Nick Oldham gives a talk at Great Harwood Library in 2016

Retired police officer and writer Nick Oldham gives a talk at Great Harwood Library in 2016

This crime novel, published in 2013, is one of many by Blackburn-born Nick Oldham, an ex-police officer with the Lancashire Constabulary.

Part of the Henry Christie series, Bad Tidings finds Henry dealing with a triple murder on Christmas Eve, a case which leads him to a school in Belthorn, the village in which Oldham himself was born, and places him in the middle of a turf war between two infamous crime families.

The novel is action packed, containing plenty of twists and turns to keep readers entertained.

4. The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls

A list of books set in East Lancashire would not be complete without mentioning the Pendle Witches.

This 2019 novel, which combines both real local history with fiction, is written by Stacey Halls, who was born in Rossendale.

The Familiars follows the lives of two young women in the 17th century who get caught up in accusations of witchcraft, very much reflecting Lancashire’s own dark history.

It is a fascinating and fun read with historical girl power running through its core.

5. The Road to Nab End by William Woodruff

William Woodruff

William Woodruff

Finally, ending on a more serious read, this 1993 non-fiction novel by author and historian William Woodruff offers a vivid account of life for Lancastrians during the Great Depression.

The Road to Nab End is an autobiographical memoir of Woodruff’s upbringing in Blackburn, and is a must read for those interested in local history.

Set in the 1920s and 30s, Woodruff describes his family’s struggle as cotton weavers battling the decline of the Lancashire cotton industry.

However, the novel isn’t all gloom, there are plenty of humorous moments among the social commentary, to make this an engaging read.