A few words on The Runaways (also known as Linnets and Valerians) by Elizabeth Goudge, which is as the post title says, the nicest book I've read all year.
Quite simply, this was a delight - a story of 'setting right', of coming into one's own, of happy endings. It's about four siblings who find themselves at the home of their rather marvellous Uncle Ambrose and who thus become agents for change and a power for good prevailing over ill will, so that all becomes well with their somewhat magical world in the village of High Barton.
It's full of delicious food, beautiful gardens, quirkily characterful houses, and a charming collection of people (and animals), all vividly drawn and described, but it's its warmth and joyousness which make it special.
A book to lift the spirits and gladden the heart.