The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
Possibly the most anticipated book of the year, and with good reason. This final part in the Wolf Hall trilogy begins with the devastating aftermath of Anne Boleyn’s beheading and holds you in its grip through 900 vivid pages. Mantel makes a well-known piece of history feel suspenseful, which is testament to her skill as a writer. Whether you like historical fiction or not, this is a must-read.
A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Anne Fowler
When the Whitmans move into the tight-knit Oak Knoll community, they cause ripples with their flashy ways, especially with their neighbour Valerie, an African-American single mum. Tensions rise when a romance develops between the teenagers from the two families. I loved this book: the characters are well-drawn and the complicated relationships between them are so engrossing.
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Last year’s winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction follows up An American Marriage with another beautiful novel. Dana grows up knowing her father has another family and feels in the shadow of her half-sister, Chaurisse. When the two girls meet and become friends, a web of lies begins to unravel.
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
The bestselling author’s first historical novel is something really special. Reimagining the story of Shakespeare’s lost son (Hamnet, who died age 11), it’s a moving tale about marriage, motherhood and sibling bonds. The playwright’s magical wife Agnes is a character I’m still thinking about long after finishing the book.
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
Twelve-year-old Eddie is the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills 191, including his parents and brother. After he’s adopted by his aunt and uncle, he begins a slow recovery, helped by a friendship with a neighbour and letters from the victims’ families. This took me on a rollercoaster of emotions.
This Lovely City by Louise Hare
When jazz musician Lawrie arrives from Jamaica, he finds London unwelcoming, until he falls for Evie. But his happiness is short-lived after he’s arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Set in the nightclubs of Soho, this thoughtful novel captures what life was like for the Windrush generation
This Could All Be Yours by Jami Attenberg
If you haven’t come across Attenberg before, you’re in for a treat: she writes compelling stories about difficult families, featuring flawed, believable characters. As patriarch Victor lies on his deathbed, his family reveal in flashbacks the effects of his toxic behaviour.
Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope
When her husband suffers a stroke, Monica must decide what to do with the Spanish vineyard that has been their home for the past 25 years. But will her three children agree with her decision? Many try to imitate Trollope, but no one dissects the intricacies of family relationships quite like her.
Apeirogon, A Novel by Colum McCann
Told in 1,001 short segments, including quotes from literature and images, this is a novel unlike any other I have read before. Israeli Rami, and Bassam, a Palestinian, have both lost daughters to violence. Their growing friendship, forged in grief, and the comfort they find in each other is the heartbeat of this powerful novel.
House Of Glass by Hadley Freeman
When journalist Hadley Freeman found a shoebox at the back of her late grandmother Sala’s wardrobe containing her most treasured belongings, it kick-started a search to discover their significance, from Paris to Long Island and Auschwitz. What Hadley uncovered revealed the realities of her grandmother’s experiences as an Eastern European Jew in the 20th century. This is as engrossing as any novel.
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