What we're reading this month
There’s always a lovely big pile of books to be read in our house, but here’s what we’re actually in the middle of reading right now.
Daughters of Night
Cathy Y is reading - Daughters of Night
'The best historical crime novel I will read this year' - The Times' Spectacularly brilliant . . .
One of the most enjoyable and enduring stories I have ever read' - James O'Brien, journalist, author and LBC Presenter' This is right up there with the best of C. J. Sansom and Andrew Taylor' - Amanda Craig, author of The Golden Rule From the pleasure palaces and gin-shops of Covent Garden to the elegant townhouses of Mayfair, Laura Shepherd-Robinson's Daughters of Night follows Caroline Corsham as she seeks justice for a murdered woman whom London society would rather forget .
. . London, 1782.
Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline 'Caro' Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself.
Enlisting the help of thieftaker Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives. But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro's own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know . .
How to Kill Your Family
THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'I loved this book' RICHARD OSMAN 'An antiheroine able to best villainous male protagonists such as Patrick Bateman any day' OBSERVER 'Chilling, but also laugh-out-loud funny. Another corker' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH They say you can't choose your family. But you can kill them.
Meet Grace Bernard. Daughter, sister, serial killer... Grace has lost everything.
And she will stop at nothing to get revenge. ------------------------------ 'I've struggled to recover my reading mojo since lockdown. This turned out to be the thing that sparked it back to life...
Funny, sharp, dark and twisted, Grace is a character I found myself rooting for even as she committed the most vile misdeeds' JOJO MOYES 'Funny and furious and strangely uplifting. Grace is a bitter and beguiling anti-hero with a keen eye for social analysis - even in her most grisly deeds, you never stop rooting for her' PANDORA SYKES 'Deliciously addictive...brilliantly executed' i PAPER 'Addictive... Grace Bernard is one of the most intriguing and bewitching protagonists I've read in years' EMMA GANNON 'A funny, compulsive read about family dysfunction and the media's obsession with murder' SUNDAY TIMES STYLE 'You'll be gripped...
Grace's emotional detachment throughout will give you chills' Rated 5 stars by COSMOPOLITAN 'Hilarious and dark' ELLE 'Ironic twists and caustic commentary on everything from liberal guilt to the consumerist con that is "selfcare" sharpen this debut novel' OBSERVER 'Brilliantly tongue-in-cheek stuff from the Vogue columnist' IRISH INDEPENDENT 'Witty, waspish satire of a murderer with no regrets' GRAZIA 'Original, funny, unique and such a refreshing read' PRIMA 'A deliciously dark debut novel' RED 'One very entertaining read' WOMAN'S WAY How To Kill Your Family was number 1 in the Sunday Times paperback chart on 26/04/2022
His name was Joseph, but for years they had called him Panenka, a name that was his sadness and his story. Panenka has spent 25 years living with the disastrous mistakes of his past, which have made him an exile in his home town and cost him his dearest relationships. Now aged 50, Panenka begins to rebuild an improvised family life with his estranged daughter and her seven year old son.
But at night, Panenka suffers crippling headaches that he calls his Iron Mask. Faced with losing everything, he meets Esther, a woman who has come to live in the town to escape her own disappointments. Together, they find resonance in each other's experiences and learn new ways to let love into their broken lives.
Gideon is Reading:
One Sunday morning, a mysterious silent figure is found sleeping in a church in an unnamed American town. The congregants call this amnesiac 'Pew' and seek to uncover who they are: their age; their gender, their race, their intentions.
Are they an orphan, or something worse? What terrible trouble is Pew running from? And why won't they speak? Unable to agree on how to treat a person they cannot categorize - whether to adopt or imprison, help or harm them - this small town is quickly undone by Pew's terrifying silence. What remains is a foreboding, provocative, and amorphous fable about the world today: our borders and our boundaries, our fears and our woes.
LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 'A compelling fable of decline, a lament for a way of life, and a warning about what society is already becoming. It is a capsule of England and its dystopian present ... as sad and angry as it is memorable' Ronan Hession'Salt Lick is that rare beast - imaginative, risky storytelling where every sentence is a gift' Heidi JamesBritain is awash, the sea creeps into the land, brambles and forest swamp derelict towns.
Food production has moved overseas and people are forced to move to the cities for work. The countryside is empty. A chorus, the herd voice of feral cows, wander this newly wild land watching over changing times, speaking with love and exasperation.
Jesse and his puppy Mister Maliks roam the woods until his family are forced to leave for London. Lee runs from the terrible restrictions of the White Town where he grew up. Isolde leaves London on foot, walking the abandoned A12 in search of the truth about her mother.
Still Water (signed copy)
The debut novel from local author Rebecca Pert, published 23rd June 2022
'BEAUTIFUL AND BRUTAL...A BREATHTAKING DEBUT' JOANNA CANNON 'ATMOSPHERIC AND COMPELLING' KATE SAWYER, author of the Costa-shortlisted The Stranding 'A HAUNTING STORY...TOLD WITH COMPASSION AND EVEN TENDERNESS' KATIE MUNNIK A beautifully written atmospheric story of trauma, grief and redemption, Still Water is a debut from a bright new voice in literary fiction. When Jane Douglas returns to the Shetland Islands, she thinks she has escaped the dark shadows of her childhood. She carves out a simple life on the bleak, windswept island, working at the salmon fishery and spending quiet evenings at home.
And for the first time in her life, she's happy. Then the body of Jane's long-missing mother is found in a flooded quarry. Her mother disappeared when Jane was a teenager, following the death of Jane's baby brother.
Jane has spent her life running from her past, living in fear that she has inherited her mother's demons. Now, Jane must face what actually happened on that fateful, tragic day twenty years ago... 'INTENSE, UNFLINCHING, HONEST...
BEAUTIFULLY TOLD' LUCIE MCKNIGHT HARDY, author of Dead Relatives
The Year of Magical Thinking
Laura is Reading:
Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill.
At first they thought it was flu, then pneumonia, then complete sceptic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later - the night before New Year's Eve -the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John suffered a massive and fatal coronary.
In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of 40 years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LA airport, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Centre to relieve a massive hematoma.
This powerful book is Didion's 'attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness ... about marriage and children and memory ... about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself'.
The result is an exploration of an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad.