The Rapture

Claire McGlasson

The Rapture is a story of love, faith, abandonment and coercive control in a real-life religious sect in Bedford in the 1920’s. The Panecea Society has been meticiulously researched by the author who has fictionlised true events in this engrossing debut.

Dilys is an enormously sympathetic protagonist. I rooted for her from the first page to the last. The revelations are dropped so cleverly into the narrative that they made me gasp. I completely lost myself in this fantastic novel, it’s wonderful!

Somewhere Close to Happy

By Lia Louis

This is a book with a big personality. It’s warm, hopeful, often hilarious and sometimes terribly sad. It has a huge beating heart right at the centre. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Lizzie, she is an irresistible mix of swear words and innocence. She’s a breath of fresh air.

The Queen of Bloody Everything

Joanna Nadin

This book brought me joy on every page. Being a child in the ’70’s and teenager in the ’80’s I could related to every word.

There’s humour and poignancy in the telling of Dido and Edie’s stories. I grew to love the messed up mother and daughter and their complex relationship, and rooted for them at every twist in their tumultuous lives.

This is a warm and original story beautifully told and I was sorry it had to end. I’m looking forward to more from Joanna Nadin.

The Summer of Impossible Things

Rowan Coleman

If you could go back and change the past, would you?

Set in an atmospheric, brilliantly painted 1970’s Brooklyn, we follow Luna’s journey as she uncovers the truth about her mother’s past. Complex and intriguing, this time-travel book kept me gripped from start to finish.

A great story of love, family and courage with a dollop of Saturday Night Fever. I’ve loved everything I’ve read from Rowan Coleman, and this is no exception.

Nobody’s Wife

Laura Pearson

This book is an intense exploration of relationships between siblings, spouses and lovers, and Pearson doesn’t shy away from the raw and painful consequences which follow emotionally charged decisions.

It was a very real story and I felt I understood why the flawed characters behaved as they did, even when my head was screaming for them to stop. These characters will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommended!

The Woman I was Before

Kerry Fisher

This book is a wonderful combination of intense emotions and glorious humour. Three families move into a gated housing estate and we get to know them as they try to work each other out. The juicy characters with intriguing secrets curate their social media lives, whilst their real lives tell a different, more complicated story.

It is fascinating to observe how these characters portray themselves on the internet, whilst we have insight into their real lives too. A very interesting comment on something I’m sure we’re all guilty of at times.

The plot is so perfectly paced that I couldn’t bear to put it down. I have loved every one of Kerry Fisher’s books and look forward to more!

The Women

S E Lynes

S E Lynes does not miss a beat in this brilliant book. The pacing is faultless from the moment we meet Samantha and Peter in Rome (so exquisitely described I could see the crumbling monuments) to the final, deeply satisfying scene.

I was emotionally invested from the first chapter where the characters are drawn with such clarity and skill that I felt I knew them.

The message in this book is important. What Lynes says about relationships, power, control and friendships, about our past experiences and how they mould us will stay with me for a long, long time.

The Sober Diaries

Clare Pooley

In this brilliant memoir Clare Pooley writes about overcoming alcohol addiction and breast cancer in a funny, brutally honest and uplifting way. This book is based on the blog (Mummy was a secret Drinker) which she began at the start of her journey to sobriety. It is very reminiscent of Bridget Jones, with the added poignancy of being true. I can see how this book has changed lives.

Keep You By My Side

Callie Langridge

This warm, wonderful book follows the lives of three generations of women, Gertie’s from the close of the Second World War, her daughter Rose in the late ’60’s and Rose’s daughter, Abi, in the mid ’80’s. The weaving of the stories, the women’s lives, secrets and emotions is so cleverly developed. The characters take us back and forwards seamlessly, each time adding another piece to this rich and engaging jigsaw.

This book is about love, friendship and the reverberating echoes of the past and I did not want to put it down. The characters are strong and believable and the settings are eloquently created, from bombed out streets to a cottage on a cliff top. It is such a good read!

One Way Ticket To Paris

Emma Robinson

This book is a joy to read. It follows characters Kate, Laura and Shannon through a life-changing weekend in Paris where they learn about what it means to be friends, partners and mothers. Robinson is funny, and I mean guffawingly funny, but she also has the capacity to stop you in your tracks and break your heart. This is an easy book to read, but has depth too. The themes are powerful and sensitively dealt with. There is music and art and a wonderful evocation of Paris. Such a lovely book!

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