Review: The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (2019)

Blurb

‘They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don’t believe I’ve done?’

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

A beautiful and haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London.

Review

I’ve read some fantastic historical fiction recently, confirming that it really is my favourite genre. Lots of people recommended The Confessions of Frannie Langton when I asked what I should read next. They were absolutely right – I LOVED it.

There are so many elements that make this a brilliant read. I love a book where the first person narration has a strong purpose, and here, Frannie is setting down her record not to clear her name, but to tell her story and work out what happened. This means that we’re right alongside her as she pieces together her history and the events that led to the night of the murders, and it’s a thrilling position to be in as a reader. Frannie herself is a compelling protagonist; although at first it seems she is at the (lack of) mercy of her fate, she is far from passive, forging her own path in myriad ways, living and loving fiercely, able to see the world in a much more clear-sighted manner than many of the other characters.

As well as fascinating characters, Frannie Langton has a propulsive plot – Sara Collins is extremely talented at knowing when to withhold and when to reveal key information, balancing the mysteries and the revelations with consummate skill. Like Frannie, Collins is first and foremost a storyteller, and what a story it is. With so many layers of narrative at play, a lesser writer might struggle to balance them all, but here, it works beautifully, the shocks coming with just enough subtle foreshadowing to be completely cohesive and believable.

I could probably wax lyrical about this book for pages – I’ve yet to mention the sharp, vivid prose, full of startling metaphors and similes that feel fresh and new, or the many other engaging characters, such as Madame, Phibbah, and Laddie, who are drawn with multi-faceted complexity – but there’s a danger I’ll bore you all with my enthusiasm, so I’ll stop here. All I’ll say is that if you’re a fan of historical fiction along the lines of Alias Grace or Washington Black, and you haven’t read The Confessions of Frannie Langton yet, you’re missing out. Get on the case – you won’t regret it!

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins is published by Penguin and is available to purchase here.

Review: A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago (2021)

Blurb

Based on the true scandal that rocked the court of James I, A Net for Small Fishes is the most gripping novel you’ll read this year: an exhilarating dive into the pitch-dark waters of the Jacobean court.

Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family – and is the most unhappy creature in the world. Anne Turner has wit and talent – but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution. When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined: a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign’s favourite may rise and rise – so long as he remains in favour.

With the marriage of their talents, Anne and Frankie enter this extravagant, savage hunting ground, seeking a little happiness for themselves. But as they gain notice, they also gain enemies; what began as a search for love and safety leads to desperate acts that could cost them everything.

Review

A Net for Small Fishes has everything a good historical fiction novel should have: gloriously rich descriptions, light but impeccable period details, a thrilling plot, and, most importantly, unforgettable characters.

The friendship between Anne and Frankie is what propels this story along, and it is beautifully depicted. At times it seems almost like a love story, as the two women become more and more intertwined, and their similarities and differences become more apparent. I loved the intense focus on these two characters – it adds an intimacy to the sweeping political drama of the Jacobean court, pushing kings and men to the side to zoom in on an intensely personal relationship. It works so well, and I was captivated till the last page.

Anne is a great first person protagonist, standing on the edge between two worlds: the sumptuous excess of life at court and the constant threat of poverty, exacerbated by her changing circumstances as the novel progresses. Through her, we are allowed to see all walks of life – she has a unique insight into society that provides a clear-eyed perspective. She is also capable of seeing her friend’s flaws; even while she is dazzled by the life that Frankie can offer her, she is aware that if Frankie doesn’t play the game right, it could all come crashing down for both of them. There is real peril here, which only increases as the story goes on.

Jago immerses the reader in the sights, sounds and smells of Jacobean England: the fetid stench of the Thames in summer; the ornate furnishings of noble bedchambers; the spectacle of the bear pit – reading this book is such a sensory experience. It’s also incredibly emotionally powerful – I was so invested in the characters, anxious at every fluctuation in their fortunes. This is historical fiction at its finest, and I am definitely going to seek out more work by this author.

A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago is published by Bloomsbury and is available to purchase here.

Review: Wahala by Nikki May (2022)

Blurb

Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English. Not all of them choose to see it that way.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them. Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.

Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.

Review

My first pre-order of 2022 – I just couldn’t resist the gorgeous Waterstones special edition – and wow, what a treat! I loved this book – yet another one I just couldn’t put down.

There is so much I enjoyed about Wahala: the complex, realistic portrayals of female friendships; the humour threaded throughout; the rising tension; oh, and the food! This novel made me so hungry, and I was delighted to find some of Ronke’s recipes at the end of the book. I’m looking forward to trying them out.

Speaking of Ronke, while I loved all of the main trio, she was the one who captured my heart. It’s a wonderful, if bittersweet, feeling when a fictional character becomes so real to you that you feel sad you can’t meet her in real life – I wanted nothing more than to linger over a long lunch at Buka talking about life with her. For me, she feels like the emotional centre of the novel, and following her journey was the highlight of Wahala. However, I also really enjoyed the character of Boo, whose struggles with domestic life rang uncomfortably true, and Simi, who stays frustratingly but understandably silent in the face of her husband’s assumptions. I liked the way that the male characters were just as three-dimensional and nuanced as the women – they aren’t caricatures, but real people, and the more I learned about Kayode, Didier and Martin, the more I warmed to them. As for Isobel – well. You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Nikki May does a wonderful job of drawing distinctions between the characters’ relationships with their heritage and their families, blasting the flattening narrative that ‘mixed-race’ is a single type. Lagos is evoked not with exoticism or nostalgia, but as part of the fabric of some of the characters’ lives, and the events that took place there years before gradually come into focus in explosive ways. The deft weaving of the various story strands works really well, and I found myself reading faster and faster as the novel builds to its dramatic conclusion. There is so much to delight in here, and I can’t wait to read more by this talented author. I highly recommend getting your hands on this stunning debut.

Wahala by Nikki May is published by Doubleday and is available to purchase here.

Review: The Happiness Factory by Jo McMillan (2022)

Blurb

Where the skin of the earth shudders into the foothills of the Shunhua mountains, in a clearing above the mist and fringed with frangipani, Mo Moore set up a factory which, to this day, makes happiness.

Actually, it makes sex aids. Her goods sell all around the globe, and her biggest buyer is a British high-street chain. The boxes say simply: Made in China. In fact, they come from the place where Mo made a family and that she still calls home, a place too small for any map – the tiny, teetering village of Pingdi.

China began where Mo’s father ended. It began with a letter addressed to the Night Duty Officer, Eden House Care Home, and said:

Dear Ms Moore…

Review

There is a special thrill in receiving a proof of a new book from indie publisher Bluemoose – they’ve never let me down yet. Huge thanks to Kevin for sending me a copy of The Happiness Factory in exchange for an honest review.

Jo McMillan’s novel is a gem; it’s clear from the premise that we’re in for a quirky ride as we follow Mo from night duty in a care home to making sex aids in a Chinese factory. But what surprised and delighted me most about this novel is that it isn’t just offbeat humour and sex-related puns – there is real heart to this story, both sadness and joy, and characters that leap off the page.

Mo herself is a wonderful creation: she’s not quite like anyone I’ve met in literature before. She’s not naive, and she possesses a self-awareness and a sense of being truly (dreaded word) self-actualised, but she also lets herself be led by more forceful characters such as Dr Long, and she has a kind of laid-back, lets-see-what-happens-here attitude that really charmed me. I loved the idea that in the village of Pingdu she meets her found family, and Mrs Su, the mayor, and Lulu all became precious to me, too, as I read.

Although there is a fanciful element to Mo upping sticks and buying a factory in an unknown land, this isn’t a whimsical, idealistic book. There is also a lot of insight into the Chinese regime, and the way the government controls so many aspects of people’s lives. It’s not done in a heavy-handed way, but it left me feeling like I’d had a glimpse behind the curtain. The sense of actual peril lurking just out of sight behind the slightly absurd scenarios that Mo finds herself in is really cleverly done.

Overall, this is a book that delivers more than it promises, that manages to explore multiple themes with a delicate touch. The writing dances from lyrical description to comic episodes to trauma-related flashbacks, flitting between modes and finding richness in its variety. It’s a fabulous experience, and I highly recommend it to readers looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

The Happiness Factory by Jo McMillan is published by Bluemoose Books and is available to purchase here.

Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day (2021)

Blurb

The exhilarating new novel from the bestselling author of The Party and How to Fail: a thrilling, stylish and psychologically astute story of jealousy, motherhood and power.

She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

Marisa may have only known Jake a few months, but she has never felt this certain about anyone. When he asks her to move in with him and they start trying for a baby, she knows she has finally found the steadfast love and support she has been looking for all her life.

But their relationship is tested when they take in a lodger, Kate, who has little regard for personal boundaries and seems to take an uncomfortable interest in Jake – as well as the baby they are hoping to have.

Why is Kate so obsessed with the couple? And, more worryingly, why doesn’t Jake share Marisa’s concern?

In her determination to find the answers, Marisa risks losing everything she holds dear…

Magpie is a tense, twisting, brilliantly written novel about mothers and children, envy and possession, and the dangers of getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

Review

I’m making a bit of a habit of devouring books in one sitting this month – I blame it on the fact that I keep picking up absolute bangers! Magpie is no exception – I stayed up till the early hours because I just had to keep reading.

It’s a tough book to review, because it’s so clever and twisty and it’s really best to go in without knowing too much about the plot. So I’ll keep this brief, and focus on what I CAN tell you. The writing is brilliant – sharp and immersive and tinged with a sense of menace throughout. It pulls you along, each storyline, past and present, equally gripping. It’s always tricky to go into flashbacks when the ‘real time’ plot is so absorbing, but Day is such a skilful storyteller that each carefully plotted section feels just as compelling as the last. And as the book progresses, the tension ramps up to almost unbearable levels – I was definitely holding my breath through certain passages.

I really enjoyed the way the book explores the different sides of each of the characters – and not just the main characters, but people like Jake’s mother, Annabelle – my sympathies towards her waxed and waned, and it felt very like getting to know someone in real life, the layers gradually being pulled back. Marisa is a brilliantly complex protagonist, and the exploration of her inner life is so well done. I definitely recommend Magpie to anyone looking for a pacy, intelligent read that takes nothing for granted and delves far deeper than you initially expect. An excellent book.

Magpie by Elizabeth Day is published by HarperCollins and is available to purchase here.

Review: This One Sky Day by Leone Ross (2021)

Blurb

Dawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho.

The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do:

A wedding feast to conjure and cook
An infidelity to investigate
A lost soul to set free

As the sun rises two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same. The sky is pink, and some wonder if it will ever be blue again.

Review

I knew I was going to love this book. I’m a sucker for magical realism, and the lush, strange, evocative descriptions of the archipelago of Popisho captured me immediately. My edition is also a thing of physical beauty, with a gorgeous cover and stunning sprayed edges – perfectly representing the treasure that lies within its pages.

The opening is powerful: Xavier’s wife, Nya, washes up on the beach dead but still speaking, an immediate taste of the almost mythic mode that the novel operates in. As we learn more about each inhabitant, and their magic, or ‘cors’ is revealed, the story gets richer and richer, a multi-coloured tapestry woven with dazzlingly bright threads. It is a literary feast of many different flavours, as unique and delicious as one of Xavier’s meals. The writing is both lyrical and visceral, with a raw, pumping heart that splashes blood and sex and death onto the page among the lighter moments. It is a sensual experience, imbued with flavours, scents, sights; a heady mixture that feels at times like being in a delirious dream.

For me, This One Sky Day combined elements of many of my favourite books: Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, The Famished Road by Ben Okri, and the luminous yet threat-tinged stories of Irenosen Okojie’s stunning collection, Nudibranch. I took my time with it, wanting to stay in Popisho as long as possible, and at the end, I was sad to leave it behind. I felt as if I’d been on a sweeping, epic adventure with the characters, one that would continue for them after I closed the book. I’m really looking forward to reading more by this author.

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross is published by Faber & Faber and is available to purchase here.

Review: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (2021)

Blurb

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift, her mother once said, not everybody gets.

So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe – as she has long believed – there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.

Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents (but without the help of her devoted, foul-mouthed sister Ingrid), Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix – or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself

Review

This book was all over Book Twitter last year, so I knew I had to get it. There’s always a bit of a worry when everyone loves a book that I’m going to be the weird one who doesn’t – fortunately that was most definitely NOT the case with Sorrow and Bliss. I started it at 9:30pm (that dangerous time when you finish one book and decide it’s not too late to start another!) and stayed up till nearly 2am, having devoured the whole thing (for me, a book hangover = the grogginess the next day after such foolishness when the kids bound in at 5:30am). Totally worth it – I loved every page.

I don’t think I have ever read a book which does so exactly what it says on the tin. The balance of tragedy and comedy in this novel is astounding: within a few sentences, I went from tears welling up in my eyes to laughter, and vice versa. It’s a devastatingly funny book – and Martha’s sister, Ingrid, queen of the one-liners, is one of my new all-time favourite characters. Although Martha’s relationship with her husband, Patrick, is ostensibly the centre of the book, for me, the sisters provided the emotional core. Through their different paths, Mason explores modern womanhood in a way that feels fresh and new.

As someone who has suffered with mental health issues of various different flavours, I was incredibly moved by Martha’s struggles, and I thought the way her diagnosis was handled, late on in the novel, was perfectly done. That feeling of seeing your past in a whole new light because of newfound knowledge about yourself is so powerful, and it’s captured beautifully in Sorrow and Bliss.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough – if you’re a fan of contemporary fiction that dares to be different, that evokes the whole range of emotions, you don’t want to miss this wonderful novel.

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason is published by W&N and is available to purchase here.

Review: Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (2021)

Blurb

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.

For fans of The GoldfinchAll the Light We Cannot See and The Girlsthis monumentally powerful epic weaves together the astonishing lives of a daredevil female aviator and the Hollywood rebel who will play her on screen.

From the days of giant passenger ships sliding past Arctic icebergs, to the daring pilots of WWII, to present-day Hollywood and its malcontents, at the core of this story is the indomitable Marian Graves and her twin brother Jamie who are twice abandoned by their parents. Marian and Jamie grow up roaming Montana forests, more comfortable with landscape than with people.

When a pair of aerobats take their exhilarating show to a nearby airfield, Marian’s life is changed forever. Watching them roll, dive, and loop in their mini plane, she can think of nothing else but flying. As she grows into a woman, she sacrifices everything to command the breathtaking sense of freedom, of utter control over her own fate, that she feels when in the air. She becomes one of the most fearless pilots of her time, and in 1949 she sets out to do what no one has done before: fly the Great Circle around the earth, north to south around the poles. Shortly before completing the journey, her plane disappears, lost to history.

In 2015, Hadley Baxter, former child star and poster girl of the blockbuster Archangel franchise, has just been fired for cheating on her on-screen boyfriend. Struggling to escape the fury of the fans, she grasps at an offer for the comeback role of a lifetime: to play the famed female pilot Marian Graves in a biopic. From the first pages of the script, she feels an instant connection with Marian, a woman who refused to be bound by gravity or any of the other strictures of her time. After filming is complete, her bond grows stronger as she begins to question whether the Great Marian Graves really did die at all.

Maggie Shipstead is the author of the bestselling and prize-winning debut novel Seating Arrangements. With Great Circle, she cements her place among a famed list of American Literary Stars as one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

Review

Many thanks to the publishers for sending me a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’d seen several awesome people on Book Twitter raving about this novel, so I had a feeling I was in for a treat with Great Circle. I have to admit, it took me a while to pick it up, mostly because I got very behind with my reading last year and I was slightly intimidated by its size. I wish I hadn’t waited – this book is an utter triumph. It has the sweeping feel of an epic, but is also tightly focused on understanding the characters, digging beneath the surface. It’s totally immersive, and, appropriately for a novel with a plot thread about film-making, very cinematic. Reading it feels akin to following a camera swooping and soaring, alongside Marian in her plane, and then zooming in for the smaller, character-driven moments.

There is so much going on in this book, which spans continents and a century, but the material is handed so elegantly that it is never overwhelming and always a joy to read. I was surprised to find that I was just as intrigued by the modern sections featuring Hadley and her attempts to bring Marian to life on the screen as I was by the fascinating life of Marian herself. A lot of this is due to the clever interweaving of the two timelines, so that as we gradually unravel the mystery surrounding Marian’s disappearance, Hadley is also moving towards a new understanding both of the character she is playing and of herself. There is also a fantastic cast of characters in each storyline – everyone is vividly portrayed and comes to life as you read – from Caleb, whom I fell a bit in love with, to the complicated monstrosity of Marian’s husband, to the hilarious Sir Hugo – these are characters who stay with you.

Great Circle dazzles with its range, its dexterity, its beautiful language and heart-breaking moments. It is the sort of book that makes you sad to reach the final pages, makes you wish you could experience it all again for the first time. It covers such a broad spectrum of emotion, and does so with a delicate touch that gently guides you through its intricacies, so that reading it is pure pleasure. Anyone who hasn’t read this yet is in for a wonderful ride, I promise.

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead is published by Transworld and is available to purchase here.

Review: I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins (2022)

Blurb

A darkly funny, soul-rending novel of love in an epoch of collapse-one woman’s furious revisiting of family, marriage, work, sex, and motherhood.

Since my baby was born, I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things. a) As much as I ever did. b) Not quite as much now. c) Not so much now. d) Not at all.

Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past.

Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets her ghosts at every turn: the first love whose self-destruction still haunts her; her father, a member of the most famous cult in American history; her mother, whose native spark gutters with every passing year. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right, but what exactly is her way forward? Alone in the wilderness, at last she begins to make herself at home in the world.

Bold, tender, and often hilarious, I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness reaffirms Watkins as one of the single writers of our time.

Review

Thank you so much to Ana at Quercus for sending me a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This novel had me at the title, and the cover. What’s inside does not disappoint: it is dark, ferocious, absolutely unflinching. There is a strong autofiction vibe, with the protagonist being a writer called Claire Watkins, and autobiographical detail from her life (yes, her father really was a member of the Manson Family) woven into the text. I’ve struggled with autofiction in the past, only because of my nosy nature and my desire to know which bits are true, but I was cured by Michael Chabon’s Moonglow (a novel I loved), which made me realise that trying to separate out the fact from the fiction is kind of missing the point. And isn’t ‘truth’ all relative, anyway? Or something like that.

The central plot point of this novel is deliberately shocking: a woman walks out on her husband and young baby, choosing instead the seeming hedonism of drugs, affairs, rootlessness. It is confronting and defiant, not least in the way that the narrator struggles to feel bad about her choice. She wishes she could be sorry, but she’s not sure she is. For those of us who live loaded with Mum guilt over the smallest parental failings, this borders on revelationary – I thought I would judge her decision, but as the book progresses, I think my feelings tipped more into a secret envy. I could never do what Claire does in this story, but her absolute commitment to following her own path has a certain courage to it – at the very least, it smashes through the patriarchal norms of ‘motherhood’ and what is expected of women once we bear children. It’s fascinating.

The descriptions of the desert and of the various childhood homes that the narrator lives in growing up are wonderfully evocative, and the sections describing her father’s connection to the Manson Family are morbidly interesting. There are also letters written by her mother as a girl – I have to say, I couldn’t quite work out where these fitted in, and their repetitive tone didn’t draw me in as much as the other facets of this remarkable book. However, when it came to Claire’s story, I was all in. Watkins writes with a bare, fierce honesty, almost flaying in its intensity, and I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness is an incredibly powerful novel.

Sparks fly in this book, from passionate sexual encounters to ghosts from the past slamming into the present, to the sheer taboo-busting ferocity of Claire’s search for identity. It’s explosive, original, sometimes tough to read, drilling down right to the core of what it means to exist in this world, at this time. I was worried I wouldn’t find the ending satisfying, but it worked really well for me. I think this book is really important, shining a light on deep, dark, hidden truths, soul-baring in a pure and brave way. If you are a reader who wants their characters to be likeable and relatable, perhaps steer clear, but if you like bold, shattering fiction that makes the world anew, I highly recommend I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness.

I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins is published by riverrun on 20th January 2022 and is available to pre-order here.

2021 Reading: The Big List!

  1. A Sparrow Alone by Mim Eichmann
  2. Lost Girls by Ellen Birkett Morris
  3. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
  4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  5. Cockfight by María Fernanda Ampuero translated by Frances Riddle
  6. The Care of Strangers by Ellen Michaelson
  7. The Clearing by Samantha Clark
  8. The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston
  9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  10. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
  11. Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez translated by Christina MacSweeney
  12. Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
  13. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  14. Kololo Hill by Neema Shah
  15. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  16. The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson
  17. The Strays of Paris by Jane Smiley
  18. Nightshift by Kiare Ladner
  19. The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
  20. Old Bones by Helen Kitson
  21. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  22. Fortune’s Hand by R.N. Morris
  23. The Push by Ashley Audrain
  24. Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
  25. Backstories by Simon Van der Velde
  26. Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder
  27. From My Balcony to Yours by Nino Gugunishvili
  28. Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel
  29. The Smash-Up by Ali Benjamin
  30. Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
  31. My Brother the Messiah by Martin Vopenka translated by Anna Gustova Bryson
  32. What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson
  33. Empower Your Kids by Judy Bartkowiak
  34. Another Life by Jodie Chapman
  35. The Dig Street Festival by Chris Walsh
  36. The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
  37. Sybelia Drive by Karin Cecile Davidson
  38. Chauvo-Feminism by Sam Mills
  39. Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead
  40. Outsiders edited by Alice Slater
  41. Boys Don’t Cry by Fíona Scarlett
  42. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
  43. Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston
  44. Charity by Madeline Dewhurst
  45. Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden
  46. Fridge by Emma Zadow
  47. Yes Yes More More by Anna Wood
  48. The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  49. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary by S.J. Norbury
  50. 100neHundred by Laura Besley
  51. Catch The Rabbit by Lana Bastasic
  52. Still Life by Sarah Winman
  53. The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  54. The Big Four by Agatha Christie
  55. The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  56. Gold Fury by Kieren Westwood
  57. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  58. Assembly by Natasha Brown
  59. The Mesmerist’s Daughter by Heidi James
  60. Wounding by Heidi James
  61. The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  62. So The Doves by Heidi James
  63. Grown Ups by Marie Aubert translated by Rosie Hedger
  64. Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
  65. Fallen by Mel O’Doherty
  66. My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes
  67. The Sound Mirror by Heidi James
  68. Line by Niall Bourke
  69. The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
  70. Colouring In by Nigel Stewart
  71. A Hundred Million Years and a Day by Jean Baptiste Andrea translated by Sam Taylor
  72. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
  73. Pah by Orla Owen
  74. Elena Knows by Claudia Pineiro translated by Frances Riddle
  75. Fault Lines by Emily Itami
  76. Falling Is Like Flying by Manon Uphoff translated by Sam Garrett
  77. Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce
  78. Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce
  79. Fireborn by Aisling Fowler
  80. Cecily by Annie Garthwaite
  81. The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  82. Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks
  83. The Hierarchies by Ros Anderson
  84. This Good Book by Iain Hood
  85. She Came to Stay by Eleni Kyriacou
  86. The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  87. Black Coffee by Agatha Christie
  88. Iron Annie by Luke Cassidy
  89. The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman
  90. Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun translated by Janet Hong
  91. 29 Locks by Nicola Garrard
  92. An Island by Karen Jennings
  93. The Whistling by Rebecca Netley
  94. Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi
  95. The Book of Uriel by Elyse Hoffman
  96. On The Edge by Jane Jesmond
  97. You: From Pissed to Publication by Drew Gummerson
  98. More Than Mistletoe by The Christmas Collective
  99. Human Terrain by Emily Bullock
  100. Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook
  101. Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  102. Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  103. Casting Off by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  104. All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  105. Salt Lick by Lulu Allison
  106. The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
  107. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
  108. I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomons