The 20 books we can’t wait to read (part 2)
So we’re picking up where we left off with Hungerford Bookshop owner Emma Milne-White’s 20 ‘can’t wait to read’ books of the year. This is Part 2 of her list with her final choices from 11 to 20. In case you missed it, Part 1 was published last week. So, kick back and enjoy (I’m afraid I can’t transport you to a sun lounger in the South of France just yet) and don’t forget to bookmark the list and share it with your book club – they’ll love you for it!
11. The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremaine
Set in Switzerland Rose Tremain’s beautifully orchestrated novel explores the big themes of betrayal and the struggle for happiness, and above all, the passionate love of a childhood friendship as it is tested over a lifetime.
Chatto & Windus, publication date 19 May, £16.99
12. The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver
The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin centres on three generations of The Mandible family as a fiscal crisis hits a near-future America. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon, from the pen of perhaps the most consistently perceptive and topical author of our times.
HarperCollins, publication date 5 May, £16.99
13. Song of the Skylark by Erica James
New from the bestselling author of The Dandelion Years and Summer at the Lake. Lizzie has lways had an unfortunate knack of attracting bad luck, but this time she’s hit the jackpot. Losing her heart to her boss leads to her losing her job, and with no money in the bank, Lizzie finds herself forced to move back home with her parents. When she reluctantly takes another job, she meets Mrs Dallimore, a seemingly ordinary elderly woman with an astonishing past.
Orion, HB publication date 10 March, PB 30 June, £7.99
14. The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies
Expect a gripping tale from the number one bestselling author of The Tea Planter’s Wife. This second book is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry and love against the odds, enchantingly set in colonial era Vietnam.
Viking, publication date 25 Feb, £12.99
15. The Button Box: Lifting the Lid on Women’s Lives by Lynn Knight
The Button Box traces the story of women at home and in work from pre-First World War domesticity, through the first clerical girls in silk blouses, to the delights of beading and glamour in the thirties to short skirts and sexual liberation in the sixties. I remember my Mother having a tin of buttons, and I love the way the author uses this as a way of exploring the lives of women. A beautiful book, and the perfect gift.
Chatto & Windus, out now, £15.99
16. The Death of an Owl by Paul and Piers Torday
I have read all of Paul Torday’s novels – they are witty and full of pathos. He’s best known for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, but I also loved The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers. Unfortunately he died before he finished this book, but his son, Piers Torday (who writes fantastic childen’s books) has finished this off. I can’t wait to read it.
W&N, publication date 14 April, £14.99
17. The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale
The author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher returns with another superbly told true crime account of society shocking murder in the late Victorian Era. Summerscale examines the remarkable man that Robert, who killed his mother when he was 13, grew-up to be after a spell in the surprisingly compassionate surroundings of Broadmoor.
Bloomsbury, publication date 5 May, £16.99
18. The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor
This Berkshire author made her name with her wonderful book What Milo Saw (perfect for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time). Her new novel explores what happens when a wife and mother returns to her house after leaving. This is a powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love. The author will be discussing her book as part of a pop-up book group evening at The Hungerford Bookshop on 12 July.
Sphere, HB out now, PB release 14 July, £7.99
19. Six Facets of Light by Ann Wroe
A wonderful series of lyrical and luminous meditations on the mysteries of light. Set mostly on the Downs and the coastline of East Sussex they interweave her own walker’s experience of light in nature, with the observations of a dozen writers and painters including Turner and Ravilious.
Vintage, publication date 7 April, £25
20. Amber’s Donkey: The heart-Warming Tale of How a Donkey and a Little Girl Healed the Scars of Each Other’s Troubled Pasts by Julian & Tracey Austwick, and Ruth Kelly
When Amber and her twin sister Hope were born 26 weeks premature, it was Amber who was separated from her family and rushed into theatre for an emergency tracheostomy. Her parents were given the devastating news that she had cerebral palsy and would be unlikely to walk or talk. Then Amber met Shocks at the Donkey Sanctuary and their lives were changed for good. This is their touching story of recovery through friendship, written by West Berkshire author Ruth Kelly.
Ebury Press, out now, £12.99