Christmas Book Recommendations 2021!

Whether you're trying to work out how it's the most wonderful time of the year again, or you've been sorting gifts since August, we've got a stocking-bursting selection of 2021 Christmas Book Recommendations that are perfect for the bookaholics in your life (even if that's you!).

These dark November and December days wouldn’t be the same without an uplifting festive pick me up and we haven’t missed out on including some brilliant titles that will fill you with warmth and the feelings of Christmas. 

There's been plenty of topical books released, for readers who want to reflect on what a year we've had! For any non-fiction fans and bookworms who love learning about people we have some brilliant history books, memoirs and non-fiction titles to browse. And for those who want to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ at Christmas, a cookbook is a great gift for any cooking aficionado and will be treasured for life.

Our Christmas Book Recommendations 2021 are filled with gifts that can be picked up and enjoyed again and again. We’ve also included some of the brilliant books we’ve read throughout the year, in case you want to take the time to finally enjoy them yourself, or wrap one up for a friend. You can also check out our Star Books section to see the creme de la creme of our recommendations and our Books of the Year, or why not take a look at our many Collections if you're looking for something more specific?

Also, check out ‘Our Top Children's Christmas Book Recommendations for 2021’ over on LoveReading4Kids.co.uk for Christmas Book Recommendations for the little book worms in your life. 

So while you're making your list (and checking it twice), scroll through our Christmas Book Recommendations 2021 to ensure you have the best presents for the bookworms in your life and scope out a treat for yourself too, why not? It’s Christmas!

The Perfect Christmas Gift

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Author: Katie Ginger Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/11/2021

From betrayal and a broken heart, to heart-warming blossoming romance (with jingling bells on), Katie Ginger’s The Perfect Christmas Gift might just be the perfect self-gift for fans of light-hearted rom-coms. To take the lyrics of the Neighbours theme tune to the next level, this feel-good festive story reveals that neighbours can become a whole lot more than just “good friends”. Primary school teacher Bella is a huge fan of the festive season - “the excitement of the end-of-term play, posting Christmas cards into the little post box made out of cardboard in the corner of the classroom, making decorations during wet play.” Beyond the school gates, Bella adores the festive ambience of her rural Kent village, and can’t believe her good fortune to have a home in such an idyllic spot, with a devoted boyfriend at her side: “How did she get so lucky?” she muses. As the saying goes, pride (even a small dose) often comes before a fall, and Bella is in for a pretty big fall when said devoted boyfriend announces he’s leaving her for another woman. As a result, broken-hearted Bella throws herself into village life, coming up with the idea of a community Christmas giving tree, with cute single dad Nick on hand to help. While the path of Bella and Nick’s budding romance doesn’t exactly run smooth, fans of feel-good fiction are in for a readable (and sometimes rocky) ride that’s big on romance and festive fizz.

A Special Cornish Christmas

A Special Cornish Christmas

Author: Phillipa Ashley Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/11/2021

If you’re looking for some festive sparkle, teasing romance, and a gorgeous setting then hello, you can stop right here. A fortune teller tells three friends they will meet the love of their life by Christmas, each scoffs and moves on while the prediction lingers in their minds. While I adore a beautifully written romance at any time of the year, there is something really special about cosying up with one at Christmas. Phillipa Ashley takes the beauty of Cornwall, the energy of a rock and roll dance group, and the atmosphere of a boat yard cafe then creates a scrumptious love story. The characters feel entirely real and pop with vitality, friendship also plays an important role. The plot again has that authentic edge, where you remain a firm part of the tale as it sings along. A Special Cornish Christmas is a truly lovely treat and I’ve chosen it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month for December.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop

Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop

Author: Rebecca Raisin Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Hot on the glittery heels of Aria's Travelling Book Shop and Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop, Rebecca Raisin’s Flora's Travelling Christmas Shop is a story of finding unexpected love and career satisfaction in unexpected places after rejection. Like its protagonist, this spirited story wears its warm heart on its sparkly (Christmas jumper) sleeve.  After being dumped by her latest love and fired from her dream job at Deck the Halls Christmas emporium, festive Flora resolves to take matters into her own hands: “Instead of berating myself for every misstep, I could start over knowing that a new beginning might just be the answer if only I’m brave enough to take that leap, just like they do in the movies”. Flora takes said leap by heading to Lapland in a campervan Christmas shop, set on realising her movie-magic dreams. Of course, the snow-laden path to success rarely runs smooth, not least when contending with feeling a flurry of love for a man who professes to hate Christmas. Whirling with comic campervan capers, soul-searching under the snow and stars, and a fair few mistletoe kisses, this feel-good festive feast is a sure-fire seasonal winner for fans of Jenny Colgan, Holly Martin and Jessica Redland.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Christmas Bookshop

The Christmas Bookshop

Author: Jenny Colgan Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A simply joyous and magical relationship story to brighten up the darkest of times. Carmen’s sister Sofia comes to her somewhat reluctant rescue when Carmen is made redundant. The Christmas Bookshop goes to the top of my favourite books by Jenny Colgan, she is one of the most consistently fabulous romance writers out there, and if I need a boost I know just where to head. Yes there’s romance, you’ll also find intruiging family relationships and inviting new friendships. When we meet Carmen she’s not at her best, she’s definitely not perfect (who is!), and because she’s multi-dimensional it adds extra layers to this Christmas tale. I particularly loved the cast of characters, even the smallest part has depth, and then of course there is the Bookshop, which is divinely intriguing and welcoming. Edinburgh becomes a winter wonderland, with snow, beautifully decorated shops, and even if you’ve never been, the descriptions ensure a spellbinding sparkle. With a plot that weaves and twists its magical course with charm, The Christmas Bookshop is a truly lovely festive romance, and we’ve added it to our Star Book collection.

Star Books
Christmas at Lobster Bay

Christmas at Lobster Bay

Author: Annie Robertson Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/11/2021

A nourishing and engaging Christmas relationship story with friendship at its heart. This is the sequel to The Guesthouse at Lobster Bay, Emma is now in a relationship and looking for a challenge, however a demanding build project just before Christmas might be a step too far. While Emma is the lead, this almost tips into an ensemble piece with a number of interesting smaller stories sitting within the main plot. I particularly adored Peggy, the 81 year old cook at The Guesthouse, her character adds a lovely edge. And then of course there are the dogs, I always love the addition of man’s best friend! Speaking of friends, as Emma stumbles into trouble, the importance of friendships sits as a central theme within this story. While the overall tone is happy and bright, Annie Robertson has several thought-provoking subjects awaiting your perusal. If you’re looking for a warming, reassuring wrap-you-up-in-a-festive-hug read, then I’d recommend adding Christmas at Lobster Bay to your list.

eBooks of the Month
The Twelve Wishes of Christmas

The Twelve Wishes of Christmas

Author: Ruby Basu Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/11/2021

Fireworks of both the fractious and romantic kind flare and spark through Ruby Basu’s The Twelve Wishes of Christmas, a sure-fire treat for fans of Heidi Swain and Sarah Morgan. Feeling a telling mix of “excitement and slight sense of unease… ever since she found out she’d be spending Christmas in the quintessential small US town of Pineford”, 30-year-old Sharmila has been given a somewhat unusual gift by her late friend Thomas. First up, a free trip to spend the festive season in the picturesque place he grew up in. Secondly, as she only discovers later, the chance to inherit Thomas’ Holly House estate, should she manage to complete the list of festive tasks he’s set her. Enter Zach, Thomas’ nephew, who knows about the inheritance long before Sharmila does, and is doggedly determined to stop it from happening: “Trust me on this, Lucas. She’s an opportunist. She doesn’t know about the inheritance yet, but maybe she was disappointed all Thomas left her was this all expenses-paid trip. I bet she was expecting something more for her efforts”. Then, little by little, as Pineford glows with snow and sparkling lights, so Sharmila and Zach feel the glow of something neither of them were expecting.

Christmas at the Island Hotel

Christmas at the Island Hotel

Author: Jenny Colgan Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/11/2021

A wonderfully merry and bright Christmas romance with oodles of heart-warming love, in the many different forms love takes, on offer. A host of new kitchen staff, including a moody chef, petulant kitchen assistant, and badly behaved dog, throw the opening of a new hotel into complete disarray. I adore the Mure series by Jenny Colgan, it’s just so welcoming. Yes, you could read this as a standalone, but do go back and start with The Summer Seaside Kitchen if this is your first visit. Oh how I wish the fictional island of Mure in Scotland was real, it would go straight on my list of places to visit. While the series focuses on the MacKenzie’s, the wider population of the island play an important role. One of the younger MacKenzie’s is a particular favourite of mine, five year old Agot rules the roost at home, school, and with her friends. This is a series that feels inclusive, from the characters to the sub plots, you’ll find life in all its glory on offer here. Christmas at the Island Hotel is another hug-filled engaging read to add to an already gorgeous series.

Books of the Month
The Christmas Escape

The Christmas Escape

Author: Sarah Morgan Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Sarah Morgan’s trademark lightness of touch and romantic warmth are on full Christmas window display in this Lapland-set story of female friendship, and letting down your guard to find (or reaffirm) love in all its forms. The Christmas Escape features a literal escape through a family and friends fleeing to Lapland for Christmas, but it’s metaphoric too, in that most of the characters have been hiding truths about themselves. This novel tells the story of their respective journeys to happiness through honesty in a romantic snowy setting backlit by the northern lights. Christy has her heart set on enjoying the perfect Christmas in Lapland with her husband Seb, five-year-old daughter Holly, and best friend Alix. It’s a big emotional trip for her too, for they’ll be staying with her estranged aunt, and she has a whole lot of questions about why her aunt was cast from the family bosom all those years ago. But as the big trip (and big day) looms ever-closer, Christy has big concerns about her marriage, and things aren’t quite right between her and Alix either. When Christy delays her flight to try to get to the source of her and Seb’s problems, Alix accompanies Holly to Lapland with her one-time lover and now-time nemesis, ruggedly handsome Arctic explorer and academic Zac. As the story stomps on through the snowy Lapland landscape, Zac becomes a mouthpiece for life advice: “There is an element of risk involved in everything worth having”, soon reiterated by “You’re only scared of the things that are important. The things that really matter”.  Meanwhile, Seb brings Christy to self-realisation as she tries to repair her relationship with Alix. With lots of recaps of characters’ quandaries and fears in the manner of TV shows (almost like “previously on The Christmas Escape…” montages), the characters are 100% transparent to the reader, even when they’re hiding the truth from each other, which also makes it something of a scream-at-the-TV kind of read - “tell the truth! Admit you fancy him! Admit you were wrong!”, and so on, until things come together in a satisfying seasonal hug.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Silent Stars Go By

The Silent Stars Go By

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2020

The Silent Stars Go By is a riveting read-in-one-sitting experience driven by compelling characters who leap off the page, not least the young woman at its heart, an unmarried secretarial student who’s forced to give up her baby during WWI. The novel is also underpinned by a superb sense of social history, with evocative details of post-war village life nestling within the bigger story, and - as might be expected of the author of Things a Bright Girl Can Do - it’s threaded with feminist themes.   It’s 1919, Christmas is on the horizon and two years have passed since nineteen-year-old Margot was forced to give up her baby for her parents to raise as their own. She was only fifteen when she and Harry fell madly in love ahead of him being called up. The magic of their time together is evoked in all its tingling passion, contrasting with Margot’s present-day torments. It hurts when little James calls her mother “Mummy”, and she doesn’t know how she can continue to keep James a secret from Harry, who’s returned to the village after recuperating on the Isle of Wight.   The flashbacks to Margot’s time on the maternity ward are particularly poignant and, of course, the reason she has to endure this unbearable situation is due to the fact that she lives in a world in which “the girl is the one whose honour is defiled or whatever rot they spout” whereas “the boy is just being a boy”. Coupled with that wider context, Margot’s vicar father is a man who “forgave drunks and tramps and fallen women and the men who tried to steal the lead from the church roof. But he couldn’t forgive her.”    Realising that “things couldn’t go on like this,” Margot decides to confront her fears amidst the rare glamour of a ball on New Year’s Eve.

This Time Next Year

This Time Next Year

Author: Sophie Cousens Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/10/2020

The perfect pick-me-up, this book delivers plenty of romance, smiles, and most importantly enfolds you in a lovely satisfying storyline too. Minnie would rather spend her birthday on New Years Day hiding under her duvet, as far as she’s concerned the last and first day of the year is jinxed. Then she meets Quinn who shares her birthday but otherwise appears to waltz through life, and the attraction is undeniable. Sophie Cousens has the most lovely refreshing style, a lightness of touch and sparkling wit walks hand in hand with considerate contemplation and emotion. Travelling back to the past ensured we saw what had affected, shaped and changed these two characters. I loved the ping-pong of little morsels of information, popping up to build a picture that we had access to, but Abbie and Quinn remained unaware of. Missed chances is the main theme here, but there is so much more on offer too, with access to Quinn ensuring this wasn’t just a one way Minnie street. The supporting characters are a lively bunch, with a mixture of personalities and issues keeping things interesting. Romantic, yes most definitely, This Time Next Year is also an amusing, thoughtful, and friendly read too.

Books of the Month
Rag-and-Bone Christmas

Rag-and-Bone Christmas

Author: Dilly Court Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/10/2020

With enough family drama and romance to please the most fervid romantic saga novel fan. This would also make a perfect gift as it starts and finishes at Christmas, with all the turmoil and excitement that the year between brings. As Sally Suggs struggles to continue the family rag-and-bone round in 1865, help comes from unexpected quarters. Sally is feisty, compassionate, and thoughtful, with two men quite obviously interested in her, she has a number of difficult decisions to make. Author Dilly Court has been writing novels for 15 years, and this is her 40th novel. She skilfully creates a story that gathers interesting characters, intrigue, and historical atmosphere to its heart. Rag-and-Bone Christmas is a warm-hearted, page-turning, festive feast of a novel. To find out more about Dilly Court, visit our LoveReadingLoves Channel - Fall in Love with Dilly Court 

Audiobooks of the Month
The Christmas Wedding

The Christmas Wedding

Author: Dilly Court Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/10/2019

Holding the letter in trembling hands, Daisy's future crumbled before her - the words engraved on her heart forever. The village of Little Creek, the long winter of 1867 The first flakes of snow are falling when Daisy Marshall, secretly engaged to her master's son, finds herself jilted at the altar. Heartbroken, Daisy flees to the small village of Little Creek, nestled on the coast of Essex. There she is warmly welcomed - but the village is poverty-stricken, suffering under a cruel Lord of the manor. And when cholera hits, the villagers are truly in dire straits. Determined to help, Daisy makes new friends in earnest doctor Nicholas and dashing smuggler Jay - but also dangerous new enemies, who threaten to destroy everything she's built. Can Daisy save the village and find happiness in time for Christmas?

Wrapped Up In You

Wrapped Up In You

Author: Carole Matthews Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/10/2019

Full to overflowing with love and laughter, this is a simply wonderful Christmas treat. Janie Johnson comes back from safari having fallen in love with with her tour guide, everyone warns her against following her heart, will she listen? Originally released in 2011, and shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2012, this is the perfect time to reissue this wonderfully uplifting story. It now includes a follow-up short story, and an extract from Carole’s new novel. Carole Matthews has combined the African Maasai Mara with Christmas, snow, and a bad-tempered cat which ensures this festive offering is just that little bit different. I knew I was in safe hands and just settled down for a lovely read. I smiled, chuckled, and felt that wonderful warm glow that comes from a double-serving of romance and the most wonderful time of the year. Wrapped Up In You, with its huggable characters and storyline, is a smile in a book, how lovely! Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Catt Out of the Bag

Catt Out of the Bag

Author: Clifford Witting Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/10/2020

This reissue of a classic mystery originally published in 1939 sparkles with wonderfully wry humour and the energy of the time. John Rutherford finds himself puzzling the mysterious disappearance of a man from an evening of carol singing. The novel begins with: “A rather curious thing happened during the evening of Sunday, the 21st of December”. John narrates, and within a few paragraphs had me chuckling in appreciation. As John investigates it becomes clear that the darkest of deeds may have been committed, and he reports the case to Inspector Charlton. Clifford Witting wrote 16 novels between 1937 and 1964, Catt Out of the Bag is the fourth involving Inspector Harry Charlton, yet you can quite happily read this as a standalone. I found myself completely wrapped up in the era, and thoroughly enjoyed the lively wit. Sitting as it does within the ‘Golden Age’ of mystery writing Catt Out of the Bag really is a perfect Christmas Mystery.  

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Christmas Stories

Christmas Stories

Author: George Mackay Brown Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/10/2020

Thirty beautiful short stories written for Christmas sit within the pages of this book. George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) from Orkney, wrote these tales during the 1970’s and 80’s, and yet they somehow sit outside of time. As William S. Peterson says in the introduction: “Some of them are set in the ancient or medieval world; others seem to be taking place in the early twentieth century. Always, however, he insists upon collapsing the dissecting between the present and a shadowy past…”. Sometimes Christmas is obvious, while at others there is just a whisper as they sit within the Advent season, but these stories hold tradition, myth, childhood, family, and what it is to be human during this time of year. The wood and lino cuts are an additional treat. A story that is a particular favourite of mine is Dialogue at the Year’s End which sent a shiver of goosebumps cascading down my arms with the kiss of a fairytale, and brought a tear to my eye. Christmas Stories is the most lovely festive treasure, and would make a lovely stocking filler as it brings alive the human spirit and joy of Christmas. 

Books of the Month
The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas

The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas

Author: Syd Moore Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/09/2019

A perfect stocking filler for anyone who likes a little spooky darkness to pay a visit at Christmas time. Twelve short stories are set in and around, or somehow connected to the Essex Witch Museum. If you haven’t yet explored the series, don’t worry, you can most certainly enter here. Can I just say that the cover is absolutely delightful, skulls and snowflakes sit perfectly alongside each other, as if they were always meant to be. Some of the stories tiptoe around Christmas, others stomp into it, all verge on the different though, and all have a certain chill factor. Syd Moore has a wonderfully light touch, humour sits alongside the macabre, and I was never quite sure what was going to come next. Can I just say that Doreen and her demonic Hoover was a particular favourite of mine! The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas really is a fabulous little book, full of the weird and wonderful I adored it! 

Books of the Month
Christmas at the Beach Hut

Christmas at the Beach Hut

Author: Veronica Henry Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/11/2018

This gorgeous festive book sweeps you up in a great big squishy loving hug. A glorious beach hut acts as a haven for Lizzy after she runs away from the stress of Christmas. Will her family realise what they are missing without her there to cater to their every need, and can Lizzy fall back in love with Christmas? I simply adore Veronica Henry’s writing, I smile as I’m reading, and she has the wonderful ability to make feelings, moods and issues relatable. From little tots, charming dogs, and tricky teens, through to a despicable bully, weary mum, and lonely grandmother, the characters fill the pages with a vibrant energy. There is a warmth to the writing that just settled over me in a lovely affectionate embrace. Christmas at the Beach Hut is a book you can curl up with, relax into, and really enjoy, and it is also perfect for anyone who adores Christmas in all its wonderful slightly mad glory.  Featured in the LoveReading Christmas Gift Guide. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Books of the Month
The Cornish Cream Tea Christmas

The Cornish Cream Tea Christmas

Author: Cressida McLaughlin Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/11/2020

Discover the most romantic of Christmas treats in this lovely relationship and friendship story. Eco consultants Hannah and Noah spend the run-up to Christmas working at a beautiful hotel in Cornwall. When a storm cuts the village off, they join the community, enjoy scrumptious food, and find themselves on a ghost hunt. If you’ve already read the other books in the Cornish Cream Tea series then you’ll meet some very familiar faces. If this is all new to you though, you can quite happily start here (and then catch up on the other stories). Fresh and modern, yet told with a gentle warmth, I found myself sinking into this delightful tale. Each of the four parts in this novel almost make a story in their own right, when read together they form a will-they won’t-they huggable romance. Cressida McLaughlin writes with genuine affection for this setting and group of characters. From mischievous dogs to runaway Christmas puddings, there is a smile to be found within the pages. The Cornish Cream Tea Christmas is an enchanting addition to this series, and it simply glows with festive spirit.

eBooks of the Month
Christmas Shopaholic

Christmas Shopaholic

Author: Sophie Kinsella Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/09/2020

Celebrate Christmas with the ultimate Shopaholic! The brilliant laugh-out-loud festive novel from the Number One bestselling author. Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It's always the same - Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers. And now it's even easier with online bargain-shopping sites - if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted! But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky's parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she'll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong? With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper - surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . . Will chaos ensue, or will Becky manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas?

Audiobooks of the Month
Christmas for Beginners

Christmas for Beginners

Author: Carole Matthews Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/10/2021

The BRAND NEW Christmas read from the bestselling author The gloriously festive sequel to readers' favourite and Sunday Times bestselling novel Happiness for Beginners SPEND THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR AT HOPE FARM . . . Christmas is fast approaching at the new Hope Farm. Owner Molly Baker has been convinced to organise an open day to raise some much-needed funds ahead of the New Year, but the nativity tableau is proving challenging. With anti-social sheep, awkward alpacas and a seriously sequined Santa Claus to assemble, Molly is feeling overwhelmed, and in desperate need of some Christmas spirit . . . Despite the chaos of the farm getting in the way of her event planning, Molly is looking forward to spending the holidays with Shelby and Lucas, hopeful that a happy family Christmas is exactly what they need to draw them all together. But while she is busy making plans on the farm, Shelby, it seems, has ideas of his own. As the nativity draws near, the team are working hard to pull off a spectacular festive fete - and make sure the animals and humans remain on their best behaviour. Will this Christmas be merry and bright, or is there more than one surprise in store for Hope Farm?

eBooks of the Month
A Large Measure of Snow

A Large Measure of Snow

Author: Denzil Meyrick Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2020

A compelling, adventurous, and somewhat quirky tale of the sea. When a small Scottish town is cut off by heavy snow in 1967, the skipper of the Girl Maggie and others in the fishing fleet set sail for supplies. Forming a ‘tale from Kinloch’ you actually don’t need to have read the DCI Daley Series to enjoy this novella. It is set years before DCI Daley enters town, and features Hamish (one of my favourite characters from the series), though this is before he is the fully formed Hamish of today! If you already know and love the series then this will be a must-read for you. You’ll recognise names and places but meet a whole new crowd of residents. As usual Denzil Meyrick paints a vividly vibrant picture that you can step straight into. There are some mystical touches of otherworldliness to be discovered along the way that really appealed to me, as did Sandy and the lobster! Amusing and entertaining, A Large Measure of Snow would make a perfect stocking filler for all the Denzil Meyrick fans out there.

The Christmas Rose

The Christmas Rose

Author: Dilly Court Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2018

The third book in the stunning `River Maid' series from Sunday Times bestseller, Dilly Court! Standing on London's Victoria docks with the wind biting through her shawl, Rose Munday realises she's been abandoned by her sweetheart. She had risked everything to get to London but, stumbling through the peasoup fog, she has nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. Scared and alone, Rose steps straight into danger, only to be rescued by two women with even less to their names - a woman of the night and her young sidekick, Sparrow. With only a cluster of love letters to her name and all hope of her sweetheart's return fading, Rose finds herself forging a new life with her unlikely companions. But when a good deed turns sour, a dangerous enemy threatens to ruin them all. Will Rose be able to save her new friends and her future? If she can, a Christmas gift awaits that will change her life forever...

The Mistletoe Seller

The Mistletoe Seller

Author: Dilly Court Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/10/2017

The heartwarming historical novel from Sunday Times bestseller, Dilly Court It's Christmas Eve. Flurries of snow fall on the cobbled streets of Whitechapel and an abandoned baby, swaddled in a blanket, is found on a doorstep in Angel Lane . . . Named after the street on which she was found, Angel Winter was blessed to be taken from the harsh streets into a loving home. But fate deals a cruel blow and she's torn from the only family she has ever known, and thrown onto the cobbles of Covent Garden to fend for herself. With winter closing in, Angel scratches a living selling mistletoe to the City gentlemen who pass through the market, hoping they will take pity on her as she shivers in the snow. The only way she can survive is to make her own luck. She will never sell the one treasure that could feed her for a month, the gold and ruby ring that was hidden in her swaddling - it could hold the key to the secrets of her past . . .

Gennaro's Limoni

Gennaro's Limoni

Author: Gennaro Contaldo Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

“Lemons are precious to me; a symbol of my beloved homeland, they stir up fond memories of my childhood as well as having a wealth of uses. They cleanse, refresh, preserve and are an absolute essential in the home.” So explains celebrated, amiable Gennaro Contaldo in his introduction, setting the vibrant, sunshine-infused tone that streams through this splendid book. After sharing the specific delights of the Amalfi lemon he grew up with, locally known as the Sfusato Amalfitano (“it’s like no other: a huge, elongated-in-shape, knobbly, thick-skinned citrus fruit, but oh-so wonderfully sweet and aromatic”), Contaldo takes us through dozens of inspiring recipes, all accompanied by stunning photography. With chapters covering Small Plates, Vegetables, Fish, Meat, Desserts, Drinks and Preserves, and Sauces and Dressings, it’s as comprehensive as it is refreshing and practical, with no part of the lemon left unused. For example, Contaldo adds a sliver of zest to his breakfast espresso, while lemon pith and skin can be chopped into salads to add extra zing. From a lemon-infused pizza topped with sausage, mozzarella and rocket, to traditional antipasto dishes like scamorza cheese wrapped in lemon leaves, the recipes are truly refreshing. Then there’s the delights of limoncello spritz, and chocolate and lemon truffle. Passionate, personal and practical, this joyous book will delight a huge spectrum of home cooks.

eBooks of the Month
Rise

Rise

Author: Maliha Abidi Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2021

Relating the remarkable stories of 100 extraordinary women of colour, Maliha Abidi’s Rise is an inspirational, informative showstopper of an anthology. Global in scope and engagingly lively in style, it’s a powerful and beautifully curated testament to trailblazing women of colour from all walks of life, from all fields of endeavour (literature, science, engineering, business, banking, mathematics, politics, law, medicine, human rights activism, sport, art, music, dance), from all corners of the world. What a glorious gift this is to treasure - and draw inspiration from - for a lifetime. Featuring women from over 40 countries, these are pioneers who’ve risen above multiple challenges to have huge impact on the world, whether in the public eye, or behind the scenes. While the book includes seminal icons who are household names (among them Beyonce, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Serena Williams), Rise also highlights lesser-known names whose work has had huge impact on our world. Like the women themselves, Maliha Abidi’s writing style is engaging and keenly focussed, and her striking portraits of each innovator are an exuberant, life-filled joy.

Star Books
The Rabbit Factor

The Rabbit Factor

Author: Antti Tuomainen Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

It has been 15 years since award-winning Finnish copywriter Tuomainen launched his career as an author and in that time he has delighted readers and critics with 6 books that have seen him hailed by The Times as “the funniest writer in Europe,” and “the King of Helsinki Noir” by the Finnish press. It’s hard to really capture and express just how brilliant this man’s writing is, but imagine, if you will, Ian Rankin’s gift for crime thrillers channelled through the skew-wiff comic genius of Christopher Brookmyre, or to put it another way, think of Carl Hiaasen in thermals, Mukluks and a big, down parka for, yes, he is that good. To even think that there might be a tale to be told of a staid insurance actuary inheriting a problematic adventure park takes courage. To then be able to grip readers' imaginations for three hundred pages, to make them laugh so hard they soak the pages of the book by squirting tea from their nose and then make them weep so fiercely that the tears trickle down their thighs, takes huge talent. But there is also nigh-on writing genius here as, woven into what is essentially a crime thriller, albeit a raucous, rip-roaring comic one, is a genuine sense of pathos, a real understanding and expression of human frailties, the random doubts and failures, that make The Rabbit Factor such a wonderfully engaging and enduringly humane read. Be in no doubt, this is quality, top drawer, writing and storytelling of the sort that makes you feel good to be alive and oh-so-grateful to be literate.

Star Books
This is the Canon

This is the Canon

Author: Joan Anim-Addo, Deirdre Osborne Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Highlighting reads that encourage you to explore new beliefs, ideas, and opinions, this was an eye-opening read for me. Recommending a collection of 50 novellas and novels from around the world, with voices from all backgrounds and races, the reader is encouraged to rethink the novels that are considered the classics of literature. It is explained as: “an intervention that offers opportunities for readers to explore a broader reach of works than those that are perennially taught and examined, or promoted”. Prior to reading this I believed that I read far and wide, across genres, continents, and authors, and yet and yet, I’ve only read books by four of these authors. It really brought me up short and has made me rethink my reading lists. I know that some of my LoveReading reviewing colleagues have already read many of these books, but for me, the majority will be new. Joan Anim-Addo, Deidre Osborne, and Kadija Sesay are well respected and explain their thoughts, reasoning, and hold their arms wide in welcoming you to This is the Canon. Each of the 50 books is introduced and includes details of publishing, the author, and other recommended books. The Afterword encourages you, as a reader, to make a difference in the literary world, to make your voice heard. Sitting as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, This is the Canon offers a huge opportunity to the reader, and one that I will be taking up.

Star Books
Beauty in Letters

Beauty in Letters

Author: John Wilson Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

A truly beautiful and stimulating book that can be devoured in one heady go or dipped into and adored. Meet and wonder over illuminated addresses, books, scrolls or certificates in celebration of events. Covering a hundred years, sitting mainly in Victorian times, each is its own masterpiece, the designs so colourful and intricate, they shine from the page. On display are 50 letters with a particular theme, from royalty, to civic duty, to clubs and societies. John P Wilson explains that the recipient could be wealthy or famous, or an ordinary person who had provided special service. He states these letters: “provide an opportunity to obtain an insight into someone’s life and achievements, and allow a brief historical opening into social history”. Each letter sits with an explanation, but the focus here is the beauty of the letter. In our current times, the art of the letter is all but forgotten, and these treasures appear to be almost jewell-like in their wonder and intensity. I have quite fallen in love with this book, it really speaks to me. Beauty in Letters is a wonderful insight into the past, and a stunning display of true creativity and artwork.

Star Books
Lightseekers

Lightseekers

Author: Femi Kayode Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2021

An intelligent, brooding yet vibrant crime thriller debut that just thrums with atmosphere. Investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo walks straight into trouble when he is hired to investigate the brutal crowd murder of three students known as the Okiri Three in Nigeria. It is an absolute thrill to be in at the start of a new series that promises so much. Femi Kayode has created a relatable and likeable main character who is quickly out of his depth, and Philip tells his own tale. The setting was brought so vividly to life I found myself wide-eyed as I looked around and soaked up the sense of place. I could reach out and touch, could feel Nigeria and it’s history. Another story sits alongside Philip’s, it’s intense and provocative, it felt as though it was hunting down the main tale, ready to attack. While Philip investigates, the link to his home life allows a further connection and understanding of his background. There are a number of other characters that I sincerely hope will make a return and I am already excitedly waiting for the next book in this series. Lightseekers is a smart, action-packed and intriguing read. I want to shout about this one, so it’s not only a Liz Pick of the Month, it’s also a LoveReading Star Book too.   

Star Books
There's Only One Danny Garvey

There's Only One Danny Garvey

Author: David F. Ross Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/01/2021

A powerful, eloquent, earthy and emotional novel about family, regret, hope, and redemption. Former footballing prodigy Danny Garvey returns home to manage the local football team, yet past secrets haunt the present. I simply fell into this novel, fell in love with both the writing and storyline, and similarly adored Welcome to the Heady Heights. David F Ross writes so beautifully, images spark into life, so vibrantly real they almost hurt. During the course of this novel I found myself roaring with laughter, high on feel-goods, then caught up in plummeting emotions that caused a physical ache… this is a novel with real heart. The direct thoughts of the other headline characters appear in italics, and boy does it create atmosphere. My head was full of the added information, creating a jigsaw, while searching for the missing pieces without realising it. The ending gave me full-on goosebumps, and I sat for a goodly while in contemplation after finishing. I want to shout from the rooftops about There’s Only One Danny Garvey, hand on heart it’s blimmin brilliant! 

Star Books
The Englishman

The Englishman

Author: David Gilman Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/02/2021

Klaxon alert! Discover full-on heart-pounding action, plus smart, sharp writing in this absolute reading feast of a book. Travelling from Africa to the UK and ending in Russia, former Foreign Legion Commando Dan Raglan is on a hunt that guarantees death. This is the first in what promises to be a smash-hit spy thriller series and I already can’t wait for the next book. The prologue throws you straight into October 2019 with a man running through a frozen Russian forest while bullets whip towards him. Chapter one turns to 2013 and from here we get to know Dan Raglan. As an introduction, it’s spot on, within pages I was on board and by his side. Author David Gilman is a former firefighter, paratrooper, and photographer and now writes full time. His words build a vivid picture, this world feels authentic and I read with full confidence. I was so involved in the unfolding story that my thoughts didn’t skim backwards or forwards, I purely existed in each moment as it hit. And boy, each moment lands with ferocious intensity. Shockwaves of action expanded and the storyline tripped me with unexpected developments. Even though I had read the prologue, the ending still came with a whammy. LoveReading Book of the Month - tick, LoveReading Star Book - tick, one of my personal Picks of the Month - tick! The Englishman comes with a tremendous thumbs up from me, more please!

Star Books
Midnight in Everwood

Midnight in Everwood

Author: M.A. Kuzniar Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

Deliciously rich and dark, this reimagining of The Story of a Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas is loaded with recognisable elements yet is as delightfully individual as can be. Set in Nottingham in 1906 ballerina Marietta’s family have proclaimed that she should stop dancing and take her place in society, when she meets neighbour Dr Drosselmeier she is thrown into a new world full of magic. This is the debut adult novel by M. A. Kuzniar, she draws enchantment and menace together and allows them to walk hand in hand. The beauty and strength of friendship sits centre stage while a relationship slowly blossoms. This most definitely isn’t a sugary sweet confection, a hint of the nightmare echoes through the pages. The traditional dark elements of folklore and fairytale scuttle and scurry with a fabulously modern edge. The characters crackle with energy, the setting sparkles with light and shade, and the ending, oh, that ending! Potently sharp and beautifully magical, Midnight in Everwood dances in to sit as a LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Robinson Book of the Month.

Debut Books of the Month
The Dead of Winter

The Dead of Winter

Author: Nicola Upson Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/11/2021

This incredibly engaging and entertaining murder mystery set in 1938 just crackles with energy and would make a perfect Christmas read. Josephine Tey and DCI Archie Penrose spend Christmas at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, a world famous film star and two deaths throw the festivities into disarray. This is the ninth in the Josephine Tey novels, however you can easily, and quite perfectly read it as standalone. Josephine Tey was a pseudonym used by writer Elizabeth MacKintosh, and just out of interest, her book The Daughter Of Time was named as the greatest crime novel of all time by the Crime Writers’ Association back in 1990. Using the real life crime writer Tey as one of the main characters works incredibly well, so do consider going back and starting at the beginning of the series with An Expert in Murder if you’ve not yet met her. The prologue for The Dead of Winter unsettles and creates intrigue before Nicola Upson sets snippets of information about Hitler and the war free to create a tone that settles over the novel.The characters are introduced with aplomb, St Micheal’s Mount and the weather are rather menacing, while the plot zips and darts along. A couple of maps also help proceedings (I love a good map!). Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month, if you love the Golden Age of Crime, and enjoy the thought of a Christmas mystery then I can wholeheartedly recommend The Dead of Winter to you.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Atlas of Imagined Places from Lilliput to Gotham City

Atlas of Imagined Places from Lilliput to Gotham City

Author: Matt Brown, Rhys B. Davies Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2021

In Atlas of Imagined Places, Matt Brown and Rhys B. Davies have conjured a cartographic spectacle. This ingeniously executed, gorgeously presented book delivers a cornucopia of imagined locations, covering classics you might expect alongside unexpected places from pop culture you probably didn’t, from the legendary land of Atlantis and Gulliver’s Lilliput, to The Flintstones’ Bedrock and Springfield, of The Simpsons fame. Organised by areas of the world, and covering places known from myths, literature, comics, games, film and TV, this is a fantastic feat of research and design, delivered with wit and style. The detailed, vintage-style maps highlight everything from key buildings and towns, to notable mountains and seas, with each location (over 5000 in total) mapped for readers to further discover in the entertaining text. Clearly a labour of love for its clever creators, Atlas of Imagined Places is set to become a much-loved, long-treasured gift for map enthusiasts and culture vultures alike.

CO Specs: Recipes & Histories of Classic Cocktails

CO Specs: Recipes & Histories of Classic Cocktails

Author: Cas Oh Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2020

Stylish in form and content, this A-Z encyclopaedia of 200 classic cocktails serves up intriguing origin stories alongside inspiring recipes. Written and curated by London bar expert Cas Oh, whose impressive CV includes helming The Club at The Ivy, this gorgeously-produced book (think black-and-gold art deco elegance) represents the distillment of tens of thousands of cocktail recipes into 200 classics - nice work if you can get it! Chicly presented and organised A-Z, it covers everything from the Absinthe Frappé that originated in New Orleans in 1874, to the Espresso Martini of the 1980s, to the triple-rum Zombie of 1930s Hollywood. With the provenance and recipes of many cocktails keenly contested, this seeks to set the record straight, with beautiful reproductions of pages from recipe books of the past revealing the origins and evolution of each concoction. Alongside learning about well-known favourites like Margaritas, Mai Tais, Piña Coladas and Daiquiris, I loved discovering new bizarre brews, such as The Black Velvet, a blend of Guinness and champagne created to commemorate the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Designed to inspire and guide professional bartenders and home-mixers alike, CO-Specs will certainly add more than a dash of glamour to coffee tables. It’s a book to be dipped into, sipped and savoured, rather than downed in one. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Manifesto

Manifesto

Author: Bernardine Evaristo Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2021

When Bernardine Evaristo won the Booker prize in 2019, aged 60, for her eighth novel Girl, Woman, Other, she made history. After 40 years in creative industries, everything changed as she became the first black woman to win the prize in the fifty years since its inception. This memoir is a page-turning, intimate and brave account of her life. Convinced that fame and success would come, this autobiographical story of her unstoppable journey towards her many accolades is an inspiration as she shares her life stages from her birth in Eltham in 1959 through her upbringing and cultural background, her influences and inspirations. One of 8 children of a fearsome Nigerian father and white English mother, we learn about her bi-racial childhood, early experiences of racism and the challenges of growing up as a mixed race woman which ultimately set Evaristo on the path of rebellion and freedom.   The chapters take us through her heritage as an independent middle child in an inter-racial family in a predominantly white area. Through her years as a nomadic Londoner living out of bin bags. Through the men and women who came and went, all culminating in her finding her soulmate. We see her creative journey from theatre-maker, writer of poetry to fiction and her becoming the award-winning writer she is today. The book concludes with her Manifesto. We see the potential, the possibilities, the rewards if you are brave enough, her refusal to conform and her passion for fighting for what she believes in. Although in her conclusion she concedes that these days instead of throwing stones at the fortress she sits inside its chambers having polite, persuasive persistent conversations about how best to transform outmoded infrastructures. She is formidable in every sense and I warmed to her and am inspired by her. She tells us of her addiction to the adventure of storytelling and I am in awe of that storytelling. Manifesto is about life, love, courage, community, creativity, activism and optimism. And I for one could not get enough of it. I’ll be pressing this book into the hands of people for years and imploring them to read it and everything she writes. We need more Evaristos in this world, that’s for sure. It’s a powerful manifesto from a trailblazer and a reminder that there is a manifesto in all of us.

Star Books
The Book of Change

The Book of Change

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/10/2021

An absolute wow of a book which offers and encourages new thoughts and feelings. I follow Stephen Ellcock on social media, he collates images and celebrates the beautiful, different, weird and wonderful and I often stop, pause, and ponder as I scroll. His first book All Good Things, was totally gorgeous, and a LoveReading Star Book. In The Book of Change Stephen states: “I am continually driven by an overwhelming, gnawing frustration at the injustices of the world and an intense desire for something better”. He goes on to explain that this book is a response to his lifelong feeling of alienation and dislocation, and the current situation we find ourselves in 2021. His introduction sings of his wish for justice, equality, and peace for all. He looks into the past, observes the present, and reaches out to the future, to information, mass media, and power, and he addresses the issues that are plaguing our planet. He offers seven sections, starting with Source, and ending with Hope, and boy, did the images contained within evoke my emotions. I found myself being drawn into each one, sometimes caught by the obvious, sometimes looking past and through into the hidden, the darkness, the suggestive heart. At times I felt uncomfortable, I was definitely challenged, and was left feeling that this book had taken on a life of its own within my thoughts and feelings. The Book of Change, so darkly beautiful and provocative, has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book. 

Star Books
The Snow Song

The Snow Song

Author: Sally Gardner Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A spellbinding fable for adults from the award-winning and bestselling author, Sally Gardner. 'This heartbreaking, brilliantly written novel is the most original publication for years' The Times on Sally Gardner From an award-winning author, whose books have sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide Women imprisoned by superstition, chained by guilt. Perched on a mountain in a land of ancient forests is a village, rife with secrets. Cut off from the outside world it is run by the elders, men to whom tradition is all. Edith lives alone with her alcoholic father who is forcing her to marry the village butcher. But she is in love with a shepherd who promised to return to her. As the village becomes isolated in a sea of snow, Edith loses her power of speech. And it is this enchantment that will have far-reaching consequences, not only for Edith but for the whole village.

Star Books
The Cat Who Saved Books

The Cat Who Saved Books

Author: Sosuke Natsukawa Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

An absolute little treasure! After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro finds himself on an adventure with Tiger the talking cat, to help books that desperately need saving. This incredibly quirky and beautiful novel highlights the importance of books, friendship, and self-belief. The simplicity of the story highlights the warmth, the love, and the true power of books. It also encouraged me to explore my own relationship with books. Sosuke Natsukawa painted images straight into my thoughts, simple, clear, vividly bright, they still sit in my minds eye. A shout out to the translation by Louise Heal Kawai, as I felt as though I was reading the original Japanese version. If you, like me, think of books as being more than words on paper, if you talk to them and pat them, are moved by them and have thoughts altered by them, then I recommend The Cat Who Saved Books with my heart and soul. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, it really would make the perfect gift, either for you, or another book-lover in your life.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Lockdown Secrets

Lockdown Secrets

Author: Eleanor Tattersfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2021

Shifting from shocking confessions, to relatable emotions and experiences, Eleanor Tattersfield’s Lockdown Secrets is an ingenious concept of a book that will make an entertaining and elegant gift. It all began back in the dark days of a long COVID lockdown, when designer Eleanor Tattersfield heard a podcast about a 1980s answering machine confession line, leading her to “wonder what might happen if people had a similar opportunity at this strangest of times to document their own lockdown confessions.” Somewhat fortuitously, later that day, Eleanor found a box of unused postcards from the 1930s - “It felt like fate. I rushed upstairs, set up the type LOCKDOWN SECRETS and the shop’s address, and printed away.”  Following an Instagram shout-out - “I'll send you a postcard, you send me a secret” - replies flooded in, a selection of which are reproduced in this gorgeous book. Many of the cards are resplendent with illustrations, elaborate typography, clever collages, and intriguing handwriting, and all of them capture the shared experience of lockdown in all its complex strangeness. Indeed, the author noted a number of recurring themes - “food fetishes, masturbation, loneliness, breaking the rules, sex, love and, surprisingly, the love of lockdown.”  Honest and enlightening, what an extraordinarily unique document of such extraordinary times this book is.

How to Make Anything Gluten Free

How to Make Anything Gluten Free

Author: Becky Excell Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/05/2021

Are you avoiding gluten but yearn for fresh bread, all your favourite takeaways or a naan bread with your curry? And for your sweet tooth do you crave jam doughnuts, bakery-style cookies and classic cakes? How to Make Anything Gluten Free is the first cookbook that shows you how to unlock all the food you truly miss eating - but nothing tastes or looks "gluten-free". Becky Excell has spent years developing delicious dishes and sharing them with her followers on Instagram. She is here to show you that a gluten-free life can be exciting and easy, without having to miss out on your favourite foods ever again. Why restrict yourself to the obvious soups, salads and fruit? What you really want are the recipes that you think you can't eat! From proper chicken chow mein to pad thai, doughnuts to lemon drizzle cake, cheesecake to profiteroles, French baguettes to pizza, plus dairy-free, vegan, veggie and low FODMAP options, Becky gives you all the recipes you'll ever need with tips and advice on how to make absolutely anything gluten-free.

Together

Together

Author: Jamie Oliver Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

Dedicated to the NHS and key workers for looking after us and keeping the nation going, enabling us to get back together, Oliver’s latest book and the 25th in his collection  is a triumph of togetherness. Being together is precious and after all of our recent time apart, this book is a celebration of that and the joy of good food. Every chapter starts with a little menu card for each meal, for easy sharing with your diners. This is a stress-free step-by-step guide to entertaining, no matter what the occasion. From a laid back feast to a sunny gathering, cosy indulgence or celebration roast, this book has it all. And my favourite bit is the recipe methods which help you get super organised the day before your event, thus maximising your precious time with your guests. Every single recipe has a glorious full colour photograph and Oliver’s nutrition team has been busy with a whole nutrition section which features easy-to-read nutrition information on every dish. Mouth watering, I’m already popping get-togethers in the diary so I can test these recipes out. And recreate some of the stunning table settings and beautiful images peppering the book. And let’s not forget the cocktail section to help you enrich any gathering you throw. Coffee negroni, yum. Jammy margarita, yes please. I’m off to test a few out…

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Author: Sally Rooney Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/09/2021

One of literature’s brightest talents and most talked about authors of her generation, Sally Rooney follows up 2018 Waterstones Book of the Year and Costa Novel Award Winner Normal People with another sure-fire award winner. Once you get past the fact that Sally Rooney isn’t a lover of conventional punctuation (there are no speech marks in her work), you sink into this beautiful novel following the life and love, the trials and tribulations of four young Irish friends. Yet again you are gripped from the first page with her searingly honest observational prose and dialogue. Both first books Normal People and Conversations with Friends featured characters in late adolescence and early adulthood struggling through first relationships whilst starting to find their way in the world. Just four years after her debut, this is another twenty-first-century love story of sexual entanglements and love lives of two best friends on the eve of their thirties. Alice, a successful novelist who has moved to the Irish countryside following a breakdown meets Felix a warehouse worker with a troubled past, via Tinder. Her best friend Eileen is in Dublin, working for a literary magazine, working through a painful break up and still battling with the on-off “friends with benefits” relationship between her and one of their oldest friends Simon. Her compelling writing just grabs you and her way of investigating the complexity of relationships and dynamics is just so incisive. Whilst you feel they are “ordinary”, “normal” people, the beautiful dialogue is interspersed with long narratives on email between Eileen and Alice. So cleverly done, rhetorical and didactic and it really serves to getting you thinking about the current state of our social fabric, of society, our global challenges, day to day political helplessness and environmental collapse. And it gets you to thinking: beautiful world, where are you? Beautiful? Yes. Serious? Definitely. I loved it. Barriers and all. Magnum opus. Without a doubt.

Star Books

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