Podcast Ep.3: Lives of Women and Girls

In this month's episode, we meet four excellent novelists whose books tell stories about women in new and very imaginative ways.


Elena Lappin


Steven Camden, Elise Valmorbida, Caroline O’Donoghue, Molly Flatt, Lucy Scholes

Books featured:

NOBODY REAL by Steven Camden (Harper Collins)

THE MADONNA OF THE MOUNTAINS by Elise Valmorbida (Faber & Faber)

PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN by Caroline O’Donoghue (Virago)

THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE by Molly Flatt (Pan Macmillan)

THE MARS ROOM by Rachel Kushner (Jonathan Cape)

GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss (Granta)

NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)

MRS GASKELL AND ME: Two Women, Two Love Stories, Two Centuries Apart by Nell Stevens (Picador)

Steven Camden’s thoughtful, pitch-perfect YA novel NOBODY REAL takes us into the complex inner world of an 18 year old girl whose childhood imaginary friend resurfaces as a sensitive stalker. 

Elise Valmorbida’s beautiful historical novel THE MADONNA OF THE MOUNTAINS tells the powerful story of Maria, a peasant young woman whose life is controlled by outside rules and forces: religion, Mussolini’s fascist regime, the traditions of strict patriarchy. And yet she fights for the freedom to make her own choices. Along with delicious recipes for classic Italian dishes, this novel is an emotionally rich treat. 

Caroline O’Donoghue’s very smart, timely and sharply funny debut PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN reads like a Victorian classic set in contemporary London. Depressed after being dumped by the love of her life, Jane, a young office worker, falls for her manipulative boss. As a secret online agony aunt, Jane has all the answers - but in her own life, she navigates her way through a labyrinth of mostly very bad options... 

In her audacious debut THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE, Molly Flatt spins a rollercoaster adventure around a young woman whose sudden professional success seems to be a complete mystery. And the word ‘mystery’ doesn’t even begin to cover the scope of this author’s ambitious imagining of how human stories are created and connected. 


Critic and essayist Lucy Scholes returns with her preview of three essential titles for autumn: the novels GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss and NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney, and MRS Gaskell AND ME, a memoir by Nell Stevens. 

MY PICK for this month is THE MARS ROOM by Rachel Kushner (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018). Kushner’s precise, unsentimental storytelling draws us with supreme artistic control into the world of a young single mother who is serving a double life sentence for the murder of her stalker. In seamlessly interlinking raw scenes from her life outside and inside the California County jail, Kushner creates an unforgettable and very convincing portrait of America today. A revelation. 


Only one listener asked for editorial advice about their writing this time - but if you enjoyed the reply on this podcast and have a literary dilemma of your own, why not email us at podcast@lovereading.co.uk with your question? 

Thank you from all of us at LoveReading for listening to this episode of our podcast. We really look forward to your feedback on facebooktwitter (@LoveReadingPod) and Instagram (Lovereadingpodcast). You can also leave a comment on iTunes. Please subscribe!


Elena Lappin


Click here to listen to Episode 3.

The Timings

00:00 Teaser

00:46 Introduction

00:17 Steven Camden

15:29 Elise Valmorbida

28:03 Caroline O’Donoghue

39:18 Decisions Decisions

42:40 Molly Flatt

56:30 Lucy Scholes (Book Post)

01:04:00 My Pick

01:07:15 Conclusion and Credits

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