Our high-quality Family Drama selection offers the heart-breaking and heart-warming conflicts and dramas directly from the hearth, telling the stories of these families that have been struck by tragedy, conflict and drama and their struggle to survive intact.
A small town divided by prejudice. A secret that won't remain silent... The stunning new novel from the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Silent Sister and Big Lies in a Small Town. This unmissable and gripping Book Club read will stay with you. 1965. A young white female student becomes involved in the fight for civil rights in North Carolina, falling in love with one of her fellow activists, a Black man, in a time and place where an interracial relationship must be hidden from family, friends and especially the reemerging Ku Klux Klan. As tensions rise in the town, she realises not everyone is who they appear to be. 2020. A recently widowed architect moves into the home she and her late husband designed, heartbroken that he will never cross the threshold. But when disturbing things begin to happen, it's clear that someone is sending her a warning. Who is trying to frighten her away, and why? Decades later, past and present are set to collide in the last house on the street...
Clive Hapgood is feeling stuck. The private school he teaches at is consuming his life, no thanks to wretched headteacher Julian Crouch. The gentle country life Clive envisaged has stifled him and left his marriage on the brink. What he needs is a holiday - something to remind him and Helen what life used to be like. But when things don't go to plan, and an incident at school begins to weigh heavy on his head, Clive's life starts to unravel in front of him. Has he got it in him to turn things around, whatever the cost? After all, it's his own time he's wasting... Wonderfully funny and often moving, this brilliant novel by star of The Durrells and Would I Lie To You? Miles Jupp is set to be the stand-out book of the summer.
When Aleisha discovers a crumpled reading list tucked into a tattered library book, it sparks an extraordinary journey. From timeless stories of love and friendship to an epic journey across the Pacific Ocean with a boy and a tiger in a boat, the list opens a gateway to new and wonderful worlds - just when Aleisha needs an escape from her troubles at home. And when widower Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to connect with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha introduces him to the magic of the reading list. An anxious teenager and a lonely grandfather forming an unlikely book club of two. Inspiring and heartwarming, The Reading List is a love letter to storytelling - its power to transport us, connect us, and remind us that a new beginning is only a page away...
If you were offered a chance to cure your child's disease, would you take it? The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she's trying to keep from her overloaded family. Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most - and make every decision about her life - will never know. Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?
At the heart of this story are two women in two very different circumstances – and one baby Grace in the middle of it all. There’s teenager Michelle, who’s only known a life of squalor and strife, who believes her baby is best off with another family. Enter Amelia, whose position is almost the opposite – having struggled with fertility she and her husband Piers are perfectly placed to give the child a stable home. But Michelle’s desire to have her daughter back throws Grace’s future into jeopardy. What I particularly liked about Grace, Victoria Scott’s second novel, is her choice to give voice to both women; neither of whom are made out to be villains. Instead, we are provided with a more nuanced discussion around motherhood and the complex situation some women can find themselves in. Who should we pity, who is more worthy? It’s a sensitive subject that Scott handles well, without stereotyping. There’s a judgement case in the end – and expect some emotional twists along the way.
Goodness, take note before you start, this novels bites, provokes and doesn’t lose its grip, even though at times I flinched as the words buffeted my thoughts. The Bewitching is based on the events surrounding Alice Samuel when she was accused of witchcraft between 1589-1593 in the village of Warboys in the Cambridgeshire Fens. While fictional, author Jill Dawson has obviously completed meticulous research about the period. In the acknowledgements she mentions the title of a pamphlet published in 1593 that details the trial and that alone is enough to send shivers coursing through you. She weaves and stitches together a story that feels chillingly real. Even though centuries old, the details are as relevant today as ever, where a stray word and vicious mind can do so much harm. Women feature at the centre of this novel, with men on the sharpened edge. I felt as though I was being carried towards an inevitable conclusion, and yet I was still challenged, and still surprised as I was drawn into the inner sanctuary that a mind creates when speared. The ending of Part Four hit with exquisitely painful precision and left me feeling drained before Part Five lulled me into dreams. As devastating as it is powerful, The Bewitching is a fascinating and thought-provoking novel that joins my selections as a Liz Pick of the Month.
Written by the co-creator of TV hit How I Met Your Mother, Carter Bay’s The Mutual Friend is an original, thought-provoking debut that captures the complex webs of modern living and loving with heart, humour and a whole lot of meaningful observations. Behind the huge cast of characters is a backdrop of two lived worlds – one physical, the other lived through phone screens, and this sets the stage for a multi-layered story that plays out against this duality of modern life – the Age of Distraction. It’s the summer of 2015 in New York, and 28-year-old Alice is determined to finally make something of her life. After enrolling to take the MCAT exam that’ll set her on a path to becoming a doctor, she resolves to accept no distractions. But the problem is, everything is a distraction, not least her unruly new roommate and the possibility of love. Meanwhile, Alice’s hugely wealthy brother is setting out on a spiritual journey, with the narrative perspective jumping back and forth many times over. Indeed, one of this novel’s defining characteristics - and triumphs - is how it skips points of view. While this is a little disorienting to begin with, it’s not long before this structure feels right. Characters pop on and off the page as they do in life, with deep, idiosyncratic human connections revealed alongside satirical commentary on what it means to live online, and through social media. Moreover, this structure also cleverly exposes and subverts its subject matter through jumpy distractions that demand attention.
Tingling with the tangled complexities of a family whose members are scattered wide around the globe, Nilopar Uddin’s debut novel, The Halfways, will grip and charm readers who like stories driven by relatable real-life characters and problems, with a generous sprinkling of compassion, honesty and observational detail. To the outside world, sisters Nasrin and Sabrina are winning at life. Sabrina works in finance in New York, while Nasrin lives in London with her husband and child, with a stack of engineering accolades behind her. But, as their outwardly perfect lives are beginning to unravel in the cities the sisters have made home, back at the family home and restaurant in the Welsh Beacons everything changes when their father dies and his will-reading reveals a devastating family secret. While their mother gets on with things, the sisters struggle, for the revelation leads them to question everything they founded their identities on, testing family bonds, forcing them to reconsider what sisterhood means, what it means to belong, and what it means to forgive.
Hostage would make the most perfectly fabulous holiday read, if you’re brave enough! On board the first non-stop flight from the UK to Australia, a flight attendant is given a horrifying either/or decision to make. Author Clare Mackintosh sets emotions rocketing from the get-go. I love her writing, she always successfully captures the entirety of my concentration and I know I need to set plenty of read-in-one-sitting time aside. This is incredibly visual, people, places, and the plot all popped into my minds eye and I felt, really felt as though I was there. The first person narrative is used to great effect, it allows you access to a number of people, toying with preconceived ideas and encouraging thoughts to explore. The tension keeps expanding, gathering new observations, and I can honestly say that I had absolutely no idea where I was going to end up. The last few chapters hit hard, and as for the epilogue, well, I’ll just proclaim it, and the last sentence in particular, an absolute doozie! Hostage is a monster of a fabulous read, clever yet entertaining, thoughtful yet provocative, I declare it a LoveReading Star Book. * The less said the better about this latest nail-biter from Mackintosh. A kind of locked-room mystery aboard an intercontinental flight in which a flight attendant is given an impossible choice by terrorists: bring down the plane if you want your daughter at home to live. But there is a dark underbelly to this tale, and the stunning, unsettling conclusion will stick with you long after you’ve put that jaw of yours back in place. - Selected by Linwood Barclay, Our Autumn 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece.
Beautifully emotional writing expanded to fill my heart and soul as I sank into and explored this meaningful family drama. Heather steps outside of her comfort zone and begins to search for clues about the sister she hasn’t seen since their parents died when they were children. Before I talk about Nothing Else, can I just say that I absolute adore the way that Louise Beech writes. If you’ve not yet read her books, then step inside and discover a fabulous writer who understands what it is to be human. Louise Beech has the talent of being able to reach inside my mind and make me feel as though she’s writing especially for me. Nothing Else is just so wonderfully easy to read, and by that I refer to the reach of the words, I had the luxury of just letting the story loose, allowing it to slip past any defences to affect my emotions. A tension is created as a mystery is probed, loss and grief are considered as the past opens up. I have zero musical ability, yet found myself understanding the language of music. I don’t have siblings, yet ached with the heartbreak of loss that Heather was feeling. The words connect, haunt, influence. As I finished I felt a wash of feelings sing through my body, and that is the wonder of reading isn’t it! Perceptive, penetrating, and gorgeously emotional, Nothing Else declares just how powerful love, perseverance, and music can be.
Available in English for the first time, Ewald Arenz’s debut Tasting Sunlight has been on the bestseller list in his native country Germany for three years. Translated by Rachel Ward, the story is set on a rural farm, where two quite different women invertedly become friends. Sally, young and troubled, comes across Liss, an older farmer who takes in the runaway without judgment or demand – and yet neither can know they will form a bond that spans their generational divide. Little by little, their personal stories begin to unfold, and we start to understand the trauma that’s brought them both to this point. This sensitive element is handled so well by Arenz, who brings a sense of hope to their lives, a promise that the sun will rise on the horizon – their taste of sunlight. And for lovers of nature, the writing is a homage to the land, from the seasonal harvest to ripening of the late summer fruit – mirroring the women’s blooming friendship.
Left on the steps of an orphanage when she was just days old, Nancy Sunday was brought up in hardship - until the kindly Rosalind Carey took her in. Now eighteen years old, Nancy is an adopted member of the Carey family. But she can't help wondering who her parents really were... When Nancy is sent away to finishing school, she finds herself in the midst of London society. There she meets Freddie Ashton - kind and warm-hearted, he might just be the man of Nancy's dreams. But she knows his wealthy parents would never let him marry a penniless foundling. And she has also caught the eye of another man - the charming and dangerous Gervase North, who has reasons of his own for discovering Nancy's parentage. Will Nancy ever find where she truly belongs?