We all need some ‘me-time’ occasionally and it’s hard to beat the kind of escapism found between the pages (or Kindle swipes) of a good book. If you’re looking for something new to read, here are just some of the books that come highly recommended by the British Mums community. Here’s the essential list of must reads right now:
If you like a good thriller
For unputdownable psychological thrillers filled with suspense and mystery:
• Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
The kind of read that has you hooked from the first few pages. Apple Tree Yard unravels the story of a successful geneticist and mother who finds herself in the witness box of a murder trial. Her alleged accomplice is her lover – a man who not only caused her to lose the life she’d so carefully crafted, but also herself in the process.
• The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
This best-selling novel revolves around a letter that was not meant to be read. Mother of three, Cecilia, discovers an envelope in the attic with her husband’s handwriting on it saying, ‘To be opened in the event of my death’. Her decision to read the letter, and what she chooses to do with the information, could rip her family apart – but staying silent could be just as damaging.
• The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison
As Todd and Jodi’s 20-year marriage comes to a disastrous end, the story is told in their alternating voices. He’s a serial cheater who’s taken it too far, while she hates confrontation but simultaneously has a steely resolve to settle the score. It’s a gripping, unnervingly believable narrative about a marriage disintegrating into murder.
• Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The debut novel by the Gone Girl author, features a heroine who is arguably Flynn’s most damaged and complex character to date. Camille Preaker, who has just been released from a psychiatric hospital for treatment for her self-harming, takes on a particularly harrowing assignment as a reporter. She must return to her hometown to cover the grisly murders of two pre-teen girls.
• The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train is the debut novel by Hawkins. Every day, Rachel takes the same train which stops at the same signal where she watches a seemingly perfect couple in their daily routine. But one day, she catches a glimpse of something completely shocking and is suddenly deeply entangled in the lives of everyone involved.
• I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
A tragic hit-and-run accident turns Jenna Gray’s world upside-down. Desperate to escape the demons of her past, Jenna seeks refuge in a small Welsh town where she tries to start afresh. Just as she starts to have hope for a happier future, her past catches up with her, with devastating consequences.
• The Secret History by Donna Tartt
A murder mystery without the classic ‘whodunnit?’ question. The Secret History starts with the murder – and those who committed it – and the rest of the novel serves to unravel how this group of intelligent, charismatic college students came to kill one of their own, and what happens as a result.
When you need a pick me up
For those days when you want something light and uplifting:
• The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman is a socially challenged genetics professor who has never been on a second date. Obsessed with the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, he sets out to find his perfect partner through a scientific test – and meets Rosie (who is the complete opposite of everything he’s looking for) in the process.
• A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Ove, a grumpy and solitary old man, has his life of strict routine and rules completely disrupted when a young family moves in next door. It’s an unexpectedly moving and comical story of friendship and everlasting love – a feel-good story of note, but one that will break your heart at the same time.
• How to Fall in Love by Cecelia Ahern
Christine meets Adam as he’s about to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Desperate to help him, they strike a deal – she’ll have two weeks, until his 35th birthday, to show him the beauty of life before he tries to take his life again. In the process of helping Adam fall back in love with his life, things get complicated as Christine finds herself falling in love with him. (Also highly recommended by the same author, is The Year I Met You – an uplifting, unexpected love story).
• The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Allan Karlsson has lived a life of epic proportions. As preparations are underway to celebrate his 100th birthday in the old age home where he now finds himself, he has plans of his own. Climbing out of the window in his slippers, he embarks on a new adventure.
When you’re in the mood to be moved (and/or sob)
If you love getting so engrossed in a story and its characters that it actually moves you to tears, grab the tissues and grab one of these:
• The Stranger in My Home by Adele Parks
Everything is going perfectly in Alison’s life – she has a wonderful husband and a teenage daughter who they adore. But one day, there’s a knock at the door that makes Alison question everything. Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison’s daughter home from the hospital. The daughter Alison has raised, loved and who is the centre of her world – isn’t hers.
• The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
A highly acclaimed, extremely moving story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who find a baby girl in a lifeboat and decide to raise her as their own. Living on an isolated island, it’s only when they return to the mainland years later that they must confront the consequences of their choice.
• Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Even if you’ve seen the film and think it’s not worth reading the book, do yourself a favour. Going far beyond the standard ‘romance novel’ genre, Me Before You is a comment on the issue of euthanasia, as told through the relationship of Louisa and Will. Louisa lives an ordinary life and takes a much-needed job working for Will, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. After a life filled with adventure and travel, he’s convinced he cannot continue to live.
• Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
An ode to first loves. Soul-crushing, heart-wrenching first loves. This novel tells the story of two star-crossed 16-year-olds, Eleanor and Park, and their relationship over the course of one school year in the ‘80s. They’re two misfits who see each other for who they really are. Highly recommended for mums to read alongside their teenage daughters.
• Wonder by R.J. Palacio
For 10-year-old August, starting school for the first time (after being home-schooled) is fraught with challenges – making new friends, learning new rules and trying to get people to look beyond his severe facial deformity. A beautifully authentic story, Wonder is a feel-good book with a beautiful message and an ending that will bring out all of the tears.
To get your hands on any of these books, and to browse a vast range of many more, visit www.bookdepository.com. They have free delivery worldwide and they’ve got some good offers too.
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*Please note it’s not recommended to go over 1,000 AED spend to avoid any customs duties and it normally takes around 7-10 business days to be delivered.
Did your favourites make the list? Got any other must-reads to recommend? We’d love to hear from you. Share your suggestions in the comments.