Nothing beats a good book so why not make 2019 the year you give yourself the time you need to kick back and indulge yourself with a great read? Every month I will be bringing you my Top 5 reads for your pleasure!
As January can often feel cold and a little flat I have brought you a great mix of fiction and an autobiography to get you through the month.
A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell
This is the first book of McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy, which is a slight misnomer given that there are now four books!
The first time somebody tried to kill Paul it was an accident. The second time was deliberate. Paul Mulchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels, and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history . . . . . . or else they’ll be history.
This is a superb comedic thriller that won’t leave you terrified to close your eyes as some thrillers do. It is a well written and fast paced story, that you will find very difficult to tear yourself away from. I read it in one go and yes, we did have to order take away that night, so we ate! I genuinely can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
True Places by Sonja Yoerg
A girl emerges from the woods, starved, ill, and alone…and collapses.
Suzanne Blakemore hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, away from her overscheduled and completely normal life, and encounters the girl. As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital, she never imagines how the encounter will change her—a change she both fears and desperately needs. Suzanne has the perfect house, a successful husband, and a thriving family. But beneath the veneer of an ideal life, her daughter is rebelling, her son is withdrawing, her husband is oblivious to it all, and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen-year-old who has never experienced civilization, Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privileges. But Iris has independence, a love of solitude, and discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakemores stand for—qualities that awaken in Suzanne first a fascination, then a longing. Now Suzanne can’t help but wonder: Is she destined to save Iris, or is Iris the one who will save her?
This story absolutely grabbed me probably because I had been giving a lot of thought recently to the world’s preoccupation with materialism whilst according to reports we are all quite unhappy. It is a beautifully written tale that made me question everything I believed is proper and correct. It is an emotional and profound questioning of Suzanne’s life with surprising consequences. A belter of a story that will leave you thinking about it long after you have put it back on the bookshelf.
The First Lady by James Patterson
President Tucker is caught up in a media firestorm. The scandal of his affair has sent shockwaves through his re-election campaign and threatens to derail everything he has worked for. To win the vote, he needs the First Lady to stand by his side. But Grace Tucker has a mind of her own.
After years of compromise, unfulfilled promises, deception and betrayal, Grace refuses to give in to her husband’s demands. Escaping the city and her Secret Service agents, she is officially off the radar. But did the First Lady run away? Or is she in far greater danger than anyone could have imagined?
I read this whilst staying in Chicago and the news was dominated by talk of Government shutdowns and the role of the First Lady supporting her husband, or not. This is one of those novels that has a huge dose of “realism” and more than a nod to the current incumbent in the Whitehouse. It really does get you wondering “what if”. I highly recommend this read that will take you along a journey of red herrings galore especially if you are fascinated by the new order of politics that the world is currently witnessing.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
On the subject of FLOTUS, Michelle Obamas’ book may well have found itself into your Christmas stocking. I confess to being a real admirer of the former First Lady especially with the work she has done to encourage girls to be strong and ambitious.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her–from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it–in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations–and whose story inspires us to do the same.,
I found this to be a truly uplifting and refreshing memoir without a trace of self-indulgence and for that, it will no doubt feature in my Books of the Year list when I announce them in December 2019.
The Secret Wife by Gill Paul
Love, guilt and heartbreak are all themes that are tackled in this wonderful tale. Bridging well researched historical fact with fiction it interweaves between the Romanovs and the present day. This is just so beautiful that I will never ever forget reading it. I still think about it and wonder as with the First Lady novel, “what if?” What if Tatiana Romanov had escaped execution, how would history be different?
1914 – Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance and their lives in danger . . .
2016 – Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret. The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with the present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.
I hope you enjoy this month’s Book Club selection. It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts after reading them, I’d love to know what you think.
Happy reading and don’t forget to look out for next month’s recommendations!
Written by Janie Smith