Following on from my previous post, here are some more recommendations for books to read while you’re enjoying this beautiful weather. As before, unlike some other lists that seem to appear this time of year, these books aren’t necessarily new; some are old favourites, some not so old.
The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
1917: When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, announce they have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when the great novelist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, endorses the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a sensation; their discovery offering something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war.
One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript and a photograph in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story of the two young girls who mystified the world. As Olivia is drawn into events a century ago, she becomes aware of the past and the present intertwining, blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, will Olivia find a way to believe in herself?
A lovely book, with an almost dreamlike quality, based on a fascinating true story, the author weaves a lovely spell that draws you in and might even make you believe in fairies.
Perfect for a relaxing read on a summer’s day.
The Final Girls by Riley Sager
FIRST THERE WERE THREE
The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.
THEN THERE WERE TWO
But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or…
CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE?
All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.
There are so many twists and turns here. Just when you think you’ve solved the mystery, that you know what the twist is, you realise you’re wrong. It’s skilfully done and makes this a real page-turner. There are some really tense moments, and genuine shocks and surprises. It’s a really intense, gripping and enjoyable read.
Afterlife by Marcus Sakey
Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds…and an unforgettable love story.
The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion—a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.
He wakes without a scratch.
The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people—until he sees they’re carrying machetes.
Welcome to the afterlife.
Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.
Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love…with Will Brody.
But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect—and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.
From the author of the million-copy bestselling Brilliance Trilogy comes a mind-bending thriller that explores our most haunting and fundamental question: What if death is just the beginning?
The writing is excellent, a joy to read. There is quite a lot of violence here, but, in my opinion, it isn’t gratuitous. And the book is so clever and compelling. An intelligent, different, imaginative and unusual book. Definitely recommended.
The House by Simon Lelic
Whose story do YOU believe?
Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.
So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.
Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door.
AND NOW THE POLICE ARE WATCHING THEM.
You do have to work at this book, but that, I think, is part of its appeal. The protagonists are confused, and the reader is confused along with them. What lies behind the house, and their lives, is complex and twisted and surprising. A really good read; gripping, complex, clever.
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
When Tom loses the love of his life, time travel seems like the only answer. . . what could possibly go wrong?
Elan Mastai’s breakthrough novel brings a whole new dimension to a classic love story.
So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have.
That means nothing to you, obviously, because you live here, in the crappy world we do have.
But it never should’ve turned out like this. And it’s all my fault – well, me and to a lesser extent my father.
And, yeah, I guess a little bit Penelope.
In both worlds, she’s the love of my life. But only a single version of her can exist.
I have one impossible chance to fix history’s greatest mistake and save this broken world.
Clever, well-written and intriguing. Tom is a great main character. Aware of his short-comings, he’s an honest narrator. The reader really feels his panic about what he’s done, the dawning reality of where he is and what his new life means. An unusual novel and very readable despite its complexity.