April’s great reads the best books
w&h books editor Fanny Blake reads the best new books out this month and gives you her recommendations. Plus interviews with authors Tony Parsons, and Clare Mackintosh on how she writes
Pick OF THE MONTH The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Headline)
In 1969, four siblings – Varya, daniel, Klara and Simon – visit a fortune teller who predicts the dates of their deaths. Saddled with this knowledge, they move through life despite – and because – of those predictions. Skilled storytelling, a complex structure that spans decades and vivid characters make this an intelligent, entertaining read.
OBSESSIVE LOVE Almost Love by Louise O’Neill (Riverrun)
Falling hard for Matthew, a successful businessman and father of one of her pupils, Sarah risked her job, friends and relationships to be with him. Now she lives with Oisin, but her thoughts still turn to Matthew. A raw, unflinching portrait of an all-consuming affair and its long-reaching effects.
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER The Fear by CL Taylor (Avon)
Fourteen years after being groomed and abducted by her teacher, Lou tracks him down, only to discover he may be about to do the same thing again. She has to take matters into her own hands. dark, twisty and driven by revenge, with a nice sting in its tail.
SINISTER THRILLER Tangerine by Christine Mangan (Little Brown)
The shade of Patricia Highsmith hangs over this sinister and serpentine thriller that really got me by the throat. When Lucy, an old college friend, turns up on Alice’s doorstep in Tangiers, she brings with her the past that Alice has been trying to forget. Is Lucy the one to spring Alice from her apparently unhappy marriage? Narrated by each woman in turn, the suspense builds in this riveting tale of obsessive love.
CHILD’S-EYE VIEW Only Child by Rhiannon Navin (Mantle)
When a gunman opens fire in a school, the kids have been trained what to do. Sevenyear-old Zach hides in a cupboard with his classmates and teacher. When they emerge the shooting is over, leaving a number of fatalities, one of whom is his older brother. Told from Zach’s point of view, the novel explores the effect of this devastating event on his family and their close-knit community. As his life changes, so does his mother, and Zach has to rely on himself to get through. Grab hold of the tissues for a heartbreaking read that’s full of compassion and insight.
CONTEMPORARY AFFAIR Love After Love by Alex Hourston (Faber)
Wife and mother Nancy Jansen embarks on an affair with a fellow therapist who she first met in college. As long as she keeps her life compartmentalised, no one gets hurt. But when her aspiring actress daughter finds a mentor in his wife, the separate parts begin to connect and the ramifications are felt. Hourston cuts to the quick of family life with precision to create a slow-burning read laced with wit and compassion.
CURL UP WITH Last Letter Home by Rachel Hore (S&S)
Holidaying in Italy, Briony Wood is drawn back in time when she’s given film footage of her grandfather there during the war, and letters between an unknown couple, Sarah and Paul, found in a ruined villa. Who are these people? How are they connected with her grandfather? Her search takes her to Norfolk, where a wartime love story unravels. The novel moves between the two stories separated by decades, creating a long and involving read with plenty of delicious period detail and a satisfying mystery at its heart.
Fanny’s 7 TOP PICkS