November’s great reads latest books
w&h books editor Fanny Blake reads the best new books out this month and gives you her recommendations. Plus bestselling author Jodi Picoult shares her writing secrets
MY Pick OF THE MONTH
Melmoth by Sarah
Perry (Serpent’s Tail) Cursed with deathlessness, Melmoth wanders the earth condemned to appear where everything’s at its darkest. Helen, a scholar working in Prague, starts reading up on her, unaware that Melmoth is coming closer… sublimely written, deliciously gothic and consistently intriguing throughout.
The Corset by Laura Purcell (Raven) Well-intentioned prison visitor Dorothea truelove gets drawn into the disturbing case of 16-year-old Ruth butterham, who awaits trial for murder. but is Ruth a victim or a killer? Intricate, atmospheric and chilling – with a wonderfully dark premise at its heart.
No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister (Penguin) becky has been accused of murdering her sister’s baby. Is she innocent like she protests? Chopping back and forth through the sisters lives together, Mcallister nails their relationship with precision and provides a thrilling mystery with a strong emotional heart.
The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse
When seven-year-old oscar disappears from his parents’ boat moored off the coast of bermuda, James and Rachel’s worst nightmare comes true. their sudden loss causes their marriage to implode and Rachel decides to return to England alone. How they battle their way through their grief and learn to live again is the stuff of this emotionpacked tear-jerker.
I Invited Her In by Adele Parks (HQ) old friends help each other out, right? so when Mel hears abi’s marriage is over she immediately invites her to stay. but her act of friendship is returned in a very different spirit, and what starts out as a sympathetic reunion soon twists into a tale of revenge and retribution that I read in a single, mesmerised sitting.
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (Faber) two stories, one house, more than a century apart. the present fortunes of Willa and Iano, who face a crunch time in their lives, are woven together with those of thatcher Greenwood who, in the 1870s, faced his own difficulties. a warm, absorbing novel about survival in the face of change.
The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett (Fleet) Post breast cancer, post boyfriend, Eleanor leaves sydney to start again in remote talbingo where the teacher who held the post before her has gone missing. Why are there so many locks on her front door? Is Eleanor’s new love interest heavenly or hellish? Why is so much going wrong? Fast, funny and downright weird, but a great read.
Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes (Sphere) a country treasure hunt celebrating the birthday of Pamela Mitford results in the murder of dashing but cruel adrian Curtis. the police collar Daisy the maid, but louisa, chaperone to the Mitford sisters, determines to prove her innocence. a delightful escapist period piece to brighten the darkest days of winter.
Fanny’s 8 TOp pICks