Best books 2019 | Woman&Home’s edit of good books to read this year

Looking for your next great book to read? Something enthralling you can’t put down? Our fabulous books editor reveals the top books every month, and there’s something for everyone.

Louis & Louise by Julie Cohen (Orion)

In 1979, in a small Maine town called Casablanca, Peggy and Irving Alder welcome their first child. In one reality, they have a boy, Louis, and in their second, a girl, Louise. The two have similar interests, identical friends, and both dream of moving to New York, but because their genders are different, they’re not treated in the same way. This tender and thought-provoking novel explores the reasons why.

The Distance Home by Paula Saunders (Picador)

Set in South Dakota in the 1960s, this evocative, moving and deeply immersive novel follows an average family torn apart by expectation. Older brother Leon shares his passion for dancing with his younger sister René, but their father refuses to indulge in his ballet-mad son’s ambitions. There is an undeniable beauty to this epic portrayal of the complex and intimate nature of human relationships – well worth a read.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins)

When nine university friends head to the Scottish Highlands to see in the New Year, the plan is to catch up and kick back. But when the clock strikes midnight, a body is discovered in the snow. Unable to flee after the blizzard blows in, the occupants find themselves trapped with a murderer – but who struck the final blow? The suspense will keep you reading long after lights out.

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield (Doubleday)

On a dark winter night, at an inn along the Thames, a group of locals have gathered to share stories when a far more curious tale staggers in right through the doors. The man who appears is dripping wet and bleeding profusely, but most peculiarly of all, he is carrying the body of a young girl – a child all those present agree is dead… until she opens her eyes. Brimming with folklore, intrigue and romance, this is a story to savour.

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell (Hodder & Stoughton)

Life has begun to look a little beige for 79-year-old Peggy. Her bladder is weakening, her crush on the suave Brian is not reciprocated and her children assume that dementia is only a matter of time. The fact is, Peggy’s life is in dire need of an overhaul. So, when her old friend Angie offers to take our heroine under her very colourful wing, Peggy plays along… with hugely entertaining results. Funny and heart-warming.

The Binding by Bridget Collins (Borough Press)

Emmett Farmer has the same suspicions about bookbinding – the practice by which troubled souls can bind their traumas, fears and deepest secrets into a book – as most people. Struck down with an illness that leaves him unable to work, he feels compelled to accept the position of a bookbinder’s apprentice. Then one day, in the dusty vault under the workshop, Emmett discovers a book bearing his own name. A captivating, inventive and unforgettable story.

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond (Macmillan)

Discovering an unopened letter from her late mother fills Frankie with joy – until she opens it. Reeling from the contents, she hotfoots it up to Yorkshire to track down the Mortimer family and get some answers. This endlessly enjoyable drama puts even the most dysfunctional families in the shade – brilliant fun.

Scrublands by Chris Hammer (Wildfire)

This compelling novel is set in a remote Australian town and follows a journalist investigating a shocking act of violence.

Between the Lies by Michelle Adams (Headline)

Struggling to regain her memory after an accident, Chloe turns to her family for help, but is she foolish to trust them?

The Anniversary by Hilary Boyd (Penguin)

Divided by tragedy, Stella and Jack are drawn together once more in this riveting novel.

Village of the Lost Girls by Augustín Martínez (Quercus)

Set in the Pyrenees, this creepy and atmospheric thriller charts the mystery of two missing 11-year-olds.

The Cult on Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein (HQ)

Written by a former Scientologist, this unsettling drama peers under the lid of life within a sinister cult.

The Last Lie by Alex Lake (Harper Collins)

A tense and twisty domestic noir that oozes with intrigue. Perfect for devouring in one sitting.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman (Orion)

It’s been 30 years since Audrey’s family was shattered by tragedy. Her daughters, Jess and Lily, no longer speak. Now, however, with death galloping up to meet her, Audrey finds it impossible to ignore the past any longer. Determined to heal the rift between the sisters, Audrey attempts to right the wrongs – but is she ready to confront her own ghosts? A compelling yet tender tale.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright (Simon & Schuster)

From the very first page of this mesmerising novel, you know life has gone seriously awry for Cornelia Blackwood – and things get steadily worse from there on in. Why are her friends unable to look her in the eye, and why did her husband lie about where he was going? The truth, as it emerges, is as heartbreaking as it is captivating, and you’re left with no choice but to put life on hold while you race to the end.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls (Zaffre)

Set in 1612 against the backdrop of the Pendle witch trials, Fleetwood Shuttleworth is pregnant for the fourth time but the 17-year-old is yet to become a mother. Fearing for her own and her unborn child’s life, she enlists the help of a local midwife, Alice Gray. When the young woman’s mysterious remedies bring her under suspicion of witchcraft, however, Fleetwood faces a tough choice, because saving Alice means risking herself…

Adèle by Leïla Slimani (Faber & Faber)

From the bestselling author of Lullaby comes this new and equally sharp-edged literary tale about love, desire and female sexuality. Adèle appears to have it all – a loving husband, a young son and a beautiful apartment in Paris – but she is plagued by an ardent need to be wanted. This compulsion for sex leads Adèle towards a number of affairs, but the more she is gripped by her addiction, the closer she veers towards catastrophe. Erotic fiction at its best.

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan (Two Roads)

Author Ruth Hogan’s debut The Keeper of Lost Things was a huge hit, yet this, her third novel, resonates more enjoyably. Tilly relished every moment she spent at Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel in Brighton as a child, so when her mother moved her away to a bleak boarding school for no apparent reason, it had a marked effect on the once-bubbly girl. Now an adult, Tilda’s determined to return home, but is she ready for the truth that will follow?

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (Scribner UK)

On a remote college campus in Southern California, a female student falls asleep and does not wake up. Nobody can rouse her, and soon, others begin to succumb. The virus spreads rapidly and the area is quickly quarantined, leaving those trapped inside with a mystery to unravel. Told through the voices of several different characters in prose that is hauntingly beautiful, this is a story to let yourself get lost in.

We Must be Brave by Frances Liardet (Fourth Estate)

The year is 1940, and Britain is adjusting to the realities of war. When Ellen finds four-year-old Pamela abandoned on a bus, she feels compelled to take the girl into her home. As their bond strengthens, the idea of losing Pamela becomes increasingly abhorrent. But all is not fair in love and war. Be prepared to weep…

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce (Wildfire)

Not for the faint-hearted, this disturbing tale expertly weaves together murder, sex and mystery for a plot with added bite.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Little, Brown)

A man is found dead in the outback and it looks like a bizarre suicide, but his brother’s not convinced…

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Orion)

When a painter shoots her husband and stays quiet, it’s up to psychotherapist Theo to get her talking.

The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor (Michael Joseph)

From the author of The Chalk Man comes an equally creepy story about missing children.

The Secretary by Renée Knight (Doubleday)

Obsession is at the heart of this menacing tale, which unpicks the relationship between boss and employee.

Little Liar by Lisa Ballantyne (Piatkus)

A pupil accuses her teacher of abuse, but all is not as it seems. A thought-provoking book.

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