Lesley Pearse's book recommendations – six reads the bestselling author loves

On the 2nd of July 2020, Lesley Pearse was Woman & Home's Book Club guest on Books I Have Loved.

Lesley Pearse

With fans all over the world and 10 million of her books sold, Lesley Pearse is the bestselling author of 28 novels. She joins Woman & Home Book Club to share the six books that have had a lasting impact on her life, and we captured the moments on video.

Lesley also discusses her latest book, Liar, a psychological thriller set in the 1970s. In this gripping tale, an aspiring journalist is horrified to discover a murder victim, but the killer isn’t stopping at just one…

Although Lesley went on to become one of the UK’s best-loved writers, as a child Lesley struggled with dyslexia, and wasn’t confident about reading until she was 10. But once she mastered it Lesley quickly became a voracious reader, enjoying the moral tales in story magazines. She quickly moved on to tackling major works of fiction.

MORE: Join woman&home Book Club for a lunchtime chat with author Karen Swan

6 book recommendations from Lesley Pearse

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Aged 12, she discovered A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, which follows some of the most brutal excesses of the French Revolution. She even dressed up as the merciless Madame Defarge, who was a regular spectator at the guillotine. Lesley still treasures the set of Dickens books given to her by her aunt.

SHOP NOW: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

2. Girl by Edna O’Brien

Lesley has been a fan of Edna O’Brien’s writing for many years, and she has also chosen her most recent book, Girl, as one of her top six. It’s an unflinching, first-person account of a young schoolgirl who is among the captives taken by jihadis in Nigeria. Like many of the characters in Lesley’s own books, she suffers dreadful hardships and cruelties, yet manages to carve out a new life for herself.

SHOP NOW: Girl by Edna O’Brien, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

3. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christie Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christie Lefteri is Lesley’s third choice – and one that has converted her to audio books. The rich, reassuring voice of Art Malik won her over straight away, and Lesley says, ‘I was sorry when this book ended’.

SHOP NOW: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christie Lefteri, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

4. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

Going back to the 1970s, Lesley was given a copy of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet by her husband John. ‘He looked very much like the portrait of Khalil Gibran himself,’ says Lesley, ‘with dark eyes and curly hair.’ She read a passage from the book at her daughter’s wedding, and loves the poetic philosophy of this enduringly popular book.

SHOP NOW: The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

5. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Her stepmother was a ‘dragon’ but had a major impact on Lesley’s life – not least because she encouraged her love of books and storytelling. Lesley remembers the first book that made both her and her stepmother cry with laughter – Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm. ‘It made me see my stepmother in a different light,’ she recalls. It’s a brilliantly funny account of the cool and pragmatic Flora Poste, who goes to live with her ramshackle relatives on a country farm. Each is miserable in one way or another, but through unassailable logic and strategic thinking, Flora sets the world to rights for all of them.

SHOP NOW: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

6. Sun Signs by Linda Goodman

Her final choice is Sun Signs by Linda Goodman – a classic read for anyone interested in understanding the fundamentals of astrology. Among her many careers before becoming a writer, Lesley was an astrologer and this book helped her along the way. As a Pisces, she realised she had a great skill in identifying people’s birth signs – always useful at parties!

SHOP NOW: Sun Signs by Linda Goodman, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Lesley Pearse's latest book

Lesley Pearse's latest novel is LIAR.

SHOP NOW: Liar by Lesley Pearse, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

What is the order of Lesley Pearse's books?

Liar is Lesley's 28th book. Her 27th other books are as follows, ordered by most recent:

You'll Never See Me Again – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

The House Across The Street – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

The Woman In The Wood – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Dead To Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Without A Trace – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Survivor – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Forgive Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

The Promise – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Belle – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Georgia – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Tara – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Camelia – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Ellie – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Charity – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Stolen – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Faith – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Hope – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

A Lesser Evil – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Father Unknown – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Never Look Back – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Rosie – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Secrets – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Remember Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Till We Meet Again – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Trust Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Charlie – SHOP NOW, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Gypsy – SHOP NOW, Waterstones (opens in new tab)

Happy reading!

Jane Kemp is the Features Director for Woman & Home, Woman's Weekly, Woman and Woman's Own. She's worked in journalism for many years, mostly in Women's consumer magazines, and enjoyed a long stint at Practical Parenting while her own four children were little. These days, her interests are more focussed on gardens and books, and she has taken great pleasure in seeing the expansion of books coverage in all the titles, as well as big-name authors writing exclusive fiction for Woman & Home and Woman's Weekly.