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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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!
Lesley Pearse's latest book
Lesley Pearse's latest novel is LIAR.
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
The House Across The Street – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
The Woman In The Wood – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Dead To Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Without A Trace – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Survivor – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Forgive Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
The Promise – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Belle – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Georgia – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Tara – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Camelia – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Ellie – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Charity – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Stolen – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Faith – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Hope – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
A Lesser Evil – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Father Unknown – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Never Look Back – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Rosie – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Secrets – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Remember Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Till We Meet Again – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Trust Me – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
Charlie – SHOP NOW, Amazon
Gypsy – SHOP NOW, Waterstones
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. She was also very proud to be a scriptwriter on the BBC's children's show Balamory. 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. In her own time she is a botanical artist and enjoys swimming in a heated pool - definitely not the wild variety so enthusiastically embraced by many of her colleagues...
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