Brilliant Books To Read In 2017

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  • For gothic suspense…The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox (Orion) A young journalist stumbles upon the reclusive Leda Grey, once an aspiring silent-movie star now living in a dilapidated clifftop house. Can he find out what brought her here? Shades of Sunset Boulevard in this atmospheric chiller. Buy here

    For historical epics…

    Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney (Quercus) Against a backdrop of Arctic wilderness, a 19th-century love affair is played out between explorers Flora Mackie and Jakob de Beyn, members of two rival Arctic expeditions. Atmospheric and absorbing. Buy here.

    For an exotic adventure…

    The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer (Bantam) Be transported to 19th-century Japan, into the life of Okatsu, a young woman who grows up to be the Shogun’s Queen. Impeccably researched, packed with intrigue, adventure and romance, this is a wonderful evocation of a bygone time. Buy here.

    A killer condundrum…The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer (Bantam) Murder is part of TV reporter Eve Singer’s job. But when a killer contacts her directly, it threatens to become part of her life too. Polished and breathtakingly tense, this novel of obsession and murder takes a firm grip from the start. Buy here

    A zany debut…The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (Fig Tree) Charles Wang is ruined by the 2008 global financial collapse. He embarks on a road trip across America to round up his loved ones before heading to the family property in China. Funny, engrossing novel about a family in crisis. Buy here

    Pulse-racing crime…Gallows Drop by Mari Hannah (Macmillan) A body hanging from an ancient gallows kicks off this terrific page-turner that’s dark and twisting. If, like me, you haven’t read one of Hannah’s novels featuring DCI Kate Daniels before – start now! You’ve a treat in store. Buy here

    For family drama…

    Cousins by Salley Vickers (Viking) Student Will Tye’s accident changes everything for his family. The repercussions are seen through the eyes of his sister, grandmother and aunt as lives are unpicked, secrets aired. A subtle unravelling that reeled me in and wouldn’t let me go. Buy here.

    An explosive thriller…

    The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer (Sphere) After the international megaselling Twilight, Meyer turns her hand to her first thriller. An ex-US government agent is on the run from her former employers but to clear her name and save her life, she must take one last job. Will she survive? Buy here.

    For cosy Christmas evenings…Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg (Michael Joseph) Hygge (pron. Hoo-gah) is the hot new lifestyle trend. This beautifully illustrated book shows how to make the right tweaks to improve your life. Buy here.

    For festive crime…The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by PD James (Faber) Four deliciously puzzling Christmas short stories by one of our greatest writers of classic crime. Buy here.

    For the animals lovers…The Goodness of Dogs by India Knight (Fig tree) For anyone even thinking about getting a dog, this is the book for them. A witty, personal and sane guide to dog ownership with charming illustrations. Buy here.

    A heart-warming tale…Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom (Canongate) An injured magpie chick transforms the lives of the Bloom family in this touching and inspiring personal story with wonderful photographs. Buy here.

    Hilarious hijinx…Spoon’s Carpets by Kit Caless (Square Peg) A tapestry of bespoke carpet designs from Wetherspoon boozers all over the country with entertaining commentaries on each. Quirky and great fun. Buy here.

    For a modern guide to life…The Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guides by Ada Adverse (Mills & Boon) Marrying classic period photos with brilliant new captions, comes a new series of hilarious indispensable guides to life. Buy here.

    For green-fingered friends…Lives of the Great Gardeners by Stephen Anderton (Thames and Hudson) Illustrated account of the lives and work of 40 gardeners over 500 years from all over the world that’s both fascinating and gorgeous to look at. Buy here.

    For history buffs…Queen Bees by Siân Evans (Two Roads) An irresistible and witty account of six extraordinary women who bucked the system to become society hostesses in the years between the two world wars. Buy here.

    OR Try woman&home’s reading room pick…

    DECEMBER’S CHOICEDid You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg (Vintage) Our online book club is free to join and each month we send a book to 25 readers to review. This month’s choice is the story of June Reid who wakes on the morning of her daughter’s wedding to find a gas explosion has killed her entire family. As she flees, the story is told by a chorus of voices, each one linked with those who have died. Join in at

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