Our list of the best eBooks features stories that have all been huge bestsellers on the eBook charts over the past year, downloaded in their thousands (or millions) by eReader fans all over the world.
It's not surprising that more of us are reading books as eBooks than ever before. They're a great way to devour the latest must-reads quickly, easily, and without having to venture out to the shops. Simply fire up one of the best eReaders, and you're good to go.
But which titles have been getting us turning the (digital) pages recently? The below list of the best eBooks are some of the most downloaded of the last 12 months. And while all books are great to read as eBooks, these ones in particular have captured the attention of readers wanting to consume novels digitally, rather than via print books.
From chart-busting psychological thrillers to relationship dramas—and a backlist title with links to the pandemic—here are 15 of the best ebooks to add to your digital library, whether you prefer read on one of the best Kindles, or on another device.
The best eBooks to read in 2021
1. The Couple at No.9 by Claire Douglas
When Saffron and her boyfriend Tom move into 9 Skelton Place, the couple are unlucky enough to find two bodies buried under the patio in their back garden. After contacting the police, they reach out to Saffron's grandmother Rose who used to live in the property...but what exactly does she remember, and are the newly-moved in couple now in danger?
2. Holding by Graham Norton
In a small Irish village, we meet Sergeant PJ Collins, who is feeling down on his luck and facing issues in his policing career—as well as Brid Riordan and Evelyn Ross, who are also dealing with personal issues. But when human remains are found in this small village, the worlds of the residents begin to collide and implode...
3. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
A Sunday Times bestseller and arguably one of the best books of 2021, The Beekeeper of Aleppo centers around the story of Nuri, a beekeeper and his wife Afra, at the time of the Syrian Civil War. When everything they love is destroyed, they are forced to join the movement of refugees traveling to Europe—and experience dangers, loss and emotional journeys in the process.
4. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Genre: Comic mystery
The Thursday Murder Club has featured on an enormous number of bestseller lists this year, so it's really no surprise that it's one of the best eBooks of the past 12 months either. The debut novel from Pointless host Richard Osman, is set around a group of four senior citizens, who meet weekly to discuss unsolved crimes. But when a local developer in their area is found dead, the friends all find themselves in the midst of an actual, ongoing murder case. A page-turning, unexpectedly comic novel with some excellent characters.
5. Worst Idea Ever by Jane Fallon
Genre: Feel-good comedy
In Worst Idea Ever, Georgia sets up fake social media account to help support her best friend Lydia's failing business. But she soon find out that this little white lie could lead to everything unraveling, when Lydia decides to confide in her new online 'friend' about the possibility of Georgia's husband Nick having an affair...a clever, funny page-turner that you won't be able to put down.
6. The Holiday by T.M Logan
Kate and three of her best friends (as well as their husbands and kids) head off to the South of France for what is meant to be a wonderful, relaxing break to celebrate their collective 40th birthdays. But what was meant to be a fun family holiday soon descends into chaos, when Kate begins to suspect her husband is having an affair—with one of her friends in a room just down the hall. It has featured on multiple bestseller lists and we can certainly see why—it's one of the best thriller books on this list.
7. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
First published back in August 2018, this spellbinding slow-burn of a debut novel caught the attention of both Richard and Judy’s Book Club and Reese Witherspoon, who’s also snapped up the movie rights. The book, which begins in the 1950s among the marshlands of North Carolina, is a coming-of-age murder mystery with a bewitching protagonist at its heart. As vivid as it is affecting, the story is one that will stay with you long after reading. Thoroughly deserving of its meteoric success.
8. Normal People by Sally Rooney
One of the biggest TV highlights of the year so far – and if you don’t believe us, just check the viewing figures – the BBC adaptation of Normal People saw the series’ source material storm back up the ebook charts when the show premiered at the end of April. A story of first love, it tracks the on-off relationship between Marianne and Connell, whose experiences of growing up in the same small Irish town are a world apart. Fresh, intelligent and deeply moving, it’s a story that is not only relatable but unforgettable – no wonder the reading public can’t get enough.
9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Genre: Psychological thriller
With an ongoing sales track more relentless than a Duracell bunny, it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone left who is yet to read this sizzling slice of twisty fiction. Forensic psychologist Theo has been tasked with finding out why successful (and seemingly happy) artist Alicia shot and killed her husband – but she is refusing to speak. Gripping from the off, it’s an accomplished debut that demands a compulsive and immersive reading experience. Make sure your eReader battery is fully charged before diving in.
10. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
Genre: Historical fiction
The pre-orders alone for Mantel’s long-awaited third novel in the Wolf Hall trilogy toppled over 15,000, and that number has continued to rise since the book’s release in March. This time we’re with Oliver Cromwell from 1536-1540, following his rise and subsequent demise by execution. Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2020, this mighty tome does not look likely to leave the top of any chart for quite some time—and rightly so. One of the best historical fiction books of the last few years.
11. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
One of the best romance books, the premise for this charming novel is a simple one—Tiffy and Leon share a flat, Tiffy and Leon share a bed, Tiffy and Leon have never met— yet it has gone on to capture the hearts of many thousands of readers around the world. The winning formula of loveable characters, irresistible chemistry, sizzling sex and a ‘this-could-easily-happen-to-me’ plot has secured O’Leary’s status as a major talent to watch.
12. The Shrine by LJ Ross
With schemes such as Kindle Unlimited raking in millions of dollars in revenue each year for authors, the choice to go down the self-publishing route has never been more alluring. LJ Ross is proof that when you produce a quality product, the rewards will be plentiful. Almost 40,000 readers pre-ordered The Shrine, which is the author’s 16th novel featuring her County Durham copper DCI Ryan, making it one of the best eBooks of recent years.
13. The Eyes Of Darkness by Dean Koontz
We imagine nobody was more surprised than Koontz himself when this backlist thriller sneaked into the ebook Top 10 recently. Originally published in 1981, it’s about a mother hellbent on discovering how and why her son died on a camping trip. However, the thing that brought it back into the spotlight was its mention of a deadly virus named ‘Wuhan 400’. Conspiracy theorists were quick to get their collective smalls in a twist, with some claiming the writer had somehow seen the coronavirus outbreak coming. While not psychic, Koontz is a brilliant writer, so at least this story has a happy ending.
14. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
A favourite in many book club books lists, barely a week has passed since the initial publication of this standout American novel when it wasn’t lurking near the top of the chart. The novel’s ebook sales got a huge boost when the TV adaptation—produced by and starring Reese Witherspoon—arrived on Amazon Prime in mid-March 2021. After opening with the titular little fires, the narrative takes us back to the start of a suburban summer that will see the lives of four women change irrevocably.
15. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
More than a year since its publication, the Booker-winning Girl, Woman, Other continues to dominate both the ebook and hardcopy charts. Set in London, it follows the lives of 12 characters—mostly black women—of all ages and walks of life, deftly examining issues around feminism, sexuality, patriarchy and the bonds of family. With the accolades raining down on Evarist, including glowing praise from readers such as Barack Obama, her eighth novel has become the epitome of a must-read, and is one of the best feminist books of recent years.
Isabelle Broom is the author of eight escapist fiction novels. She won the Romantic Novelist’s Association Best Contemporary Romance Novel award in 2019 and The Great British Write Off short story competition in 2015, with her winning entry, The Wedding Speech, later being adapted into a short film.
Following a degree in Media Arts from the University of West London, she spent an eventful summer working in a bar on a Greek island, became an avid traveller, and vowed to one day write stories set in all her favourite locations around the world. Before this dream became a reality, Isabelle spent a gloriously fun 11 years working at heat magazine,
As well as heading off on adventures abroad—a pastime she now gets to call ‘research’—Isabelle is lucky enough to write book reviews and travel features on a freelance basis. To find out more about her novels—and her mildly chaotic Suffolk-based life—you can visit isabellebroom.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@isabelle_broom) or search for Isabelle Broom Author on Facebook.
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