Our favourite books of 2019!
Tudor House, 22 High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3AW
The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker
When the Greek Queen Helen is kidnapped by Trojans, the Greeks sail in pursuit, besieging the city of Troy. Trapped in the Greek soldiers' camp is another captured queen, Briseis. Condemned to be bed-slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her family, she becomes a pawn in a menacing game between bored and frustrated warriors. In the centuries after this most famous war, history will write her off, a footnote in a bloody story scripted by vengeful men - but Briseis has a very different tale to tell . . .
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don't remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.
Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.
But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling.
The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.
Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.
The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen
Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries. Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names - they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.
When William discovers letters addressed simply to 'My Great Love' his work takes on new meaning.
Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn't met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn't know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?
William must follow the clues in Winter's letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation - awkward but electrifying - something life-changing begins.
Normal People is a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find they can't.
Disturbance by Marianne Kavanagh
Sara is lonely. No one talks to her - not even her bad-tempered workaholic husband or her two beloved sons. Her solace is her house, the biggest in the village, hidden away behind high hedges.
Then she strikes up a friendship with Katie, a college student living nearby, and a new world opens up. Her neighbours have been dying to get to know her, and they rush to help when Sara is devastated by a terrible accident.
But nothing is quite what it seems. And when new betrayals and shocking revelations disturb her peace, Sara realises she has no choice: she must act to protect the safety of those she loves.
From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
Farouk’s country has been torn apart by war.
Lampy’s heart has been laid waste by Chloe.
John’s past torments him as he nears his end.
The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.
Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals.
As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.
Disobedience by Naomi Alderman
Ronit has left London and transformed her life. She has become a cigarette-smoking, wise-cracking, New York career woman, who is in love with a married man.
But when Ronit's father dies she is called back into the very different world of her childhood, a world she thought she had left far behind. The orthodox Jewish suburb of Hendon, north London is outraged by Ronit and her provocative ways. But Ronit is shocked too by the confrontation with her past. And when she meets up with her childhood girlfriend Esti, she is forced to think again about what she has left behind.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.
Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja's salvation is just the beginning of her story.
Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival.
Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks
American academic Hannah and runaway Moroccan teenager Tariq have little in common, yet both find themselves haunted by the ghosts of Paris.
Hannah listens to the extraordinary witness of women living under the German Occupation and finds a city bursting with clues, connections and past love affairs, while in the migrant suburbs Tariq is searching for a mother he barely knew. Urgent and deeply moving, Paris Echo asks how much we really need to know in order to live a valuable life.
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn't supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.
Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.
As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?
Soon the two women's lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood's stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.
The Love Detective by Angela Dyson
Clarry is 26, attractive, funny - and on the road to nowhere. Living a makeshift existence as a waitress, she knows life should be led with some sort of plan, but unfortunately planning is something she needs to get around to. Enter her best friend Laura with a seemingly simple request: check out Simon, estate agent and new boyfriend, to make sure he really is interested in Laura and not the solicitor help she can provide. Clarry is no detective, unless you count tracking down where her next tip is coming from. Still, what harm could a little amateur sleuthing do?
With the aid of Flan, a glamorous septuagenarian, Flan's lover, and a cast of colourful characters from the restaurant she works at, Clarry plunges into the investigation with a few pitfalls, pratfalls and a dodgy moment where she's mistaken as a pole dancer (and not in a good way). It isn't until 1) she discovers that Simon's a two-timing creep, and 2) in a sinister turn, she uncovers an evil criminal enterprise, that she realises amateur sleuthing is not for the faint of heart! Cynical and yet romantic, Clarry is an unlikely heroine that readers will both identify and fall in love with. Her misadventures and comical outlook mesh brilliantly with a thrilling story that will appeal to readers of romance, crime and chick lit. Set to be the first in an entertaining new series, you don't need to follow the clues to know The Love Detective is one book you don't want to miss out on!