When the weather's cold and gloomy, what better way to spend your time than curled up at home with a good book?
If your resolution was to read more but you’re not sure where to start, check out these five top novels from 2018. You’ll be happily lost amongst their pages in no time!
Here are the books you should read in 2019:
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
One night in 1785, merchant John Hancock anxiously awaits the return of his ship full of goods but instead a knock at the door brings him something unexpected: a mermaid. As the news of his curiosity spreads across London, Hancock is flung into the strange world of collectors, courtesans and the beautiful Angelica Neal.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is a luxurious and moving historical fiction that fully immerses you into the 18th century setting. The characters are fully fleshed-out, with varying and believable motivations that are compelling enough to keep you hooked through to the end. The character of Angelica Neal is a particularly fascinating perspective to read from: the highs and lows of a celebrated courtesan in the late 1700s. Overall, a charming and very well-written historical fiction with an immersive setting and fantastic characters.
The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
The Italian Teacher begins in Rome, 1955, at a party to celebrate the artist Bear Bavinsky. Bear is one of the most controversial and fiercest painters of the 20th century and his larger-than-life personality seduces everyone he meets.
Bear’s son, Charles 'Pinch' Bavinsky, watches from the sidelines, loving his father as much as he fears him. Living in his father’s shadow, Pinch desperately tries to live an impressive life, but after a career of compromise, Pinch exacts an unexpected rebellion that will forever leave a mark on his father’s legacy.
The Italian Teacher is a beautifully written, slow-building, character-driven novel with a plot that ramps up to keep you on the edge of your seat. Tom Rachman's reflections on the importance of status and character and how we leave a mark on the world is truly thought-provoking.
From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
From A Low and Quiet Sea is told from the perspectives of three men – Farouk has fled from a war-torn country, Lampy is heartbroken in a small town and John is tormented by his past as he makes his last confessions. They are three very different men whose stories crash together in unexpected ways. Donal Ryan is a master of structure and exquisite storytelling. It’s a fairly short read at under 200 pages but so much emotion and detail is conveyed in that short space that it’ll leave you reeling. From a Low and Quiet Sea is a reflection on empathy, familial strain and how the past echoes through the present.
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree home for the elderly. As she waits for someone to find her, she reflects on her past, the charming new resident at Cherry Tree and if he really is who he claims to be, then why does he look exactly like a man from Florence’s past? A man who died 60 years ago? Three Things About Elsie explores the threads that tie us together, the acts that do or don’t define us and how the smallest of lives can leave the biggest imprints. It’s an engaging and heartfelt story about ageing, friendship and memory, with a compelling mystery at its heart.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small Northern Irish town but have lived totally different lives. Connell is well-liked at school whilst Marianne is a bit of an outcast. Connell's mother works as a cleaner for Marianne's family and one day, when the two strike up an unexpected conversation, something begins which will forever alter the fabric of their lives. Normal People is a love story without being a romance. It presents the raw truth of the youthful experience of love and explores how the unsaid things can twist a relationship and the people within it.
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