Who better to ask for a curated collection of riveting reads than Epsom’s Waterstones. So, whether you’re heading on your holidays in need of a new read or seeking some personal escapism, we’ve got you covered…
An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
Recipient of the 2019 Women’s Prize, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a truly phenomenal novel. Following young, newly married African-American couple Celestial and Roy, a mostly happy relationship is pushed to its limits when Roy is imprisoned for a crime Celestial knows he did not commit. Jones uses perspective brilliantly in this novel, as there are three POV’s from which we read, and you find yourself fully empathising with each character in turn, despite their starkly different take on events. There are a number of themes that are deftly and incisively tackled in this book – institutional racism, gender roles, abuse of power and toxic masculinity to name a few, and Jones invites you to consider these things from all perspectives, and you’ll find yourself thinking about this book for a very long time to come.
Lowborn, Kerry Hudson
This memoir from author Kerry Hudson is a moving and harrowing insight into the lives and struggles of the UK underclass. Hudson recounts her childhood and teenage years with great courage and candour, describing her tempestuous relationship with her mother, being in and out of care as a very young child and the constant feelings of inadequacy and contempt that came from being below the poverty line. She also returns to the various places in which she lived, speaking to many people about the changes (or lack thereof) that have occurred there and meeting with people doing positive work for their communities. An enlightening, emotional and unforgettable read.
The Whisper Man, Alex North
A great summer reading pick, this debut thriller is sinister, creepy and incredibly atmospheric, with a very human heart at its core. The story unfolds around a recently bereaved father who, with his son, moves into a new home – just as a young boy goes missing in a case unnervingly similar to a rash of abductions twenty years ago perpetrated by “The Whisper Man”. Found guilty and imprisoned, he has been behind bars the whole time, yet the circumstances of the boy’s disappearance ring alarm bells for the policeman responsible for The Whisper Man’s capture so many years ago. The relationships in this book really shine through the dark and grim events, and make this thriller stand out from many others – as the tension mounts up, so does your concern and empathy for the suffering father and son, and there are some truly spine-tingling moments when “The Whisper Man” pays the young son a visit…
Pages & Co: Tilly and the Book Wanderers, Anna Jones
A truly marvellous and magical book for kids and big kids alike! Tilly lives with her grandparents above their bookshop and loves losing herself in the pages of her favourite novels, all the while wondering what fate befell her mother who disappeared without a trace one day. Suddenly characters from her beloved books begin appearing through the magic of “book-wandering” and she sets out on a quest into the pages of various books, experiencing a mad tea-party and finding herself on a pirate ship, all to try and find out the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. A charming, comforting and delightful read for any bookworm, young or old.