It doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was letting you lovely readers know who had been shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction. Without a shadow of a doubt the competition this year was tough and it must have been difficult for the judges to make a decision. But on the 3rd June Ali Smith’s ‘How to be Both’ was crowned the winner. Congratulations to Ali and all the other wonderful authors who made both the long and short list, but above all an incredibly big thank you to Bailey’s Prize for highlighting women’s fiction and celebrating their vision and talent. Now if all this talk has got you wondering what to read this month, here are a few suggestions.
Behold Sarah by Lindy Henny
Sarah has reached a point in her life where she lacks the enthusiasm to live anymore. She’s lost her lover and her sister and has to make a decision whether she should end her life or continue living? If you’re sat there thinking this sounds incredibly bleak, you’re misunderstood. Sarah reflects on her life and key memories and in doing so is able to heal herself.
The book deals with topics that most readers, if not all, will be able to relate to; growing older, family, sex, being a mother, parents and death. The style of writing is honest and insightful, although it starts off a little slow, I eventually came to love Sarah and her honesty about life’s sometimes larger questions. Another interesting thing about this novel is the style of writing and its incorporation of poetry and drama, certain moments reminded me of the work of the late and great playwright Sarah Kane.
Lindy Henny has penned a novel of beauty here, which will take you on your own journey of self discovery. In a world where we’re told to keep moving onward and upwards, this one will help you see that sometimes you need to come to peace with yourself and your past before you can realise the beauty of your life in the present day.
Behold Sarah is published by Clink Street Publishing and is available for the Kindle from amazon.co.uk (RRP £3.99) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)
Normal by Graeme Cameron
There’s something I love about a good crime fiction novel but Normal was not what I was expecting at all. I might be an amateur reader of this genre but I have never read anything written from the perspective of the killer and that’s exactly what Graeme Cameron has given us here.
The great thing about this novel is the constant sense of tension that seemed to hang in the air, knowing what he’s capable of and following him as he stalks his victims makes this an incredibly tense read. It’s the literary equivalent of watching a scary movie and urging the innocent girl to run to safety and not turn around. When he captures one victim and holds her prisoner in a basement, things slowly begin to unravel and the tables get turned in a rather intriguing twist.
Normal was a definite page-turner (I got through it in a day) exciting, tense and chilling. It’s hard to believe that this Graeme’s debut novel, for me the ending was something of an anti-climax however the fact that you never learn the murderers name or any aspect of his appearance makes this a true mystery and a breath of fresh air in this genre of writing.
Normal is published by Harlequin MIRA and is available for the Kindle from amazon.co.uk (RRP £3.99) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)
Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
Last but in no ways least is Techbitch. This one piqued my interest because its like a more modern version of The Devil Wears Prada only with more backstabbing and much more likeable characters. Imogen Tate returns to work after being on sabbatical to find her old assistant Eve sitting in her office, as if this isn’t confusing enough, Imogen is told that the successful fashion magazine she led to success for years no longer exists, not in the traditional sense anyway. Eve has turned it into an app, which means Imogen not only has to get to grips with technology but the ego of her much changed assistant.
This book had all the elements that make something an enjoyable read in my opinion, it had plenty of drama, some heartbreak and lots of genuine humour. Imogen is such a great character and it’s hard not to love her and spur her on to succeed, as she gets to grips with the changing world of online fashion content and the correct context in which to use YOLO (something which even I struggle with)
Techbitch is relatable to all women, it shows the depths of ferocity of which some women are willing to go in order to succeed, whilst teaching the lesson that playing nice and keeping cool also has its benefits and rewards. I loved the style of writing and felt that all the storylines progressed at the right pace and the outcomes were satisfying, I almost punched my fist in the air in style of Judd Nelson at the end of Breakfast Club when I finished the book. Humorous, touching and about as addictive as shoe shopping, Techbitch is one book that you should stick on your to read list.
Techbitch is published Penguin and is available on the Kindle from amazon.co.uk (RRP £7.99) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)