Every year I carefully select at least one book for each member of my family. They are gifted with love and the hope that they will bring joy over the long, summer holidays. In 2020 we received a bumper crop of great books in the latter part of the year. There are so many different genres to suit all tastes. Here are just a few recommendations to keep your reading goals for 2021 on track.
All Our Shimmering Skies by The Gap’s favourite son, Trent Dalton, had arguably the most beautiful cover design of the year. It’s an epic tale set in Darwin as the bombs are raining down in 1942. The heroine, 12 year old Molly Hook, has endured a miserable life but is still stoic and hopeful. She sets off on a quest to find Longcoat Bob, who some say has put a curse on her family. She is aided by the flinty but glamorous actress , Greta Maze and Japanese fighter pilot, Yukio. She receives gifts and messages from the sky and travels through the most beautiful scenery in the Top End. The characters are memorable, the writing poetic and this tome is set to become a beloved Australian classic. One for everyone.
The Godmothers by Monica McInerney is a heartwarming story for those who like books that feel like a warm hug. It tells the story of Eliza Miller, who grew up in Australia, the only daughter of a troubled young mother, but with the constant support of two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie. She always felt loved and secure. Until just before her eighteenth birthday, a tragic event changed her life. Thirteen years later she lives her life as safely as possible. Out of the blue an invitation from one of her godmothers forces her to leap into the unknown.Within a fortnight Eliza finds herself amongst a complicated family in Edinburgh, where she begins to blossom. She finds herself ready to explore the past and try to solve the biggest mystery of all – who is her father? Travel to Scotland, England and Ireland in this big hug of a book that will fill your heart to bursting.
The Survivors by Australia’s ‘ Queen of Crime’ Jane Harper is a crackling crime thriller set in a seaside town. Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt haunts him when he returns home with his young family to pack up his parent’s home. When a body is discovered on the beach, long held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl and questions that have never washed away….
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is a domestic noir in the style of Liane Moriarty. We first meet twin sisters Fern and Rose. Fern Castle works at her local library. Her orderly life consists of dinner with her sister three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be….. dangerous. When Rose discovers she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything she has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love. I devoured this story in two days and the twists and turns kept me awake long into the night.
The Champagne War by Fiona McIntosh is a beautifully researched historical romance from one of Australia’s best loved authors. I’ve been to the Champagne region and this book brought back many happy memories and taught me even more about the history of Champagne making. It tells the story of Sophie Delancre, a fifth generation champenoise. Sophie is a new bride whose husband Jerome Mea goes off to war, certain he’ll be home by Christmas. As the years go on authorities declare Jerome missing, presumed dead. A British chemist and soldier, Charles Nash, is brought to repatriate from his injuries in Reims where Sophie has created an underground hospital. In the dark, ancient champagne cellars, their stirring emotions take them both by surprise. When Sophie battles to keep her vineyard going through the bombings, a critical sugar shortage forces her to strike a dangerous bargain, but nothing will test her courage more than the news that filters through to her about the fate of her heroic Jerome. This story takes you from the killing fields of Ypres through to the sun drenched vineyards in the South of France. A sprawling tale of heart stopping adventure about the true power of love and hope to light the way during war. Fiona McIntosh can certainly weave a magical story.
In the strange year that was 2020, books proved to be a comfort, a means to travel to a different place and an escape from the everyday. There is a book to suit everyone and a good book can be medicine for your soul. In 2021 I’ll keep buzzing about new releases, reading a book (or two) a week and looking for your recommendations on what I should be reading. And my first book for 2021 is….. drumroll please……the amazing Booker Prize Winner from Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain. Happy Reading!
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