The BookBrunch team reveal what's on their bedside tables
When it comes to historical fiction, I'm looking for something with as much bite as Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Harvill), which really got under my skin. So I've started The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking), a recent debut that's had a lot of buzz, about a double murder in 1800s London.
I've just finished Expectation by Anna Hope (Doubleday), and it absolutely lived up to the hype. It is a delicate and nuanced portrayal of female friendship, motherhood, and the way that our lives change as we get older -perceptive, intelligent, bittersweet, and beautifully written.
One of my grandfather's Reprint Society books, An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden (now available from Virago Modern Classics). Set in post-war London, where the wonderfully named Lovejoy, an 11-year-old girl, attempts to make a garden on a bomb-site. Evocative, moving and highly recommended.
Recommended across media recently, The Chain (Orion) changed Adrian McKinty's fortunes as a novelist, with an agent offering him AUS$10,000 to quit his other job as an Uber driver and write this book. Doing so resulted in a "six-figure book deal" and a "seven-figure film deal" from Paramount. In it, parents are having their children kidnapped, and to get them back they have not only to pay a ransom but kidnap another child themselves to keep The Chain going. A perfect, gripping page-turner for the holidays.
I am just starting The Spy and the Traitor (Viking) by Ben Mcintyre, the story of the defection of Russian spy Oleg Gordievsky. The reviews have been fantastic, and Mcintyre is a master of the area. But is it, imho, up to scratch? More later...
The Pulse Glass by Gillian Tindall (Chatto, October). As ever, Gillian Tindall reveals history as a vivid presence. But The Pulse Glass is also about what we forget, sometimes necessarily. It's an education, and a moving reflection on ordinary lives.