Books

MUST READS

MUST READS

THE WEEKEND by Charlotte Wood (W&N £8.99, 288 pp)

THE WEEKEND 

by Charlotte Wood (W&N £8.99, 288 pp) 

In the scorching heat of an Australian Christmas, three seventy-something friends meet at a beach house in the coastal town of Bittoes.

The house belonged to Sylvie, the fourth member of their tight-knit quartet, who died almost a year ago. Now Jude, Wendy and Adele have gathered to clear the place.

Each woman is facing a life crisis: the controlling behaviour of former restaurant manager Jude reflects the lack of control she has in her long relationship with her married lover, Daniel.

Actress Adele faces a dwindling career and an uncertain future. Wendy, a successful academic, risks Jude’s fury by bringing her incontinent dog, Finn, to the house. Charlotte Wood’s powerful novel depicts old age as a time when hope, desire and love are still felt as vividly as they were in youth.

V FOR VICTORY 

by Lissa Evans (Penguin £8.99, 304 pp)

Readers of Lissa Evans’s earlier novel, The Crooked Heart, will recognise her resourceful heroine, Vee, and her streetwise orphaned charge, Noel. Now known as Mrs Margery Overs, a respectable widow, Vee makes a precarious living for herself and Noel, whom she claims is her nephew, by running a Hampstead boarding house. 

Noel roams the hazardous adventure playground that is London during the Blitz, and pursues a delicious romantic friendship with his captivating next-door-neighbour, Genevieve.

But when Vee is witness to a street accident, the stability that she and Noel have fought so hard to achieve is put in jeopardy. Evans’s warm-hearted novel is a delightful celebration of love, loyalty and the quiet heroism of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

DIARY OF AN MP’S WIFE by Sasha Swire (Abacus £9.99, 544 pp)

DIARY OF AN MP’S WIFE 

by Sasha Swire (Abacus £9.99, 544 pp) 

If journalism is the first draft of history, political diaries are where the untold stories of government lie buried — at least until the diarist decides to make them public.

Sasha Swire gave up a career as a journalist when she married Hugo Swire, a former minister under David Cameron.

Sasha comes from old political stock: her father is Sir John Nott, one of Margaret Thatcher’s ministers; and she had the extra advantage of being close friends with David and Samantha Cameron.

As a ‘secret journal writer since childhood’, she found herself with plenty to record during the years from 2010 to 2019. The diaries offer an irreverent and often scurrilous behind-the-scenes account of a turbulent period in our island story. As she says: ‘A minute is a long time in politics these days.’  

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