Family affairs. The mummies and daddies of all books for May

25 April 2017

A playboy son, difficult daughter, hapless mother and ghosts of relationships past take centre stage in novels chosen by Sue Price.

The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal

The challenges of starting over later in life are explored in this terrific, sharply observed novel. Julia, a widow, and divorcee James set up home together, creating a blended family of her resentful 16-year-old daughter and his charming, slightly older son. The parents are desperate to make it work. If only the teenagers were too. Segal gets the precarious mother-teenage daughter relationship spot on.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Possibly the most anticipated thriller of 2017, the follow-up to the hugely successful The Girl on the Train drips with family secrets. In a small rundown town, two women meet their deaths at a treacherous bend in the river. Suicide? Or is the 'Drowing Pool' a convenient spot for getting rid of troublesome people? Told from several points of view, the reader is kept guessing till the end.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan

This is the third instalment in the delightfully different detective series set in Mumbai. The mother of missing Bollywood film star Vikram 'Vicky' Verma hires Inspector Chopra and his baby elephant sidekick to find her playboy son. Heartwarming and humorous - Chopra's one-liners are superb. It's a delicious escape into modern India and the world's most flamboyant movie industry.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

In Maine, 1947, Grace, a young housewife with two toddlers and another on the way, has resigned herself to a loveless marriage and a life of drudgery. But when wildfires break out, threatening to destroy Grace's home and everything she knows, she may have the chance to reinvent herself just as she wants. Thoroughly addictive.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


The Walworth Beauty by Michele Roberts

A haunting tale weaving two story strands. In 2011, 50-something Madeleine sells her City flat and moves south of the Thames to Walworth, where in 1851 family man Joseph Benson struggles with temptation while researching the lives of prostitutes for social reformer and writer Henry Mayhew. Teeming with the sights and sounds of Victorian London, this is Roberts at her rich, sensuous best.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre

Journalist Jack Parlabane returns to investigate a cybercrime involving industrial espionage. A vulnerable young woman from a grim family background is blackmailed online and drawn into a trap she might not survive without Jack's help. Brookmyre is brilliant at squeezing every drop out of modern-day anxieties: in this case, internet security. This is fast-paced and razor sharp.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


Non Fiction Choice

Long Way Back by Charley Boorman

It's hard not to warm to motorcycle adventurer Charley Boorman. He writes so intimately. In 2016, he is involved in a major bike crash. It's unclear if he'll ever walk properly again. Laid up for months, he reflects on his recovery and unconventional life, from child actor in Deliverance to painter-decorator, jobbing actor and professional biker. Irresistible.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


Swedish-style sanity

The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer: 10 Easy Tips to Live a Healthier, Happier Life Dr Bertil Marklund

We've had hygge from Denmark, now sundhet from Sweden - a balanced, even-keeled approach - has arrived. This Swedish bestseller focuses on making simple improvements in ten areas, from sleep to attitude and dental health to relationships, for a longer life. It also debunks myths. Some bad things turn out to be good for us. Drinking coffee, for example, can promote health. Refreshingly straightforward and easy.

Available to buy online from Amazon.


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