Members of library staff and volunteers who are avid readers have put together these book recommendations. Where indicated the books are available in our digital library at https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/e-books/
A House Without Walls by Elizabeth Laird
Thirteen-year-old Safiya is forced to flee her home in Syria with her brother and father when war came. Safiya knows how lucky she is, lucky to be alive and lucky not have to live at a refugee camp, instead they are living in a tent in her uncle’s garden. Life is a struggle, Safiya has to abandon her education and is told to stay in the tent and look after the men of her family. Her Father and brother leave the tent every day for work and she feels very lonely. She does not get along with her aunt who is displeased to have guests living in her garden and there is something not right with her father.
Safiya is a plucky character who is full of spirit and very relatable. She takes what life deals to her and makes the best of it. This book is eye-opening and heart-warming as you experience a year with Safiya and see the hardships of life and how to be grateful with what you have.
Available as an eBook.
After the Fire by Will Hill
Moving backwards and forwards in time you follow Moonbeam’s journey of what life was like before and after the fire. Father John controlled everything. Father John liked rules. Father John was the leader. Father John keeps everyone together. Disobeying Father John comes with horrific consequences. Members of the cult are unable to leave or to communicate with the outside world.
When Moonbeam is promised to Father John as one of his numerous wives, it fills her with horror, even though the gesture is supposed to be an honour. She begins to question life inside the cult.
The author explores Moonbeam’s emotional state of horror, neglect and abuse. As Moonbeam starts to heal through therapy you experience her journey and bravery before and after living in a cult. The story is a compelling and thrilling read.
Available as an eBook.
The Taking of Annie Thorne
Annie is just a small girl when she disappears one night. There are extensive police searches and appeals for information, but her parents fear the worst. Then, miraculously, Annie comes home 48 hours later…but something is very wrong. Outwardly Annie looks the same, but something has changed and her brother, Joe, is acutely aware of it. Twenty-five years later Joe returns to the mining village where he grew up, escaping a life of gambling and debt, but can he find out what happened to his sister and stop the past repeating itself?
This is a dark and unsettling book, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. It’s very reminiscent of Stephen King and perfect for horror fans.
Mum and Dad by Joanna Trollope
Twenty five years ago Gus and Monica moved to Spain to start a new life, establishing a vineyard and wine business from scratch. Now the business is flourishing, but Gus has suffered a major stroke that has thrown their future into doubt. Their three children arrive from London to help – but it soon becomes clear that they all have very different ideas about the best way forward for both their parents and the business.
This book is typical of Joanna Trollope’s ability to observe and describe the dynamics of family life. The characters are all very believable, if not always likeable, and the novel captures perfectly the tension that can exist even amongst people who love each other and ultimately want the best, but can’t always agree how to get there.
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris
This novel tells the story of Jasper Wishart, who is a very special thirteen year old. Jasper has both synaesthesia, and he spends his days surrounded by a riot of colour as each different noise creates a unique hue. He also has prosopagnosia, leaving him unable to recognise the people’s faces, and he relies on the colour people’s voices generate and the clothes they usually wear to identify them. Jasper’s ordered world is turned upside down with the arrival of his new neighbour, Bee Larkham. They quickly bond over a shared love of parakeets. When Bee goes missing, however, Jasper is immediately suspicious and fears the worst – but with his less than impeccable record with the local police how can he convince them to help?
This is a beautifully written novel with a very unusual style which reflects Jasper’s unique way of looking at the world. As a reader we question whether Jasper is a reliable narrator, and this adds to the mystery as the novel unfolds. A poignant and moving novel.
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
If you want to try something slightly challenging why not look at revisiting this classic by Virginia Woolf? Mrs Dalloway follows a June day in the life of wealthy socialite Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party in post World War 1 London. The brilliant stream of consciousness narrative conjours up the sight, sounds and impressions of the capital as Clarissa considers past loves and the way her life has developed. It’s rather like reading a long poem, intense and brilliant. It also formed the basis for the award winning film The Hours.
This title is available as an ebook