The combination of heatwaves and holidays has had the Willoughby team relaxing in the shade or cold coffee shops, enjoying the books on our never-ending TBR piles. Escaping the intense heat yet basking in the summer atmosphere.
Here are some of our favourite most recent reads!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Evelyn Hugo was once one of the biggest stars of Hollywood. A talented actress, who lived a life full of scandal and was notoriously famous for her seven marriages, is finally ready to tell her story. She offers Monique Grant, a little known journalist, the chance of a lifetime to write her memoir. Having no connection to Evelyn, Monique wonders why she has been chosen but as the story unfolds and the truth about who Evelyn really is, Monique realises their lives tragically intersect.
A complicated but loveable character, Evelyn is brave, ambitious and fierce and stopped at nothing to make her career what she wanted it to be. But she soon learns that being in the spotlight has its repercussions on her personal life.
A wonderful exploration of love and loss, human mistakes and redemption and diversity in this old Hollywood Setting.
This is my first Taylor Jenkin’s Reid book and I can absolutely agree with all the hype this book has received. You know you are reading a good book when everything else in life needs to be put on hold until you can finish it. The pace was fast, the reflective chapters kept me hooked and the characters were so real to me. I now can’t wait to try more of Taylor Jenkin Reid’s work!
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
This is a beautifully-wrought novel written in verse. Anne Carson, the poet and classicist, takes the little-known myth of the red, winged monster Geryon of Greek myth, and translates that into a coming-of-age tale set in modern day America. Geryon is a quiet, thoughtful character who is more concerned with the interior than the exterior. When he meets the older light-hearted drifter, Herakles, he soon falls in love and the short relationship informs his experience of the world going forward. When the two chance upon each other again in adulthood, Geryon has to come to terms with how his first love of childhood will play out in real time. Anne Carson never wastes a single word. If you are a fan of poetry and/or prose in verse, you will definitely get something from this short book.
The Silence of Scheherazade by Defne Suman
Set in the ancient city of Smyrna in the early 1900’s, an Indian spy with a secret mission from the British Empire arrives in the golden-hued city at the same time Scheherazade is born. When the spy leaves 17 years late, it is to the sight and smell of smoke as the people of the city of engulfed in flames.
Told in the intertwining tales of a Levantine, Turkish, Armenian and Greek family, it was fascinating to read on as the fates of the families were revealed along with a city and culture now lost to time. And I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this book, it’s made me want to look into a part of history that I’ve not learnt much about before!
Amy & Lan by Sadie Jones
This is a well written book with a good storyline about the hard realities of adult life on a farm, told through the voices of the children growing up there. I enjoyed the alternating narrators, although occasionally I did have to flick back to see if it was Amy or Lan as they are very similar. I liked the setting of this book seen through the eyes of the children…the descriptions of running wild on a farm, animals being born, growing your own food...my idea of heaven.
This was definitely a more slower paced book than I usually read, but I did really enjoy reading something different.
Cruel Summer by Juno Dawson
Written a year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to forget the past.
As their holiday gets underway, an unwelcome guest arrives at the villa claiming Janey was murdered and they have the evidence to prove it. When she is found floating dead in the pool, the realisation that one of them is the killer becomes clear. This hot psychological thriller uncovers the group’s secrets and turns their summer into a nightmare.
I was on edge for most of this book, the twists and turns kept me on my toes and I definitely didn't see the big reveal coming.