Books of the Week 27.04.20

Here are our picks for Books for the Week. They were published either just before or during lockdown and they are all highly recommended.

Imogen edwards-jones

A Theatre for Dreamers 

Polly Samson

“Hands Down the best book I’ve read all year. Luminous, immersive, gorgeous, profound. I feckin’ love it!”

Joanne Harris

Set in 1960s on the Greek island of Hydra, Theatre for Dreamers is Polly Samson’s third novel and it is truly beautiful. The turns of phrase, the characters, the guitars, the ouzo, the smell of the lemons and the blue summer skies are dazzling. Samson draws you in to her story of Bohemian poets, painters and musicians and she doesn’t let you go. Our guide is teenage Erica who arrives on the island with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. She settles on the periphery of this circle and watches, enchanted and disturbed, as paradise unravels. Spellbinding.   

(A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson is published by Bloomsbury £14.99)

Rake’s Progress 

Rachel Johnson 

“Spectacular. The only honest thing I’ve ever read about political campaigning.”


Being born into the famous Johnson family, also known as the ‘Pound-shop Kennedys,’ appears to be a hugely daunting prospect if Rachel Johnson’s brilliant Rake’s Progress is anything to go by. This is a searingly honest, sharp, hilarious account of Rachel’s journey to be elected as an MP for the anti-Brexit party, Change UK, and her attempts to become the ‘fourth’ most famous Johnson in Politics. What follows is an extremely entertaining tale. Johnson writes with such verve. Her vignettes are delicious and she has an eye for a story and a sketch. She is charming company, totally self-depreciating and fantastically indiscreet. In short: a joy.  

(Rake’s Progress by Rachel Johnson is published by Simon and Schuster £16.99)

In the Crypt with the Candlestick

Daisy Waugh 

“What a triumph! It gave me enormous pleasure to read, plus of course a few appropriate shudders. [In the Crypt] lightens the darkness in a way that is both dark and light.

Antonia Fraser

Already voted one of the most uplifting books to read in lockdown and nominated for a comedy prize, Waugh’s In the Crypt with a Candlestick is a wonderfully funny, murder mystery set in a stately home in Yorkshire. Waugh, author of eight previous novels, is at her most sharp penned when it comes to skewing social stereotypes and her eye for character and her ear for dialogue are spot on. But mostly she is laugh out loud funny as she tells the story of the Todes of Tode Hall and their increasingly desperate attempts to keep their “important house” in the family. A body is discovered, a murder has taken place, meanwhile everyone is forced to be polite to each other and eat terrible food. A joyous tour de force, it’s rollicking, it’s racy and it’s beautifully written. 

(In the Crypt with a Candlestick by Daisy Waugh is published by Piatkus £16.99)

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