Book Reviews of the Week 11.05.20

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


Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

‘Reads like a botanist’s cross-breeding of The Secret History and Department of Speculation’ 

Emma Straub

Rebecca Dinnersteon Knight’s second novel, Hex is a highly charged, spellbinding take on the campus novel, written with great depth and emotional intensity. It tells the story of Nell Barber, a PhD candidate in Biological Science, who is defunded after the death of a colleague and turns up in New York grief stricken and looking for work. There she encounters a magnetic young botanist, Dr. Joan Kallas.  And Nell is undone. Surrounded by an ex, a best friend, a boyfriend, and a husband, the two scientists are tangled together at the centre of a web of illicit relationships, grudges, and obsessions.

It is a journey where you never quite know where Knight is going to take you with starling turns; it is dark, yet tender and enchanting. The language is quotable, pol­ished with tight poetic phrases that show Knight’s skills in creating a novel full of desire, beauty, depen­den­cy, and attrac­tion. Intoxicating.

VultureLitHub, and PureWow Most Anticipated Book of 2020

“As precise as any scientific observation and far more tantalizing.” –Vogue

(Hex by Rebecca Dinnerstein Knight is published by Penguin Random House from $26.00 )

Purchase Hex from your local Bookseller:

The Bookshop on the Shore

Jenny Colgan

‘Nobody does cosy, get-away-from-it-all romance like Jenny Colgan’

Sunday Express

Already a Sunday Times Bestseller, The Bookshop on the Shore has Jenny Colgan at her page-turning, laugh out loud, poignant, touching best.

Zoe is, sinking beneath the waves trying to cope by herself in London. Hari, her gorgeous little boy, is perfect in every way – except for the fact that he just doesn’t speak, at all. When her landlord raises the rent on her flat, Zoe doesn’t know where to turn. 

Then Hari’s aunt suggests Zoe could move to Scotland to help run a bookshop. Going from the lonely city to a small village in the Highlands could be the change Zoe and Hari desperately need. 

Faced with an unwelcoming boss, a moody, distant bookseller named Ramsay Urquart, and a band of unruly children, Zoe wonders if she’s made the right decision. But Hari has found his very first real friend, and no one could resist the beauty of the loch glinting in the summer sun. If only Ramsay would just be a little more approachable. An absolute delight.

‘A total joy’ Sophie Kinsella
An evocative, sweet treat’ Jojo Moyes
‘Gorgeous, glorious, uplifting’ Marian Keyes
‘Irresistible’ Jill Mansell
‘Just lovely’ Katie Fforde
‘Naturally funny, warm-hearted’ Lisa Jewell
‘A gobble-it-all-up-in-one-sitting kind of book’ Mike Gayle

(The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan is published by Sphere)

Buy The Bookshop on the Shore from your local Bookseller:

The Snakes

Sadie Jones 

A suspenseful, beautifully written thriller about the corruption of money and abuse within a dysfunctional family

The Guardian

‘Richard and Judy Book of the Month.’

From best-selling author of The Outcast, The Snakes, Sadie Jones 5th novel, is a creepy, corrosive masterpiece about the abusive power of money, drugs, class and parenthood, Jones uncovers the layers of a deeply dysfunctional family who appear to have toxicity running through their veins.

Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives.

But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea’s brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio are joined unexpectedly by Bea’s ultra-wealthy parents, Liv and Griff Adamson who spend lunch bemoaning the chore of owning a private jet. Dan has never understood Bea’s deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong.

Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.

Jones pulls no punches in her forensic portrait of this profoundly dysfunctional family. Her prose is provocative and propulsive. Gripping.

“A nuanced and propulsive exploration of the poisonous effects of wealth – with a pitiless shock ending” Financial Times

(The Snakes by Sadie Jones is published by Penguin £8.99)

Buy Snakes from your local Bookseller:

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