Sarah Perry and Clare Mackintosh have joined the likes of Jodi Picoult and Robert Harris on this summer’s Richard and Judy Book Club list with W H Smith.
The retailer released the influential list of titles set to be promoted though its high street stores from Thursday (20th April). It includes Perry’s The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail), named Book of the Year by rival retailer Waterstones in December, also shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, along with former policewoman Mackintosh’s second thriller I See You (Sphere), following the success of I Let You Go (Sphere).
Heavyweight Picoult also appears in the collection with Small Great Things which explores prejudice and power after the death of a newborn baby along with Harris' “unputdownable” thriller Conclave (Arrow), set in the future about the election of the next Pope.
Maggie O’Farrell joins them with her Costa Award-shortlisted This Must Be The Place (Tinder Press), which crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage.
The list is completed by W H Smith Book of the Year winner The Couple Next Door, a debut by Shari Lapena (Corgi), about a six-month-old baby who is stolen while her parents are at a dinner party. Kate Eberlen’s BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice Miss You (Pan Macmillan) about a romance novel featuring characters Tess and Gus who meet aged 18 but are then separated by distance and chance over the next 16 years, and Tana French’s The Trespasser (Hodder), featuring tough detective Antoinette Conway.
Of the chosen titles, Perry’s The Essex Serpent is currently the highest-selling, shifting 131,718 copies hardback since its release through Nielsen BookScan.
The book club selections often have a heavy influence on the book chart.
At the time the last tranche for spring were announced in December 2016, three titles went straight into the Top 10 book chart: The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, Jessie Burton’s The Muse and I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork. Meanwhile, all seven fiction titles charted in the Mass Market Fiction top 20. Altogether the titles sold a combined 595,654 copies for £3.18m.
The retailer also revealed that Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent (Penguin), was voted the winning title of the Spring 2017 Book Club selection by readers. Nugent said: “To hear that my book has won the Richard and Judy Reader's Vote is the icing on a very sweet cake because I’ve now read all of the other titles on the list and would have been very happy for any of them to win.”
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan celebrated the success of their book club at an event at HarperCollins headquarters in January.