Clare Mackintosh, A J Pearce and Elizabeth Noble have made the pick for the WHSmith Richard and Judy winter book club, unveiled today (27th December). WHSmith has also announced that it is extending its contract for the book club with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan until 2022.
Madeley said he and Finnigan were “thrilled” to be continuing their book club with the retailer, saying: “We thoroughly enjoy the time we spend selecting the books for each campaign, putting together our reviews to explain why we personally admire each choice, and meeting each of the authors is an absolute delight.”
The latest book club selection - “of titles to relish throughout the cold winter months” - comprises four debut authors and two writers who have made previous appearances in the club. Returning once again is crime writer Mackintosh with her latest novel, psychological crime thriller Let Me Lie (Sphere). In the book the “Queen of plot twists”, who last week announced her non-fiction debut, follows a new an exhausted mother who is left devastated by her parents committing suicide just months apart.
Another returnee is Elizabeth Noble with her latest novel, a family saga called Love, Iris (Penguin), exploring the relationship between grandparents, mothers, wives, husbands and children.
Newcomers to the book club include Sarah J Harris with her debut, a whodunnit called The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder (HarperCollins). The story stars teenager Jasper who has a rare condition called synaesthesia that “paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see” - extending to the colour of murder. According to Finnigan, if you enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, or The Rosie Project, “then you will love this book”.
A J Pearce enters the line-up with Dear Mrs Bird (Picador), a story set in the early 1940s which follows heroine Emmeline Lake, who dreams of becoming a war correspondent but to her dismay finds herself typing letters for the Chronicle’s battle-axe of an agony aunt. The book, originally won by Picador in a seven-way auction , is already on course for a TV adaptation with 42.
Pearce is joined by another A J - A J Finn - whose debut The Woman in the Window (HarperCollins) is another winter selection that caught the eye of producers. The psychological thriller has already been lined up to be made in to a film starring Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman and Amy Adams. In the vein of “rear Window”, it tells the tale of lonely and isolated agoraphobic woman who likes to keep tabs on her neighbours from her window.
Rounding off the six-strong book club selection is Alex Reeve’s atmospheric debut The House on Half Moon Street (Bloomsbury). Praised by Finnigan as a “thrilling psychological murder mystery, with the atmosphere of Victorian London hauntingly brought to life”, it marks the start of a new historical series featuring trans protagonist Leo Stanhope, a coroner’s assistant.
The book club is again accompanied by a series of podcasts, providing an introduction to all of the recommended titles as well as “insight into the working minds of the authors and their writing processes”. The exclusive special edition versions of the book club selections available from WHSmith are filled with bonus content, including book club discussion points, author Q&As and other recommended reads.
Earlier this year, TV producer Amanda Ross criticised Madeley and Finnigan for moving the book club to WH Smith after their recommendation show ended on television