Tayari Jones, Joanna Trollope and Kathy Reichs are among the six authors selected for Richard & Judy's Christmas Book Club, which this year is dominated by thrillers.
Kicking off the new season is Joanna Trollope with her latest title, Mum & Dad (Macmillan), in which she explores the issues at the heart of a modern family. "The great achievement of this novel is Trollope’s wise perspective. Life is long, families are bound forever, their destinies intertwined,” Judy Finnigan said, adding, "Oh, and I love the sunny Spanish setting.”
Next up is A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs (Scribner). The thriller tells the story of Temperance Brennan as she recovers from neurosurgery following an aneurism, and battles nightmares, migraines and what she thinks might be hallucinations. “I’m a huge fan of Kathy Reichs’ forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. A Conspiracy of Bones is the 19th novel in this series and comes with a twist…This story is as addictive as ever," said Finnigan.
Jones (pictured), who won the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2019, joins the Book Club with Silver Sparrow (Oneworld), a "breathtaking tale of family secrets." Richard Madeley said: "This is the story of a man's deception, a family's complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle. Jones clearly knows a great deal about bigamy and the web of deceit that is spun out of a decision to make not one but two marriages, simultaneously and in societies like ours, illegally."
Also joining the Christmas Book Club is Sharon Bolton with her standalone thriller The Split (Trapeze). The synopsis explains: "Beginning as a classic chase thriller, with Freddie pursuing Felicity across the frozen wastes of the island of South Georgia, the story takes us to one of the most dangerous environments on Earth, where Freddie and Felicity finally come face to face—and an outcome no one could have expected." Finnigan added: "You won’t see the plot twist at the end coming.”
The next pick is Away with the Penguins (Bantam Press) by author Hazel Prior, a novel posing the question: are you ever too old to begin a new adventure? The central character, Veronica McCreedy, 85, spends her days mostly at home but when she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, it sets her off on the journey "of a lifetime".
Concluding the season’s Book Club is Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Vintage). Set in 19th-century London, the novel sees Bram Stoker walk the streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend, Oscar Wilde. Finnegan describes the novel as “a terrific book, a dramatic, sad, but also richly funny account of some of the most famous characters in late-Victorian London.”
The Christmas Book Club runs alongside a special 10-year anniversary collection of 12 of the duo’s all-time favourite Book Club titles, available in store and online. To celebrate the anniversary, they have also released a brand new podcast series.
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