Books in the Media: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex sits comfortably in critic's picks

Books in the Media: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex sits comfortably in critic's picks

Last week, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex published her first children's book The Bench with Penguin Random House Children's. It picked up reviews from the Evening Standard, the Irish Times, the Telegraph, the Independent and the New York Times, making it one of the most reviewed new titles.

Born from a poem the Duchess wrote for Prince Harry on his first Father's Day with Archie, the picture book was dubbed "soothing" and "loving" by the Evening Standard's Emily Phillips. She added: "In telling stories about deep emotional male connection, Meghan is not only modelling emotional openness to young boys and girls, but to their fathers too." 

The New York Times' Sarah Lyall labelled the debut a "a sweet little tale" and over in the IndependentSarah Dawson agreed, calling it a "sweet, calming bedtime read" but noted that it "does feel like it’s aimed more at the adults reading, than the children being read to."

In fiction, Lisa Taddeo's first novel, Animal (Bloomsbury Circus), came out on top and recieved praise across the board. The Three Women author brought "her keen eye for detail and ability to tell a propulsive story" to her novel, thought the Financial Times' Isabel Berwick, who heralded it a "raging, funny and fierce thriller".

Jennifer Haigh at the New York Times added: "Taddeo isn’t a subtle writer. But what she lacks in nuance, she makes up for in bravado, psychological acuity and sly wit." The author also recieved a mention from the Times' Claire Lowdon. 

In the Guardian and the Observer, it was former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Seven Ways to Change the World (Simon & Schuster) which triumphed with a Book of the Month and Book of the Week pick respectively. It was praised by the Guardian's William Davies who wrote: "The research is undeniably impressive in its scope and detail, though occasionally leaves you feeling bludgeoned by its sheer volume and unrelenting force." 

Seven Ways to Change the World was published at the same time as fellow Labour politician Ed Miliband's Go Big: How to Fix Our World (Bodley Head). In the Sunday Times, David Goodhart commented that "both books will be mainly of interest to future historians as evidence for social democracy’s demise in the early 21st century."