Our latest book of the month was An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Kate Rutherford said: “I found this really moving and thought-provoking. When Roy is sent to prison for a crime he denies, the injustice is terrible. I loved the letters between Roy and his wife.
“I felt like I was on a journey with this book and I didn’t know where I’d go. I really enjoyed it.”
“So beautiful and powerfully written,” said Jules Thomas. “It followed the love story of three unforgettable characters.”
“Loved it,” was Sally Anfilogoff’s verdict. “Superb writing, interesting points of view and I didn’t want it to end. I’ve recommended it to so many people!”
“Fabulous book, I loved how the characters were so interwoven,” said Caroline Myers. “Packed full of emotion, very powerfully written.”
Irene Gibson agreed the novel was well written and thought-provoking but, although she’s glad she read it, she said: “I did not love it! I wanted to know more about the specifics of the crime.
“Instead, Jones’ story concentrates on the effects of the wrongful conviction on their relationship. And the couple’s letters made me like the main characters less. Celestial seems a tad selfish and heartless, while Roy is callous, evenmisogynistic.”
Myra Burley “really enjoyed this book. I found Celestial shallow, selfish and unlikeable but I really liked Roy’s character. I also found it at times an uncomfortable read. It shows how different life can be for an African-American person.”
Christmas At The Island Hotel, by Jenny Colgan
On the remote Scottish island of Mure, Christmas is coming and, with it, the launch of luxury hotel The Rock. The property was the lifelong dream of wealthy Coltan but he recently died and his husband Fintan has lost the heart for the project.
Staff are hastily hired. There’s tortured but talented chef Gaspard and clueless kitchen porter Konstantin, an aristocratic Norwegian playboy disowned by his father. The hotel’s first big event is a disaster thanks to Konstantin’s dog Bjark destroying the food. And after the debacle is posted on Instagram, The Rock is swiftly labelled The World’s Worst Hotel.
Can the hastily assembled team pull together before Christmas and save the place from ruin?
And in a gripping will-they-won’t-they subplot, will the pampered Konstantin and timid hotel worker Isla ever realise they’re made for each other? This is an enjoyable festive read, a deeply satisfying seasonal page-turner.
BY LUCY HELLIKER
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, by Milly Johnson
Simon & Schuster, £14.99
It is December 23 and a freak snowstorm forces three couples to abandon their respective Christmas plans and take refuge in an inn on the Yorkshire Moors.
First to stumble upon the place is Bridge, soon joined by her ex-husband Luke as they were meeting to sign their divorce papers. He has moved on but she still yearns for him.
Charlie, who is sick, and husband Robin struggle through the snowdrifts, giving up on their planned trip to Scotland.
And the third couple are businessman Jack and his PA Mary who is madly in love with him. Will he notice before he loses her altogether?
With no sign of a break in the weather, they have no option but to make their Christmas as fun as possible and, with games and homemade crackers, the season works its magic.
When the weather clears and the group disperses, everybody suffers a deep sadness at the prospect of confronting reality once again.
But as some magical solutions emerge, an unexpected and deeply emotional twist elevates this novel into something unforgettable.
BY LUCY HELLIKER
Midwinter Murder, by Agatha Christie
A selection of short stories by the Queen of Crime, mostly published in the 1920s and 1930s, find Hercule Poirot facing danger from a poisoned Christmas pudding and Miss Marple on a holiday interrupted by murder.
The tales tend towards the light-hearted – a couple are romantic comedies rather than crime stories – but there’s still a high body count. And, as so often with Christie, sharp
and unsentimental insights into human
nature prevent the book from becoming too cloyingly cosy.
BY JAKE KERRIDGE
The Winter Garden, by Heidi Swain
Simon & Schuster, £7.99
Out-of-work Freya is relieved to land a new job as head gardener of the Prosperous Place pleasure gardens and embraces the chance to make a fresh
start. Then she meets her new neighbour, sculptor Finn.
Despite their bickering, she is soon smitten. But when they have to work together, a series of misunderstandings lead to a stand-off. Is it time to accept they are better off apart?
The Winter Garden is set against an atmospheric build-up to Christmas, Swain capturing the spirit of the season.
BY LUCY HELLIKER
Christmas Is Murder, by Val McDermid
McDermid sees Christmas as a time when blood flows more freely than the milk of human kindness.
Beginning with a tale involving Dr Tony Hill and the abduction of a man in a Santa suit, these short stories abound with a cast of seasonal psychopaths.
There are some gentler touches, though, including a teasing Sherlock Holmes pastiche and a little gem about a girl who has stopped believing in Father Christmas.
Agatha Christie would have recognised McDermid as a kindred spirit for her ingenuity and readability.
BY JAKE KERRIDGE
Join the Mirror Book Club
Our new book of the month is Pine by Francine Toon.
In this spooky, Gothic tale, Lauren’s mother, Christine, disappeared a decade ago, when she was a baby. But as Lauren heads home one night with her father, Niall, a ghostly woman stumbles into the road.
Niall takes her back to their house but the woman vanishes. And a family friend then tells Lauren that Christine is “visiting to say there’s trouble afoot”.
Has she returned to protect Lauren?
- We have 20 copies of Pine to give away. For a chance to win, simply like the post announcing the giveaway in our Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/mirrorbookclub) before Monday