Every month our Women Aloud members get together for our popular book club events.
Given the current coronavirus situation we’ve changed to virtual events hosted on Zoom. Our events are members-only but if you’re interested in joining us as a member, you can sign up as an online member here > If you can’t join us online (or in person in St Albans once we can meet up again) we’ll post each time we’re reading a new book….and you’re very welcome to get involved by commenting on the blog post or joining our discussions over on our Facebook and Instagram.
The books that we read are chosen by our members – the shortlist currently being voted on is listed below.
- Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce…Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, a career on the rise – with her first murder case to defend. “Just one more night. Then I’ll end it”. She drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. She’s having an affair with a colleague who likes pushing boundaries. “I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up”. Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she killed her husband. Yet something about her story is amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself. But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything.
- Finding Henry AppleBee by Celia Reynolds…A charming, tender and uplifting story about unlikely friendships, the power of love – and how it’s never too late to change your life. Eighty-five-year-old Henry Arthur Applebee has had a pretty good life. But one regret has haunted him for the last 65-years. And so, one December morning, he boards a train from London to Edinburgh. His goal: to find the woman who disappeared from his life decades earlier. But Henry isn’t the only person on a mission. Also bound for Edinburgh is troubled teen, Ariel. And when the two strangers collide, what began as one humble journey will catapult them both into a whole new world…
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo…This is Britain as you’ve never read it. This is Britain as it has never been told. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something – a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope. Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.
- In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn…Life is over in an instant for 16-year-old Finn Miller when a car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. She watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive. Impossible choices are made. Finn keeps vigil as they reclaim their shattered lives. Her father seeks vengeance against the person he can blame other than himself. Her best friend searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten. Her mother who saved them but is haunted by her decisions. How can Finn move on with her family still in pieces? A story about love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.
- Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl…As a prominent psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl was able to observe the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience. He noticed it was the men who comforted others and gave away their last piece of bread, who survived the longest. Suggesting that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude. Frankl believed our deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding book shows us a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.
- One Moment by Linda Green…A moving story about two strangers who change each other’s lives. Finn and Kaz are about to meet for the first time…Ten-year-old Finn, a quirky, sensitive boy who talks a lot and only eats at cafes with a 5-star hygiene rating, is having a tough time at school and home. Outspoken Kaz, 59, who has an acerbic sense of humour and a heart of gold, is working at the café when Finn and his mum come in. They don’t know it yet, but the second time they meet will be a moment which changes both of their lives forever.
- Rules of Civility by Amor Towles...In a jazz bar on the last night of 1937, watching a quartet because she couldn’t afford to see the whole ensemble, there were certain things Katey Kontent knew: the location of every old church in Manhattan; how to sneak into the cinema; how to type eighty words a minute, five thousand an hour, and nine million a year; and that if you can still lose yourself in a Dickens novel then everything is going to be fine. By the end of the year she’d learned: how to live like a redhead; and insist upon the very best; that riches can turn to rags in the trip of a heartbeat, chance encounters can be fated, and the word ‘yes’ can be a poison.
- So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter...Is anyone’s life as perfect as it looks? Beth shows that women really can have it all. Ruby lives life by her own rules. And then there’s Lauren, living the dream. But…Beth hasn’t had sex in a year. Ruby feels like she’s failing. Lauren’s happiness is fake news. And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out.
- The Big Smoke by Nathan Srith…Set in a modern day dystopian London, the country slowly descends into chaos after the 2011 London Riots, and a revolution takes over the city. One woman, who refers to herself as THE BOSS, rises up from angry YouTube vlogger to be the Prime Minister. After years of promising to make the country a better place, corruption and power take over. Gang warfare breaks out and London becomes divided between supporters of The Boss and those who resist her. The city is left in a constant state of civil war with no end in sight. Nick King, second in command, can no longer sit and do nothing. He goes on a daring mission, with his sister in tow, to escape the city and bring The Boss down once and for all.
- The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy...Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them. Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter arrives in Paris, where she learns the truth about her grandmother and unravels a family history of secrets, danger and betrayal.
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry…When Cora’s husband dies, she begins her new life as a widow. Along with her son, she leaves London for Essex, where they hear rumours of a mythical Essex Serpent. Cora has no patience for superstition and is convinced that this magical beast is an undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she meets William, the local vicar who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours. Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship. They agree on nothing. They find themselves drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both. This book is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.
- The Other Wife by Claire McGowan…Suzi did a bad thing. She’s paying for it now, pregnant, scared, and living in an isolated cottage with her jealous husband. When Nora moves in nearby, Suzi is delighted to have a friend. But there’s more to Nora than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Elle, in her perfect home is fixated on keeping up appearances. But when her husband betrays her, it unravels a childhood secret and she’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to him. Caught up in their own secrets and lies, they are strangers until a shocking event brings them together, and their lives will never be the same again.
- The Salt Path by Raynor Winn…Just days after Raynor learns that her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, they lose their livelihood and home. With nothing left they make the decision to walk 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Carrying only the essentials, they live in the wild. Through every step and every encounter their walk becomes a remarkable journey. An honest and life-affirming true story of the healing power of the natural world and a portrayal of home – how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
- VOX by Christina Dalcher…Jean spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins. Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman. Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and 70 million women lose their jobs and young girls are no longer taught to read or write. For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens…For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So when Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. She has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens. An exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder.
I hope there might be a book or two in this list which sparks your interest. And if you’d like to join us as an online member please sign up here.
If you’ve got any questions about our Women Aloud book club or our online membership, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org