Here are my favourite eight books of the first quarter of 2021. Last year I chose eight books in the first half but I already have eight so I’m going to break with tradition.

Lost Property by Helen Paris

Each year I wait for that one book that grabs me by the heart and won’t let go. It’s only just February and I have already found it. That book is Lost Property. Every phrase, every sentence, in this wonderful story needs to be savoured. You can’t read this beautiful book too quickly or you will miss something worthwhile.

For my full review click here

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

Young children, a new born baby, kittens, puppies – all the things that make me stressed when reading. And two main protagonists who are both spiralling out of control and you have a tale of two women descending into madness, which is all very Shakespearean and definitely tragic.

This is a book like no other. I loved this book. It goes where others fear to tread. It’s only the brilliance of Tina’s writing that allows humour to creep into something so dark and disturbing.

For my full review click here

The Whisper Man by Alex North

This was recommended to me by a work colleague. She said it was spooky and creepy. Boy was she right, particularly the first half. Tom is trying to find rational explanations for the things that seven-year-old son Jake says he sees and hears. The little girl in the blue dress, the grazes on her knee never healing and her dark hair swept to one side. The boy in the floor. The strange rhyme ‘If you leave the door wide open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken’ and the whispers themselves. 

For my full review click here

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

I do love this book. Poor Missy. A domineering husband. A daughter she has fallen out with. A son and grandson who have emigrated to Australia. And a large empty house full of memories and loneliness.

It’s hard to put into words how emotional this book is at times. Especially at a time when we are already emotional. I laughed and I cried and then I cried some more.

For my full review click here

Dog Days by Ericka Waller

First of all let me just say that I LOVE dogs. So when this title came up for review I was a bit biased.

Dogs love us. They trust us, they never question our decisions (unless sausages are involved and they are not going to get any) and they are our best listeners.

This book is so emotional and heart-warming and at times very sad. It looks at relationships, fear and the human condition. I never wanted it to end. The characters are like old friends and I worry for their future – I hope they can all be happy.

For my full review click here

Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan

I could have added this one to my list before I even read it because I knew how good it was going to be.

I think it is something to do with the richly-drawn characters that make them seem like old friends. And the dogs of course. There have to be dogs. But it’s also the detail, which is why I have to go back, because in desperation to discover what happens next, it’s easy to miss something important or beautiful. It may only be something little, but it’s still worth a second look.

For my full review click here

Girl in the Walls by AJ Gnuse

“Listen. We know there are people who hide in our homes. They crawl into attic spaces….flit between the rooms….just outside the reach of sight.” It’s a terrifying thought.

If I could give Girl in the Walls ten stars I would in a heartbeat. I’ve never read anything like it before. But it’s not just the story, it’s the poetry of the writing. The depth of feeling. The beauty of the descriptions. The family dynamic. The references to the Norse gods. And so much more. I was entranced.

For my full review click here

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Ted Bannerman lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia. They live in the last house on Needless Street, on the edge of a forest where secrets lie buried. All the windows in the house are boarded up and no-one other than Ted goes in or out. Ted is a recluse. He’d love to have a friend but he doesn’t know how. 

For my full review click here

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