Commuting can be a struggle sometimes, but to help you shed those commuter blues, we’ve picked out some of our favourite reads of the last few months. Whether we’re sat or stood on the bus or the tube, we’re always looking for ways to make the time a bit more enjoyable. These novels will capture your imagination no matter your taste. So, why not immerse yourself and expand your horizons with these page-turners, and with a little leap of faith, you’ll find yourself so absorbed in these stories you could miss your stop.
Crosstitch (Outlander, pt.1) by Diana Gabaldon
The year is 1945. Just as the debris from the Second World War’s climax is cleared, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war effort and finally on her long awaited second honeymoon with her husband, whom she married before the fighting broke out across Europe. While at a stone circle, not dissimilar to the ethereal Stonehenge, Claire suddenly steps through a mystical portal and is ripped back through time to a war-torn Scotland of yesteryear. A land bearing the scars of raiding warrior clans and the dastardly English, she faces a whole new world of troubles in the year 1743.
In a place she can no longer recognise, a land overruled by barons and populated by spies, Claire’s life has never been more in danger.Diana Gabaldon’s work has never been more popular. Now a long running series of eight novels, she has become a literary jack of all trades; encompassing historical themes with romance, sci-fi and fantasy to spellbinding effect. Immerse yourself in the gritty world, lose yourself in its sprawling plots and the characters will soon become as familiar as family.
There has never been a better time to pick up this critically acclaimed series. Outlander has been developed into a highly praised and popular TV production with Channel 4.
The Seven Sisters, Lucinda Riley
Together with her sisters at their idyllic childhood home ‘Atlantis’, Maia D’Apliese is told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as infants, has died. Each of them is given an enticing clue that will lead them inexplicably to their true heritage – that perplexing clue takes Maia across the world to Rio de Janeiro, where a crumbling mansion sets the scene for the start of her journey.
Eighty years prior, in 1927, the father of Izabela Bonifacio has ambitions for his daughter to marry into aristocracy. During the same time, the architect Heitor da Silva Costa is working on a statue: Christ the Redeemer. He’ll soon travel to Paris to meet the sculptor, who will bring his vision to life. Izabela convinces her father to let her join him on his trip, so she’ll finally be able to see the world. Once in Paris, it’s in the vibrant district of Montparnasse that she meets the ambitious sculptor Laurent Brouilly. She knows immediately that her life will change forever.
An epic tale of love, loss and a sweeping mystery that will entrap your imagination and suspend your disbelief. Find more about the rest of the series online and join the journey.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Yaa Gyasi’s top-rated story follows the parallel journeys of two half-sisters born in two different West-African villages, living two entirely different lives and utterly unaware of each other. And while destiny has tied their fates, their paths are completely different. Effia will marry into wealth – funded by slavery – and live a comfortable life in the Cape Coast Castle. While half-sister Esi is captured in a raid on her village, before being sold into slavery.
Flowing the contrasting stories of Effia, Esi, and their descendants, this journey is not afraid to show us the crimes of civilisations past – from the plantations of Mississipi to events from the American Civil War.
Gyasi’s debut novel is a truly unflinching portrayal of West-Africa’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and segregation in the American deep south. This challenging epic of empathy and raw emotion lays the open wounds of slavery’s historical crimes bare, creating an utterly immersive teaching of human suffering and sacrifice.
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (20th Anniversary Editions), J.K. Rowling
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of JK Rowling’s children’s novels, Harry Potter’s magical adventures have been rebound in the house colours of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Newly included fact files and profiles will help you navigate through the story, from Privet Drive to Diagon Alley and beyond, meeting Rowling’s legendary characters along the way.
Dive into where it all began for The Boy Who Lived. His story has sold millions of copies, become one of the biggest film franchises ever and continues to hold a special place in our hearts. Whether you’re reliving the magic or you’re just a fresh-faced muggle, there has never been a better time to join Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
You could say that Laura has it all: A long and happy marriage; a fulfilling career; more than enough money to live comfortably and a twenty-three-year old son, Daniel, who is the picture-perfect son… One day, Daniel meets Cherry, who is young, beautiful and smart, but never afforded the same opportunities granted to Daniel. She want’s Laura’s life. However, the aftermath of an unforgivable lie sets unprecedented events that spiral out of control. The relationship between girlfriend, boyfriend and mother become frayed and potently charged for phycological turmoil.
The result of Michelle Frances’ thriller is a gripping, relentlessly paced thriller – extreme, yes, but utterly believable and grounded.
Swing Time, Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith’s novel carefully explores the themes of race, friendship and the burden of being our parents’ children. Swing Time is the story of two girls with big dreams, both with aspirations of becoming famous dancers. We follow our characters’ childhood difficulties in the 1980s in North West London, through into adolescence, adulthood and their jourey to West Africa.
With their friendship ending abruptly in their twenties, the novel focuses on the human condition, how social anxieties and pressures cause these relationships to crash and leave our characters isolated. This narrative is shaped by family and friendship. It’s that challenge that our characters’ face. Whether to leave it behind or to reinvent and be something else. For better or worse.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough
Louise is stuck in a modern-day rut, battling the rat race as a single mum and secretary with seemingly no way out. Sparks fly on a chance meeting with a stranger in a bar on a rare night out. He leaves after they kiss and Louise is thrilled to have finally connected with someone romantically.
When Louise returns to work on Monday, she meets her new boss for the second time: David, the man from the bar. The married man from the bar, who says their kiss was a terrible mistake, still looks longingly at Louise. She later bumps into Adele, David’s wife. They seem like they should be the ideal marriage, but quickly Louise opens the cracks of their relationship. David’s obsessions and flaws are laid bare as Louise is entrapped by their puzzling questions and answers. Something in this marriage is very wrong, and how far will some go to protect their marriage’s secrets?
Addictive, intriguing and consuming, Sarah Pinsborough takes the seemingly mundane and creates an enthralling read that takes your breath away at times. For the genre, playing risk versus reward to make a mark in uncharted territory. For those who are utterly bewitched, that reward will be vastly worth the journey.
An Italian Holiday, Maeve Haran
Escape to the Mediterranean for springtime in beautiful southern Italy for some much-needed R and R. A mysterious house on the Amalfi coast draws four different women together, and it’s here they escape their day-to-day woes and form a blossoming friendship, inviting you to join their circle.
Claire, Angela, Sylvie and Monica come from widely different backgrounds, yet through ups and downs, romance and disappointment, they all discover things about themselves that they would never have done just by staying in at home in England. A great read to get lost in for a while, when you’re done, you’ll soon be planning your first trip to the Italian coast.
The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
This is Back To The Future, meets Saturday Night Fever, except without John Travolta, and less cheese. Our protagonist Luna learns of something terrible that happened to her mother 30 years ago, something she was only prepared to reveal after her untimely death. Now Luna, along with her sister have the chance to settle their mother’s affairs. Now in Brooklyn, they only find more questions than answers. Yet, something utterly magical happens when Luna meets her mother as a young woman, way back in in the summer of 1977.
She believes herself to be crazy at first, but if this is real, she thinks, she can travel through time. Then it dawns on her. Maybe, just maybe, she can save her mother’s life…
Magic. Time travel. Disco… Should we go on?
The Dry, Jane Harper
A smalltime town with a big secret. This moody, atmospheric, page-turner is a mystery that begins with federal agent Aaron Falk receiving a note demanding his presence back in his hometown. He returns to attend the funeral of his best friend Luke. Over 20 years ago, Aaron was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Luke’s claim meant that Aaron was acquitted, but now, with Luke dead, he’s forced to investigate his death. Before long, a trail of lies and cover-ups begin to surface.
Amid drought, the death of a friend and the reemergence of decades-old mysteries. Falk’s story and his hometown’s darkest secrets will keep you hooked until the bitter end.
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Dubbed the Final Girls by the novel’s media, Quincy, Sam and Lisa make up an infamous group no one wants to be a part of. Each the sole survivor of three entirely separate killing sprees, linked by a shared trauma, things become even more warped. Lisa, one part of the infamous three, dies in mysterious circumstances. Sam arrives unannounced on Quincy’s doorstep blowing through her life like a storm. Where are their paths heading and can she begin to trust her? She only knows one thing. She could well be next.
In the same ilk as Gone Girl, a great thriller from a fresh face of the genre. Riley Sager captures brilliant horror and trauma with a base in strong character development. Suspense and near misses making for a chilling blood-splattered mystery.
The One by John Marrs
Finding ‘the one’ is like a needle in a haystack, but just how far is someone prepared to go to get it? This thriller with a difference will keep you turning its pages at a frantic pace.
In the world created by John Marrs, a swab of DNA is all it takes to find ‘the one’ A decade after the discovery came to fruition, millions upon millions have taken the test. Here we follow five more who have meant their match. While science is black and white, people’s histories are not. Soul mates with shocking secrets and even darker pasts will shake you to your core.
Blood Sisters by Jane Corry
On sunny May morning, three little girls set off for school. One hour later, one of them is dead. A decade and a half later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives with all of this put behind them. Kitty herself lives in a care home, not being able to speak and no recollection of the accident that put her here, or the life she had before it. On the other hand, Alison looks in control on the surface, but underneath she’s unravelling. Living a lie. When the unusual option arrives to take a job at a prison, she takes it with both hands – a chance to write some wrongs.
However, someone’s watching them both. They’re looking for revenge for what happened that fateful morning in May fifteen years ago.
The well-respected Jane Corry delivers again, bringing together believable characters and her clear, detailed research into the lives of those with mental and physical disabilities creates a fresh and grounded approach to the world of psychological thrillers. A worthy read for any fan of the genre.
Brighten up the office this season with the latest must have’s in from our workwear range.