Oh, for the love of books and book tokens as Christmas gifts!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: I received this for Christmas (it may have been a gift to myself …) and I devoured it between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. I want to shout it from the rooftops… I loved, loved, loved this book! At times, it was absolutely heartbreaking, but it was the most endearing, funny and uplifting book I’ve read in a long time. Absolute perfection. I want to find Eleanor and hold her hand. This book was recommended to me and I’m absolutely recommending it to you.
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan: I bought this with my book token and on the recommendation of Good Housekeeping magazine. Based on the memories of the author’s Granny, the story follows the ladies of a small village in the early days of the Second World War and how a choir helps them cope.
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon: “There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing … might take a little bit more explaining”. Again recommended by Good Housekeeping magazine, this is a bittersweet story packed with lively and loveable characters. As I reached the end, I couldn’t decide whether I’d actually liked the story as a whole, but concluded there was obviously enough there to keep me going to the final full stop.
Faking Friends by Jane Fallon: “Best friend, soulmate, confidante . . . backstabber.
Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé. Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it’s clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat. There’s something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.
Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend – but instead of falling apart, she’s determined to get her own back. Piecing her life back together won’t be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.” I read an article about Jane Fallon and ended up changing my opinion of her. I’d assumed that she’d got her book deals on the strength of having a famous partner; I never gave her credit for having had an successful career of her own before becoming a novelist. I then saw this title on offer in our local bookstore and, thanks to those Christmas book tokens, picked it up. It’s a quick read; I liked Fallon’s style of writing and, in particular, her use of colloquial English.