Our Staff Recommendations - Books We Love!

By Chorleywood Bookshop

By Chorleywood Bookshop

The Summer Book

Tove Jansson

£9.99 £9.49

Lessons in Chemistry: The No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick

Bonnie Garmus

£14.99 £14.24

This is a funny and thought-provoking debut novel, beginning in the early 1960s, that takes us into the life of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant chemist and an individual and independent thinker, whose career moves from underpaid work in a science lab to starring in America’s most popular TV cookery show. Recommended by Gillian

Small Things Like These: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022

Claire Keegan

£10.00 £9.50

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him - and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church. It is both haunting and hopeful. Recommended by Martin, Gillian and Jacqui

The Whalebone Theatre: The instant Sunday Times bestseller

Joanna Quinn

£14.99 £14.24

So much more than a coming-of-age novel. An epic sweep, reminiscent of William Boyd's "Any Human Heart" or Ian McEwan's "Atonement", Quinn has managed to write a real page-turner which, while vintage in style, is bang up to date with issues that resonate today. Very diverting, a perfect beach read. Recommended by Sheryl and Francesca

How to Kill Your Family

Bella Mackie

£8.99 £8.54

With cool detachment, Grace embarks on her mission to kill every member of the rich, entitled family who threw her pregnant mother out onto the street. Very dark but also very funny. Recommended by Wendy

The Premonitions Bureau: A Sunday Times bestseller

Sam Knight

£14.99 £14.24

In the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster John Barker, a psychiatrist in an outdated mental hospital, who has a particular interest in unusual mental conditions, sets up the Premonition Bureau. Members of the public are encouraged to send their premonitions into the Evening Standard to be collected and catalogued. Two participants correctly predict several events, including Donald Campbell’s death, R.F Kennedy’s assassination and the Hither Green Train crash. One of them then goes on to predict Barker’s own death. An interesting and insightful true story into the mindset of 1960s Britain. Recommended by Helen

The Lincoln Highway: A New York Times Number One Bestseller

Amor Towles

£9.99 £9.49

Full of energy, The Lincoln Highway demands your attention from the first page and repays it in spades. Three teenage boys, straight from reform school, with a younger brother in tow, head off across 1950s America on a road trip like no other, in search of the past and the future, money and love, justice and hope. A true epic, and a wonderful story in which to become immersed. Recommended by Jill

Maud Martha (Faber Editions): 'I loved it and want everyone to read this lost literary treasure.' Bernardine Evaristo

Gwendolyn Brooks

£8.99 £8.54

Every now and again, a book comes along that captivates the reader with its elegant form and glittering prose. Maud Martha is one such book, painting an evocative portrait of the titular character’s life from childhood to early adulthood. Over the course of the novella, we follow Maud Martha through childhood in Chicago’s South Side, her early romances as a teenager, to marriage and motherhood, moving seamlessly from the early 1920s to the mid ’40s. I loved this book for its gorgeous, poetic prose and beautiful use of imagery. A wonderful rediscovered gem! Recommended by Jacqui

The Coward

Jarred McGinnis

£9.99 £9.49

Jarred hasn’t spoken to his father in 10 years, however when a car accident leaves him paralysed he finds himself back home - penniless, jobless and with a penchant for shoplifting. The Coward is a darkly funny story of forgiveness, disability and familial ties that will stay with you long after the final page. Recommended by Lara

The Feast: THE FEAST: The classic summer holiday mystery

Margaret Kennedy and Cathy Rentzenbrink

£9.99 £9.49

Set in Cornwall in the summer of 1947, Margaret Kennedy’s The Feast is a thoroughly entertaining novel, cleverly constructed around the seven deadly sins. All the ingredients of a memorable ‘classic’ are here: a cast of eccentric characters; multiple disagreements and deceptions; a strange hotel with an atmospheric setting; and a mysterious tragedy to boot. A truly delightful summer read with some serious messages at its heart. Recommended by Jacqui

The Murders at Fleat House

Lucinda Riley

£20.00 £19.00

Published posthumously by her son, this is a good old-fashioned murder mystery such as one might watch on telly. A cast of fascinating characters, a raft of motives and diversions, this is a classic summer hit. Recommended by Francesca

The Weekend: A Sunday Times 'Best Books for Summer 2021'

Charlotte Wood

£8.99 £8.54

Four close friends have grown old together, and when one of them dies the other three spend a weekend together clearing out her old beach house. Secrets comes to the surface and decades’ old friendships are stretched to breaking point. Funny, sad, and insightful. Recommended by Wendy.

Burntcoat

Sarah Hall

£8.99 £8.54

A haunting, beautifully-crafted story of love, trauma and the creation of art, all set against the backdrop of a deadly global pandemic (not COVID, but a fictional virus with multiple ramifications). This multi-layered novel has so much to offer – a moving elegy to love, life, loss and creativity that acts as a testament to humanity’s resilience in the face of deep uncertainty. Definitely one of the best and most thought-provoking novels I’ve read this year. Recommended by Jacqui

Briefly, A Delicious Life

Nell Stevens

£14.99 £14.24

So different, so engrossing. A debut novel which is part ghost story, part love story, set in Mallorca and with a young girl at its centre who undergoes a transformation when she falls in love with a writer. Such a memorable book and beautifully written - a perfect summer hit. Recommended by Francesca

Love Marriage: Winner of the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature

Monica Ali

£18.98 £18.03

Compassionate, funny and thoroughly engrossing, Love Marriage tells the story of a young couple – Yasmin and Joe – hoping to tie the knot. As their respective families begin to get to know one another, various cultural and class differences emerge, opening up the fault lines in various relationships. This is a warm-hearted, easy-going read on the lighter side of the literary fiction spectrum, featuring characters the reader can invest in. Yasmin, in particular, must decide what she wants from life. Will she marry Joe? You’ll have to read the book to find out! Recommended by Jacqui

Still Life

Sarah Winman

£8.99 £8.54

Opening at the tail-end of World War II, and set in Florence and London’s East End over the next forty years, Still Life yokes together a group of unlikely kindred spirits and follows the adventures of their hearts. It asks the questions ‘what is family?’ and ‘does art matter?’ and answers them beautifully. Thoroughly entertaining and uplifting, it’s a real page-turner. Recommended by Sheryl and Jill

A Sunday in Ville-d'Avray

Dominique Barberis

£9.99 £9.49

This beautiful, evocative novella takes place in Paris on a Sunday afternoon in September, just at the crossover point between summer and autumn. As two sisters sit and chat in the garden, an intimate story unfolds, something the two women have never spoken about before. Claire Marie reveals a secret relationship from her past, a dalliance with a mysterious man she met at her husband’s office. A haunting story of unspoken desire, missed opportunities and avenues left unexplored, this dreamlike novella is as hypnotic as a summer afternoon. Recommended by Jacqui

Daughters of Night

Laura Shepherd-Robinson

£8.99 £8.54

Utterly compelling and hugely entertaining, this novel and its predecessor 'Blood & Sugar' can be read separately or in order. Historical mystery fiction of a very high order, these stories are addictive with memorable characters and lost of twists and turns as well as a brilliantly re-imagined background. Recommended by Francesca

Assembly

Natasha Brown

£8.99 £8.54

Narrated by an unnamed black British woman working in a London-based financial firm, Brown’s superb debut novella has much to say about so many vital sociopolitical issues – toxic masculinity, the shallowness of workplace diversity programmes, the pressure for people of colour to assimilate into a predominantly white society, and the social constructs that perpetuate Britain’s colonial history. Urgent and illuminating – a remarkable insight into how it must feel to be a young black woman in the superficially liberal sectors of society today. Recommended by Jacqui

Snow Country: SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Sebastian Faulks

£8.99 £8.54

The lives of journalist Anton, lawyer and would-be politician Rudolf and shop-girl Lena loosely intersect in and around Vienna in the first third of the 20th century. Snow Country is a tender and philosophical novel, richly peopled, about finding and losing love, about losing and finding oneself, and about how to overcome the pull of the past. Recommended by Jill

Open Water: Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2021

Caleb Azumah Nelson

£8.99 £8.54

This beautiful lyrical novella (winner of the Costa First Novel Award), is at once both a tender love story and a searing insight into what it feels to be young, black and male in South London. A vital story for our times from an exciting new voice. Recommended by Jacqui

Space Invaders

Nona Fernandez

£9.99 £9.49

This dazzling, shapeshifting novella conveys the trauma of daily life in Pinochet’s Chile as a group of classmates must deal with the loss of a friend. A beautifully-written novella of fragmented memories and haunted dreams, shining a light on a powerful story inspired by the author’s childhood. Recommended by Jacqui

Light Years

James Salter

£9.99 £9.49

A fabulous American elegy, entertaining and moving as well as benefitting from an acute observer's eye. This novel explores a marriage that is simply too good to be true, much like America itself. A lyrical and beautifully characterised ensemble piece which is perfect for reading with a chilled glass of something. Recommended by Francesca

Whereabouts

Jhumpa Lahiri

£8.99 £8.54

This slim, quietly reflective novella is an exploration of solitude, a meditation on aloneness and the sense of isolation that can sometimes accompany it. Lahiri’s prose is precise, poetic and pared-back, a style that feels perfectly in tune with the narrator’s world. A gorgeous book that can be read in an afternoon. Recommended by Jacqui

The Go-between

L. P. Hartley

£8.99 £8.54

A compelling story of secrets, betrayals and class conflicts, all set against the heady backdrop of the English countryside in July. Leo (now in his sixties) recalls a fateful summer spent at a school friend’s house in Norfolk some fifty years earlier, a trip that marked his life forever. The novel captures the pain of a young boy’s initiation into the workings of the adult world as Leo is caught between the innocence and subservience of childhood and the complexities of later life. One of my all-time favourite novels. Recommended by Jacqui

Cold Enough for Snow

Jessica Au

£9.99 £9.49

At first sight, the story being conveyed in Cold Enough for Snow seems relatively straightforward – a mother and her adult daughter reconnect to spend some time together in Japan. Nevertheless, the narrative is wonderfully slippery – cool and clear on the surface yet harbouring fascinating hidden depths. Just gorgeous! Recommended by Jacqui

Murder by the Book: Mysteries for Bibliophiles

£9.99 £9.49

Endlessly entertaining mystery and murder stories which have books at their centre. Another excellent holiday read, exciting, varied and engrossing, Recommended by Francesca

These Days: 'A gem of a novel, I adored it.' MARIAN KEYES

Lucy Caldwell

£12.99 £12.34

An engrossing, evocative portrayal of the Belfast Blitz, seen through the eyes of the Bells, a fictional middle-class family living in the city. What Caldwell does so well here is to make us care about these characters, investing in their respective hopes and dreams, concerns and anxieties. This is a beautiful, lyrical novel - good, traditional storytelling at its very best. Recommended by Jacqui and Gillian

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