When you have binged everything there is to binge and you are stuck wondering what to do next there is always a great, unputdownable novel out there for you. This list of page turners has been compiled from recommendations from book-addicted friends, family and colleagues, not to mention novels I lost sleep over myself. If you have found yourself struggling to get through a book, even though you want to, one of these amazing stories will definitely change that for you.
The Paper Palace
- Miranda Cowley Heller
This story of toxic families topped the New York Times bestseller list and, within a few chapters, it is easy to see why. Told from the point-of-view of Ellie Bishop, a seemingly happily married woman and mother of three, the story lures you into her past and present with such intensity you feel like you are living it yourself. On the surface this is the story of a tumultuous love triangle, but as you read on the story delves so much deeper, painting the picture of family, loss and betrayal with such dexterity there is no longer black, or white, only a poignant grey.
Where the Crawdads Sing
- Delia Owen
Part crime story, part love story and part nature documentary, Where the Crawdads Sing is a rare thing in literature, a beautifully crafted story that you simply cannot put down. The main protagonist, Kya Clark, is one of the most unique characters to ever inhabit the printed word. Her life lived at the remote fringes of society, in a swamp, is fascinating and beautiful. Drawing strongly on the notion of "otherness" this novel reflects society's habit of vilifying what they don't understand. Kya and her story will stay with you long after you finish the final page.
The Midnight Library
– Matt Haig
When Nora Seed dies, she is surprised to find herself in a large library faced with the chance to re-do every decision she has ever made. Will she choose wisely? Will she find that road not taken and find the life she always wanted. This unusual premise is told with such warmth, wisdom and realism you will find yourself investing in every life that Nora lives.
– Jeanne Cummins
A heart-wrenching but also hopeful story of a middle-class Mexican woman forced to flee the country with her son after her husband, a journalist, is killed by a drug cartel. What follows is a non-stop and often violent journey from Latin America to the supposed safety of the United States. Along the way the mother and son join forces with other desperate refugees on the same harrowing journey and them finding a home becomes all the reader can think about as they turn page after page, late into the night.
– Fredrik Backman
Seemingly about a small town pitting its hopes of a future on their local high school hockey team, this novel is really a dark exploration of adolescent desire and male privilege. When a young woman comes forward in the wake of a traumatic sexual assault, she faces the collective denial of an entire town. Will she succumb to societal pressure to forget the whole thing for the greater good of the town?
- Madeline Miller
This is not a new release but it stays with you as lasts the test of time, so if you haven't read it then the time is now. A tale of hapless parenting, sibling rivalry and petty jealousy told through the lens of Greek mythology, Circe is a captivating story. The protagonist is Circe, daughter of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans. As a child Circe shows little promise in terms of her power and authority in the godly realm, causing Helios to show her little affection and her siblings to ridicule her. Finding that ultimately, she can summon dark magic Circe finally has some power, but the question is, what will she do with it? Inherently the story of an outcast, struggling to find her place, Circe weaves a captivating spell on the reader that will linger for years to come.
- Angie Kim
With elements of a whodunnit mystery, a star-crossed love story and a family saga, Miracle Creek will have you hooked from the start. When an explosion during an experimental medical facility kills two patients all fingers point to the family running the hyperbaric chamber. The family in question are immigrants, who have found assimilating to the US challenging. As the story of the family unfolds, we also get insight into each and every patient who was there that fateful day. With each revelation the reader gets one step closer to finding out who caused the explosion and why.
Before You Knew My Name
- Jacqueline Bublitz
Two women, one twice the other's age, head to New York for a fresh start. Life is never that simple, however and when the younger of the two is murdered their lives become intertwined in death, despite them never meeting in life. The young, deceased Alice narrates the story from her grave, a writing gambit that could easily go awry, but is handled with grace and humour by Bublitz. Too emotionally laden to be just a mystery, Before You Knew My Name will keep you up at night in the very best way.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope
- Joanna Glen
Augusta Hope is every child that marched to the beat of their own drum and never quite fit in. She is hopelessly misunderstood by her parents and her only ally in life is her twin sister, Julia. As the twins grow older, however, even their special bond is tested by their vastly different life choices. When Augusta suffers an earth-shattering tragedy she goes back to the one place she was ever happy, a small town in Spain, where she meets someone who is just as lost as she is. This is part family drama, part love story, part travel guide and is written so honestly you will feel like you are saying goodbye to close friends when you reach the final page.
Sorrow and Bliss
- Meg Mason
A dark journey into a woman struggling to make sense of her life. Dealing with divorce and mental illness you would be forgiven for thinking this sounds like a depressing novel to steer clear of, but it is in fact charming and very funny. It's a novel about mental illness, how families absorb and accommodate it, and yet it will make you laugh out loud. This is the kind of novel that you will want to devour in one sitting.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
- Taylor Jenkins Reid
On the lighter side of things is this sweeping tale of an ageing film star who seeks out a little known writer to tell her captivating life story to before she dies. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn Hugo's life is a riveting saga. As the writer she has chosen, Monique, listens to the tale unfold she can't help but wonder why Evelyn chose her of all people to tell her story to? For a novel high on enjoyment, that won't leave you feeling wrung out at the end, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an easy choice.