AS a mother of four young children reading for me is a form of escapism really. I absolutely adore disappearing into a different world, away to a place where Covid- 19 and home-schooling are but distant thoughts. Every summer I always like to have a list of books to look forward to reading by the seaside in Cornwall and although that scenario is but a figment of my imagination this year, it is always nice to have a few book suggestions in case the stars align and you find yourself some summer evening relaxing in the garden with a few moments peace.
I’ve put together a list of books I’ve enjoyed over the last while, I actually feel like I could have suggested ten more but I wanted to try and pick books good variety of settings, subject matter and genres. If you are not a reader or you’ve fallen out of the habit try one of these books and see if it sparks something in you that you had forgotten existed.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is probably my favourite book of all time, when I finished it, I couldn’t read another book for a week because I was so moved by it. The book is beautifully written and the setting, the story and the characters are so unusual I was completely and utterly enthralled. It follows the life of Kya, who lives in the Marshlands of North Carolina. She is abandoned by her family as a young child and it follows her life as she navigates survival, society, relationships and a murder trial with nature being her one true teacher, guide and saviour.
Skin Deep by Liz Nugent is a book that is rare in that the lead character is virtually impossible to warm to yet the book impossible to put down. It’s a thriller set between a small island off the coast of Ireland and the French Riviera, a gripping perhaps somewhat unsettling read.
A man called Ove by Fredrick Backman is a quirky book and while it might seem odd to say that the book follows Ove as he considers committing suicide, it is in fact a beautiful read that depicts how simple human interactions can have a seismic effect even on those who might think they don’t want or need them.
The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley consists of six (very long!) books about six very different sisters adopted by an illusive man called Pa Salt. Each book is set loosely around their lavish home on the shores of Lake Geneva and follows each sister as they set out to discover where in the world they come from.
What I loved about these books is that each sister comes from a completely different place and time and you get a most fascinating history lesson woven perfectly into each book.
The Nightingale by Kirstin Hannah is set during World War Two and follows two sisters as they battle to survive the German occupation of France. Both sisters show incredible resilience and bravery by helping others despite the extreme threat it poses them and the book is inspired by the true story of Belgian woman who helped fallen Allied pilots to escape from France.
The Importance of being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen is the first in a series of three books and if you are looking for some very light, very Irish reading these are the books for you. I honestly think we all know an ‘Aisling’ or maybe we all have a bit of Aisling in us and these books are light-hearted, warm and I dare you not to laugh out loud when you identify with Irish-isms you didn’t even know existed.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins has garnered many headlines for a variety of reasons, not all of them necessarily centred around the book itself but putting all that aside it is a brilliant book. It follows the journey of a mother and her 8 year old son as they flee their home in Acapulco, Mexico after their family is murdered by a cartel and they have to make a gruelling escape to America.
The Hungry Road by Marita Conlon McKenna is basically the adult version of a book we would all have been familiar with as children growing up in Ireland, Under the Hawthorn Tree. Set once again during the famine it follows the lives of people within different sections of society in Bandon, West Cork and despite the heavy subject matter she captures the goodness of people with every turn of the page in this book.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; is a substantial read weaving together two stories set during World War Two. One story revolves around a young blind French girl, the other story around a German soldier and how their worlds eventually collide with the help of a very precious jewel.
Eimear Hutchinson is writing a Parenting and Lifestyle column weekly for WoW! The mum of four small girls runs a blog. She has a doctorate in Engineering but is taking time out currently, raising her four girls. She loves DIY projects, exploring outdoors and figuring out how to make life run smoothly in a busy house.