Book Recommendations March 2020


We have asked our members to recommend books that they have read recently. Here are just a few:

The Home by Sarah Stovell

The Home by Sarah Stovell is a book that will swallow you up, and then spit you out, your heart will break, you will live and breathe the tragic and horrifying story of three young girls Hope, Lara and Annie. These characters will burrow their way into your heart and mind leaving you bereft as this haunting tale reaches its final pages. The Home is part mystery, part thriller, and yet it’s so much more, it’s an emotive, deeply moving, and tragic tale of those who live amid abuse and poverty.

Hope, Laura and Annie first meet in The Home, three damaged girls who find themselves bound together by their horrifying and imaginable pasts. The story begins with the shocking death of pregnant fifteen-year-old Hope, but Hope’s death is only the beginning of the story, what lies beneath is the heart-breaking story of three girls failed by a system, failed by the very people who should have been protecting them. Although this is a fictional story, for me it’s felt like the heartbreaking story of thousands of children who have been placed in care through no fault of their own.

The authors almost lyrical prose could seem at odds with this harrowing tale, but the two fit perfectly together creating one of the most emotive stories I have ever read. Sarah Stovell has created three living, breathing characters, you feel their every emotion, anger, despair, fear and frustration. It’s a story that’s brutal, disquieting, and uncomfortable and yet there are tender moments filled with ‘hope’, love and friendships.

Sarah Stovall has written a book that’s left me broken, as I reached the final pages I openly cried for Hope, Annie and Laura, and that’s a testament to the author’s superb writing. The author has bravely tackled some uncomfortable subjects, but in doing so she has created a beautiful, compelling read that will haunt me for a long time to come.

Recommendation by the

Buy Home on Amazon


The Lies We Hide” by S.E. Lynes

S.E. Lynes has taken a departure from her usual thriller genre with this powerful work of literary fiction. When I was just barely half-way through this novel I knew it would be on my ‘Best of 2019’ list for sure. Brilliant!

It was the outstanding characterization that makes this novel a five star read. Told from three different points of view, each is told with such empathy and deep understanding that you feel you know the characters personally.

Carol’s story was heartbreaking, and all too real. Although this is a book about domestic abuse and its aftermath, it was told in such a compelling way that it had a unique impact.

Though the book is set in the Liverpool area, it could be set anywhere. It is the characters and their often tragic story that shines in this book. I was so mesmerized and engaged with these characters that I couldn’t put the book down until the final page was read. And then… already I missed the characters. I thought I’d list my favourite characters, then I stopped myself because really I loved them all with a special mention to Carol Watson, Jim MacKay, and Graham Watson. Oh, and I cannot fail to mention the heartwarming friendship between Carol and her next-door neighbour and best-friend, Pauline.

A novel about bravery, cowardliness, kindness, grief, loss, hope, contrition, self-sacrifice, shame, and endurance. It speaks to the resilience and love of family white at the same time lamenting how precious time is with the ones we love – and who love us.

Just because this novel is not a thriller does not mean that it can’t have plot twists. There are a few near the end that will satisfy most readers. Not shocking as such, just secrets revealed slowly over time, like peeling back the layers of an onion.

Highly recommended, memorable, literary fiction!

Recommendation by Lynne LeGrow

Buy the Lies we Hide on Amazon


Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch

When Bella Tyson, a crime writer in her forties, is offered an apartment in Venice by one of her fans, it doesn’t take her long to agree to go. After huge success, Bella now suffers from writer’s block and hopes that spending time in the world’s most perfect romantic setting will give her the inspiration to write her next book. Soon after her arrival she finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a series of grotesque (and rather inventive) murders, when she’s invited to tag along with Will, the Englishman seconded to investigated them along with the Venice police. This book is hilarious, the murders are shocking, and the twists surprising. Also, the narration of the Dead in Venice audio book version, is one of the best we’ve come across.

Recommendation by the MyVLF team

Buy Dead in Venice on Amazon


Us by David Nicholls

This is a sad but amusing portrayal of family life. The strained marriage and distant teenager, and one man – who clearly doesn’t do social situations well – trying to keep his family together. Set against the backdrop of an art and culture tour through Europe, we helplessly watch as he puts his foot in it time after time, and desperation makes him make even more mistakes.

We thoroughly enjoyed this book for the well drawn characters and David Nicholl’s expert prose. An easy read that also makes you think and perhaps even do a bit of introspective wondering. This will suit men and women as the main character is male, but is equally relevant to all genders.

Recommendation by the MyVLF team

Buy Us on Amazon