Fern's Picks

 

Fern Britton picks

Books really are one of life’s greatest pleasures. There is nothing I love more than reading a brilliant book, talking to my friends about it afterwards and passing it on to share the love. It’s also wonderful to hear from you too about what you love reading, and so I am tremendously excited to announce my new book club, Fern’s Picks, exclusively with the lovely people at Tesco.

I will be selecting my favourite books for you to enjoy, and I am delighted we are starting off this book club with a bang with some incredible reads from incredible authors. On each book there are also some lovely bookish extras to get the conversation started. I so hope you enjoy my Fern’s Picks – don’t forget to let me know what you think using #FernsPicks!

A Woman's Fortune by Josephine Cox

The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Josephine Cox – the master storyteller.

With her family’s fate resting on her shoulders, Evie learns her lessons in life fast. It’s going to take a woman’s courage to find a new beginning…

One night, after her father gambles everything away, Evie and her family are forced to do a moonlight flit. It’s a fresh start in the South, where no-one knows their name, and Evie desperately misses all they’ve left behind. Yet Evie’s troubles are just beginning. Her mother, worn down by life, deserts them for a new man, and with her grandmother’s sight failing, Evie must carry the burden of earning their keep. Holding the family together becomes harder when tragedy strikes at its heart, but there is hope on the horizon . . .

Evie Carter just needs the courage to change the fortunes of her family.

Praise for Josephine Cox

‘Cox’s talent as storyteller never lets you escape the spellDaily Mail

‘Family secrets threaten to ruin everything in this beautiful tale of love and sadnessWoman’s Own

‘Another masterpieceBest

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah J. Harris

How do you solve a mystery when you can’t understand the clues?

’A rich tapestry… distinctive and compelling’ Observer

’A stunning whodunnit’ Mail on Sunday

‘A beautiful, original novel, at once funny and tragic and brave’ Sarah Pinborough

There are three things you need to know about Jasper.

1. He sees the world completely differently.
2. He can’t recognise faces – not even his own.
3. He is the only witness to the murder of his neighbour, Bee Larkham.

But uncovering the truth about that night will change his world forever…

An extraordinary and compelling debut which will make you see the world in a way you’ve never seen it before.

Cuckoo by Sophie Draper

There’s a stranger in your house…

When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.

But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.

As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?

A haunting and twisty story about the lies we tell those closest to us, perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Cass Green.

Readers love CUCKOO:

Spooky and absorbing. I was gripped from the first page’ CASS GREEN

‘A remarkably, taut and chilling debut. I absolutely loved it. Brilliant writing. All the creepiness. A heart-stopping ending’ CLAIRE ALLAN

‘Sophie Draper is a remarkable new voice, combining beautiful writing with a gothic creepiness and a level of suspense which will keep the reader gripped to the end’ STEPHEN BOOTH

After the Snow by Susannah Constantine

Christmas morning, 1969.

All eleven-year-old Esme Munroe wants for Christmas is for her mother to be on one of her ‘good’ days – and, secretly, for a velvet riding hat. So when she finds an assortment of wet towels and dirty plates in her stocking, she’s just relieved Father Christmas remembered to stop at The Lodge this year.

But later that day Esme’s mother disappears in the heavy snow. Even more mysteriously, only the Earl of Culcairn seems to know where she might have gone. Torn between protecting her mother and uncovering the secrets tumbling out of Culcairn Castle’s ornate closets, Esme realises that life will never be the same again after the snow…

Susannah Constantine provides a rare glimpse into the secret lives of the scandalous upper classes. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and The Crown

‘A modern day Nancy Mitford.’ 
Sir Elton John

‘Fans of Downton Abbey will love this.’ 
Davina McCall

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

‘Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

‘Funny, touching and unpredictable’ Jojo Moyes

Heartwrenching and wonderful’ Nina Stibbe

Deft, compassionate and moving’ Paula McLain

‘I adored it. Skilled, perceptive, Eleanor’s world will feel familiar to you from the very first page. An outstanding debut!’ Joanna Cannon

• Winner of Costa First Novel Award 2017
• No.1 Sunday Times bestseller
• Soon to be a major film by Reese Witherspoon

While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt

A PACY, CHILLING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO STOP READING!

‘Intensely atmospheric’ Mail on Sunday

A house full of secrets…
The McBride house lies on a remote Scottish island, isolated and abandoned. A century ago, a young widow and her son died mysteriously there. Last year a local boy, visiting for a dare, disappeared without a trace.

A woman alone at night…
For Zoe Adams, the house offers an escape from her failing marriage. But when night falls, her peaceful retreat is disrupted―scratches at the door, strange voices―and Zoe is convinced she is being watched.

A threat that lurks in the shadows…
The locals tell Zoe the incidents are merely echoes of the house’s dark past. Zoe is sure the danger is all too real―but can she uncover the truth before she is silenced?

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

‘Packed with secrets, scandal and suspense, this is Adele Parks at her absolute best.’ Heat

‘Wow! What a read. Intense, clever and masterful.’ Lisa Jewell

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

A gripping story of friendship and betrayal from international best-selling author Adele Parks

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning

‘A razor-sharp retelling of Vanity Fair’ Louise O’Neill

A hilarious contemporary retelling of the classic society novel, VANITY FAIR, featuring the irrepressible Becky Sharp

Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless – nothing can stop Becky Sharp.

Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status.

Whether it’s seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it’s worse at the bottom.

From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places – so get the hell out of her way…

A hilarious contemporary retelling of the classic society novel, VANITY FAIR, featuring the irrepressible Becky Sharp

Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless – nothing can stop Becky Sharp.

Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status.

Whether it’s seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it’s worse at the bottom.

From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places – so get the hell out of her way…

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields

‘Relentless pace, devilish cleverness and a laser-sharp focus on plot.’ Chris Brookmyre

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley

ISTANBUL, 1921

Before the Occupation, Nur’s city was a tapestry of treasures: the Grand Bazaar alive with colour, trinkets and spices; beautiful saffron sunsets and the sweet fragrance of the fig trees dancing on the summer breeze . . .

Now the shadow of war hangs over the city, and Nur lives for the protection of a young boy with a terrible secret. As she weaves through the streets, carrying the embroideries that have become her livelihood, she avoids the gazes of the Allied soldiers. Survival is everything.

When Nur chances upon George Monroe, a medical officer in the British Army, it is easy to hate him. Yet the lines between enemy and friend grow fainter. She and the boy would both be at risk. Nur knows that she cannot afford to fall – impossibly and dangerously – in love . . .

Mother by Hannah Begbie

HER LOVE FOR HER DAUGHTER IS EVERYTHING. HER LOVE FOR HIM IS DEADLY.

Cath had twenty-five perfect days with her newborn daughter before Mia’s deadly illness was diagnosed.

As her life implodes, Cath’s despair drives her to a parental support group where she meets a father in a similar situation, the dangerously attractive Richard – charming, handsome and adamant that a cure for their children lies just over the horizon: everything Cath wants to believe.

Their affair – and the chance to escape reality – is unavoidable, but carries catastrophic consequences: the nature of Mia’s illness means that Cath’s betrayal endangers not just her marriage but the life of her baby.

Can she stop herself before it’s too late?

How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

Kate Reddy is counting down the days until she is fifty, but not in a good way. Fifty, in Kate’s mind, equals invisibility. And with hormones that have her in shackles, teenage children who need her there but won’t talk to her and ailing parents who aren’t coping, Kate is in the middle of a sandwich that she isn’t even allowed to eat because of the calories.

She’s back at work after a big break at home, because somebody has to bring home the bacon now that her husband Rich has dropped out of the rat race to master the art of mindfulness. But just as Kate is finding a few tricks to get by in her new workplace, her old client and flame Jack reappears – complicated doesn’t even begin to cover it.

How Hard Can It Be? is a coming of age story for turning fifty. It’s about so much more than a balancing act; it’s about finding out who you are and what you need to feel alive when you’ve got used to being your own last priority. And every page will leave you feeling that there’s a bit of Kate Reddy in all of us.