Reading for Relaxation

Book clubs are very popular and now there are online book clubs which are thriving. Even the Duchess of Cornwall has launched one – her very own Reading Room on social media site Instagram.


One of her four recommendations this month is “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens which I have just read.  It is set in Barclay Cove, a fictional coastal town in North Carolina and describes the lasting damage of abandonment  (Kya is abandoned by her family), the impact of trauma on relationships (Kya is reluctant to form new relationships) and the constancy of nature in life which gives her the satisfaction which she never experienced from her family.


This book left a lasting impression on me and most other readers.  It is the coming of age story of a young girl growing up in the marshlands of the South in the fifties where she becomes a suspect in the murder of a man with whom she was once involved.

The descriptive passages are lyrical and it is being made into a film starring Daisy Edgar-Jones.


The Reading Agency has produced a wonderful collection of feel-good short stories to mark World Book Night (April 23rd).  IT is called “Stories to Make You Smile” and is free on ebook. Contributors include Richard Madeley and Jenny Sinclair.


My favourite authors in the following genres are:


Crime and Mystery: 

Ruth Rendell (aka Barbara Vine); P.D.James; Elizabeth George; Frances Fyfield ( I cannot bring myself to discard any of her novels despite the fact that I have read them all several times over the years); and Ann Cleeves (of Vera and Shetland fame).

Ian Rankin; Peter Robinson, Robert Goddard, Jeffery Deaver, John Connolly, Reginald Hill and my most recent discovery, Thomas H. Cook – I still think about the characters in “Breakheart Hill”.

When reading a series based on a particular detective, I recommend reading the books in chronological order e.g. “A Great Deliverance” is Elizabeth George’s first novel featuring Inspector Lynley.

Historical Fiction:   

Philippa Gregory, Jean Plaidy, Ken Follett and Simon Sebag Montefiore.


Santa Montefiore, Jojo Moyes, Erin Kingsley, Hilary Norman and Susan Howatch.


H.R.F.Keating; Bill Bryson, Christopher Brookmyre, Tom Sharpe and Janet Evanovich.  


Stephen King and also Anne Rice who wrote “Interview with the Vampire”. My favourite of her books is “Cry to Heaven” which is set in Venice centuries ago.


Charles Dickens; John Steinbeck; Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Thomas Hardy and Mervyn Peake.


Many of the above novels have been produced as excellent films and plays.

I cannot recommend any Science Fiction or “Chic Lit.” as I do not enjoy those genres as a rule.

Happy reading!


Written by Anita McGhee