Cardiff Mummy Says online ‘lockdown’ book club – the next four books

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I’ve loved the last three weeks of Cardiff Mummy Says online book clubs. Reading is proving to be a great comfort to me right now, giving me that all-important time away from the constant pinging on my phone and the never-ending social media posts and news. A little bit of escapism amid such unprecedented times.

The weekly discussions on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, via Facebook Live, have been going well, and it’s been great to hear what other people think of the books too, as well as get their recommendations of books to read.

We have the fourth of our original four choices later this week (Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time, which I finished earlier today and loved), and then below I’ve detailed the next four books.

I know some of you will have more time to read than others, in which case you may like to choose one of the later books. You can join in with as few or as many as you like. If you can’t make the dates below then you can still message me at any time with your thoughts on the book, or comment on the discussion via the social media posts and I’ll read them out during the live sessions.

The online discussions don’t contain any spoilers for the books, so if you’re half way through, curious about the book, or just want to connect with other book lovers, then you are still very welcome to join in.

Getting to a physical bookstore may well be difficult for lots of you right now – although do check your local bookstore as lots of them are offering delivery. If you don’t have a Kindle or similar device, you can download books via the Books app on Apple devices or GooglePlay books on Android, sometimes for as little as 99p. or you can download the Kindle App to your phone/tablet for free and purchase the books on Amazon direct to the app. You can also download audio books via the Audible app or borrow books for free via the library app Borrow Box.

The Amazon links on this page are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase via this link, I’ll receive a small commission fee at no extra cost to you.

Friday 23 April, 8.30pm – How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Thursday 30 April, 8.30pm – Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Thursday 7 May, 8.30pm – The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Thursday 14 May, 8.30pm – In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Friday 22 May, 8.30pm – The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

 

Friday 23 April, 8.30pm – How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Cardiff Mummy Says online book c;lub

This week’s book is How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. It was originally scheduled in for this Thursday but due to another online event, I’ve had to swap it to Friday 24 April at 8.30pm. I’m around half way through and loving it. If you’ve

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. The reviews have been incredible and I love following Matt on Twitter. I’m looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the hype.

What the publishers say:

How many lifetimes does it take to learn how to live?

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen it all. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can keep one step ahead of his past – and stay alive. The only thing he must not do is fall in love.

 

What the reviewers said:

“An imaginative, ambitious novel by an author with an infectious passion for history and the human condition” (Sunday Express)

“Haig writes exquisitely from the perspective of the heart-sore outsider, but at their most moving his novels reveal the unbearable beauty of ordinary life” (Guardian)

 

 

 

The next four weeks of books are as follows.

Thursday 30 April, 8.30pm – Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I loved Celete Ng’s second novel Little Fires Everywhere and have been wanting to read this one for ages. I’d already been planning to include it in the second lot of book club books… and then someone mentioned it during last week’s book club discussion, and that cemented my decision to have it as the first of the new lot of books.

What the publishers say:

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfil the dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest in the family – Hannah – who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.

What the critics say:

“This intriguing tale of unhappy families will have you gripped from the opening line . . .No wonder it beat Hilary Mantel and Stephen King to win Amazon’s book of the year” (Stylist)

“Excellent . . . an accomplished debut . . . heart-wrenching . . . Ng deftly pulls together the strands of this complex, multigenerational novel. Everything I Never Told You is an engaging work that casts a powerful light on the secrets that have kept an American family together-and that finally end up tearing it apart” (Los Angeles Times)

 

 

 

Thursday 7 May, 8.30pm – The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

 

I’ve heard such good things about this book, I can’t wait to read it. A Sunday Times Bestseller as well as Best Paperback of 2020 pick, BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick and BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, I want to read this one before it becomes a major TV series. It is the intoxicating story of one woman’s dreams of freedom in Victorian England and the man whose obsession threatens to destroy them forever…

What the publishers say:

London. 1850. On a crowded street, the dollmaker Iris Whittle meets the artist Louis Frost. Louis is a painter who yearns to have his work displayed in the Royal Academy, and he is desperate for Iris to be his model. Iris agrees, on the condition that he teaches her to paint.

Dreaming of freedom, Iris throws herself into a new life of art and love, unaware that she has caught the eye of a second man. Silas Reed is a curiosity collector, enchanted by the strange and beautiful. After seeing Iris at the site of the Great Exhibition he finds he cannot forget her.

As Iris’s world expands, Silas’s obsession grows. And it is only a matter of time before they meet again…

What the reviewers said:

“Macneal is excellent on the tension between idealised women and the reality… The Doll Factory is a remarkably strong debut, clever and readable with flashes of wonderful, descriptive prose.” (Book of the Month The Times)

“Astounding… I recommend it wholeheartedly.” (Jo Whiley, BBC Radio 2 Book Club)

 

Thursday 14 May, 8.30pm – In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

 

This flashed up on the recommended reads section on iBooks on my phone as being perfect for fans of Me Before You (Jo Jo Moyes) and One Day (David Nicholls) and as I loved both of those books, and it was only 99p (currently still 99p on Kindle), I downloaded it straight away. According to Amazon, “this heart-breaking story of love, loss and life will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about destiny…”

 

What the publishers say:

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has been in possession of her meticulously crafted answer since she understood the question. On the day that she nails the most important job interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her life goals.
That night Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future.

It was just a dream, she tells herself when she wakes, but it felt so real… Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four and a half years later, when Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream…

In Five Years is a love story, brimming with joy and heartbreak. But it is definitely not the love story you’re expecting.

 

What the reviewers say:

“This surprising, sob-inducing novel is the ultimate makes-you-sit-up-and-think read… We inhaled this pitch-perfect story in one delicious go.“ (Fabulous magazine)

“Clever, compelling and always surprising. A wonderfully unique read.” (Heidi Swain, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Christmas Wish List)

“Touching, poignant and I wept buckets through the first half, so I would advise you not to read it in public.” (Prima)

 

 

 

Friday 22 May, 8.30pm – The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I’ve been obsessed with this book ever since I randomly turned on the radio and heard the author being interviewed just before it was released. I was completely gripped by what she was saying. Usually I’d wait until the paperback release but I keep hearing such amazing things, I can’t wait until next February. Kiran Millwood Hargrave usually writes children’s books, for which she’s won a host of awards including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year and the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year. This is her first grown up novel – and it sounds amazing.

What the publishes say:

For readers of Circe and The Handmaid’s Tale, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and about a love that could prove as dangerous as it is powerful.

Winter, 1617. The sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. A young woman, Maren, watches as the men of the island, out fishing, perish in an instant. Vardø is now a place of women.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of the island to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In her new home, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs…

 

What the reviewers say:

“Beautiful and chilling.” (Madeline Miller, author of Circe)

“Took my breath away.” Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring

“The Mercies is among the best novels I’ve read in years. In addition to its beautiful writing, its subject matter is both enduring and timely.” (New York Times Book Review)

 

 

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