THE GODMOTHERS by Monica McInerney (Welbeck £12.99, 400 pp)


by Monica McInerney (Welbeck £12.99, 400 pp)

This wonderful, glamorous and brilliantly written novel had me gripped from start to finish. We swoop across the world with Eliza as she leaves Australia for Britain to find the truth about her mother —charming but tricky and tragic Jeannie.

The godmothers of the title, Jeannie’s best friends, are on hand to help. Maxie’s a famous actress, while Olivia runs a luxury Edinburgh hotel whose staff abounds with hunky men.

Romantic, moving and funny, the action-packed plot considers families and how to survive them. While we root for our lovely heroine every inch of the way, my favourite character was Sullivan, the adorably formal 11-year-old whom Eliza meets on a plane.


THE ART OF FALLING by Danielle McLaughlin (John Murray £16.99, 304 pp)

by Danielle McLaughlin (John Murray £16.99, 304 pp)

Things come in threes, as art curator Nessa is about to find out. As the story opens she’s reeling from the discovery of her husband’s affair. Then a strange woman appears at the gallery where she works and puts her job in jeopardy.

To round things off nicely, an old lover turns up, complete with angry son who forms a worrying liaison with Nessa’s teenage daughter.

As everything collapses around her, Nessa must make some tough choices.

I loved the middle-class family lifestyle details and the inside track on the art world.

As well as the cleverness of the finest characters being the dead ones: Nessa’s best friend Amy dictates events from beyond the grave, as does Robert Locke, the goatish 1970s sculptor who seems to have tricked everyone.

A BEAUTIFUL SPY by Rachel Hore (S&S £16.99, 416 pp)


by Rachel Hore (S&S £16.99, 416 pp)

Based on a true story, this fantastic novel follows the adventures of a suburban girl recruited by MI5 to infiltrate the British Communist Party (BCP) in the years before World War II.

Under the instruction of Max, her charismatic handler, Minnie Gray lands a job as assistant to the General Secretary of the BCP.

Hore reveals a thrilling world of high-stakes politics alongside the inner life of a passionate young woman leading a dangerous double existence. The humdrum, lonely nature of espionage is brilliantly evoked; Minnie longs for friendships but can’t get too close, while love is out of the question, particularly love for Max.

Exciting, impeccably researched and full of powerful period atmosphere.

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