What To Read This Season

With so many new releases each month, even the most ardent bookworms can struggle to pick what to read next. Where to even begin? Here at Whistles we love a good recommendation, so we rounded up the very best of the newest novel releases to see you through the new season.

The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

It’s sixteenth-century England, and recently orphaned May Owens is convicted for stealing a loaf of bread and sentenced to becoming a Sin Eater. A dark and sinister role, Owens now listens in on deathbed confessions, eating their sins as part of a funeral ritual. A grim existence, that is, until she hears the sins of two Queen courtiers, and embarks upon her own investigation into illicit palace rumours.

Infused with treason, treachery, femininity and the unexpected advantage of being an outcast, The Sin Eater has all the ingredients for the most potent Tudor dramas.

Coming Undone by Terri White

In this searing and beautifully told memoir, award-winning editor Terri White explores the polarisation between professional success and inner demons, and the mental struggle that ensues when attempting to hold it all together under an outward veneer of living the dream.

Outwardly, she had it all — inside, she was dealing with childhood trauma, from growing up in poverty and the sexual abuse she faced at the hands of her mother’s partners. On this tightrope, White skids towards a mental health crisis. Coming Undone is White’s emotive retelling of her mental unravel, and of putting herself back together again.

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville

Using the historical letters of the Devon-born farmer’s daughter Elizabeth Macarthur – who married the corrupt British settler John Macarthur – A Room Made of Leaves explores what Elizabeth’s life might have been like, while delving into more urgent historical topics like colonialism in Australia and the ramifications of British privilege against the oppression of the Aboriginal community. An important read.

Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Under Currents explores what happens behind closed doors. Set in a small fictional lakeside town, the idyllic setting contrasts with the dark underbelly of family life, where teenager Zane and his younger sister Britt are living with an abusive father and dysfunctional mother. Until one night, when their father’s temper is exposed and the children escape. What happens next? This book will keep you on the edge of your seat — one to savour over a rainy weekend.

A Better Man by Louise Penny

Sometimes there’s nothing as escapist as a good murder mystery. A gripping and suspenseful thriller, A Better Man follows Armand Ganache on his first investigation as head of homicide. There’s a body in the river, and the victim’s father wants to seek his own revenge. Ganache – himself a father – is faced with a moral dilemma: should he stop him?

Rag and Bone by Lisa Woollett

Rag and Bone explores with fervour items found in the Thames, from bits of old lego to combs, buttons and cassette tapes. Woollett is herself a keen beachcomber, she has long foraged along shorelines and salvaged items others have deemed as scrap; in this timely and poignant book, she delves into our relationship with waste over history, and how modern attitudes are affecting the planet upon which we live.

Humankind by Rutger Bregman

Imagine if the world really was a kinder place? In Human Kind, author and historical Rutger Bregman analyses human behaviour across history, rejecting the idea that human beings are inherently selfish and makes a case for our capacity for compassion. An uplifting and utopian read — one we definitely need in 2020.

Outraged by Ashley Dotty Charles

Online media has paved the way for outrage culture, where society can publicly shame others for bad behaviour, involve themselves in flash activism and condemn rather than challenge. But it’s a catch 22 of cancel and repeat. In Outraged, Ashley Dotty Charles challenges our behaviours and makes a case for listening and responding with insight, rather than insult, in order to make a better society.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Picture this: a retreat in the Hudson Valley, complete with organic dinners, fitness coaches and daily massages. Better still, you get paid for being there. Sounds idyllic, right? But there’s a catch. The women on The Farm aren’t allowed to leave for nine whole months — you’re there to produce a baby for super wealthy clients. In this Margaret Atwood-esque dystopia, this book challenges our perceptions of womanhood, motherhood and money.

A Double Life by Charlotte Philby

In A Double Life, Gabriela, a counter-terrorism agent based in Whitehall, goes to Moscow for a seven-month stint, and when she gets back, something is amiss. Her life collides with Isobel, an investigative journalist who has witnessed a horrific attack; as Isobel digs deeper, she discovers a network of human trafficking and Gabriela’s life comes crashing down.

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