In past weeks I have become slightly obsessed with transforming the function of our coffee table from occasional footrest and free paper dumping ground into ‘cool book’ placeholder. I’ve swept away the month old Times of Indias and am slowly replacing them with pages of goodness of my choice stacked high. But I’m not going all Hemmingway on your ass, I’m talking pages packed with my favourite topics – romantic fiction. I’ve found the Amazon book section to hold some absolute gems and as I’ve spent a large proportion of this weekend packed tightly on trains I’ll be taking a bit of a time-out and curling up in the window seat getting my teeth into some of these beauties.
First up, Garden Spells. Sarah Addison Allen’s books are like getting a warm hug while simultaneously being punched in the gut: They mix love and family with secrets and lies, plus a hint of the occult. Allen describes her novels as ‘Southern fried magic realism’ and the term fits. Her debut novel, Garden Spells, tells the story of the Waverley women, who are dealing with dirty secrets, small town politics, and the magical talents that set them apart from the other families of Bascom, North Carolina. When I discovered Dangerous Girls, touted as Gone Girl’s little sister and with a plethora of devoted fans, I knew I had to pick it up. And to my delight, it was just as thrilling, addictive and twisted (in the best way) as I thought it would be. Isolation, buried secrets and larger-than-life characters all come into play in Diane Setterfield’s suspenseful novel The Thirteenth Tale. One of my favorite books of the last few years, this novel explores the bonds that people share with one another, ranging from relationships beginning at birth to those started right before death. The final read in my coffee table quartet Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, has the story’s foundation clearly influenced by none other than Beauty and the Beast, but with magical twists and turns that make you wonder how it will end.
So those are the latest additions to my wannabe cool coffee table; but my book haul didn’t end there. Oh no. Love Style Life is winging its way to me in the post right now. Who says I don’t have literacy taste?