Ask yourself, how many really good books have you read in the last year? We don’t mean kinda-liked-it good, but brilliant-can’t-stop-thinking-about-it good. Exactly! And with so-called 'chick-lit' sales down 10% in the last year, it seems female authors are no longer being taken seriously.
We reckon that’s unfair – because so many brilliant novels are written by women. In our new campaign, we want you to seek a world outside books with pink covers...
So in our #readitandtweet guide to fab books written by women, Company staffers, and some other familiar faces, share the novels they've loved.
Even better, all of these books are available on the iBookstore too! Take a look at our April recommendations here, tweet @companymagazine your own recommendations using #readitandtweet and join our mission to let the world know about the amazing world of female fiction – it’s chick lit, but not as you know it!
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible tells the story of an American family in the Congo during a time of tremendous political and social upheaval. The story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it – from garden seeds to Scripture – is calamitously transformed on African soil.
This tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against one of history's most dramatic political parables. The Poisonwood Bible dances between the darkly comic human failings and inspiring poetic justices of our times. In a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption, Barbara Kingsolver has written a novel of overwhelming power and passion.
Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake - but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow, plies her culinary trade at the crêperie - and lets her memory play strange games. As her nephew attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes Framboise has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers, memories of a disturbed childhood during the German Occupation flood back, and expose a past full of betrayal, blackmail and lies.
A Summer Fling by Milly Johnson
When dynamic, power-dressing Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work. But none of them could have predicted the fierce bond of friendship that her leadership would inspire. . . Anna, 39, is reeling from the loss of her fiancé, who ran off with a much younger woman. Her pride in tatters, these days Anna finds it difficult to leave the house. So when a handsome, mysterious stranger takes an interest in her, she's not sure whether she can learn to trust again?
Then there's Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because, unable to have children of her own, she fell in love with his motherless brood. Grace worries that Dawn is about to make the same mistake: orphaned as a child, engaged to love-rat Calum, is Dawn more interested in the security that comes with his tight-knit, boisterous family? When a sexy, footloose rock singer catches her eye, will Dawn have the courage to follow her heart? At 28, Raychel is the youngest member of their little gang. And with a loving husband, Ben, and a cosy little nest for two, she would seem to be the happiest. But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so guarded and unwilling to open up?
Under Christie's warm hand, the girls soon realise they have some difficult choices to make. Indeed, none of them quite realised how much they needed the sense of fun, laughter, and loyalty that abounds when five women become friends. It's one for all, and all for one!
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
This breathtaking epic unveils a dazzling empire riddled with secrets, drowning in blood. Orphaned by Rome's savage legions, Thea, a slave girl from Judea, has learned what it takes to survive. She knows only violence until a chance meeting with Gladiator Arius offers a shred of tenderness. But their bond is severed when Thea is sold again, condemned to rot in squalor. Years later, a singer known as Athena betrays no hint of her troubled past.
Catching the eye of the Emperor himself, she is swept into a world of decadence and depravity. But although Domitian fears betrayal from every side, he is unaware that the greatest threat lies next to him - a slave girl who has come to be called the Mistress of Rome....