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 #readitandtweet 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! 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!
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
Possibly the only drawback about the bestselling How To Be A Woman was that its author, Caitlin Moran, was limited to pretty much one subject: being a woman. MORANTHOLOGY is proof that Caitlin can actually be ‘quite chatty’ about many other things, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually the province of learned professors, or hot-shot wonks – and not a woman who once, as an experiment, put a wasp in a jar, and got it stoned.
The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
Young Gwenni Morgan has a gift. She can fly in her sleep. She’s also fond of strawberry whip, detective stories and asking difficult questions. When a neighbour mysteriously vanishes, she resolves to uncover the secret of his disappearance and return him to his children. She truthfully records what she sees and hears: but are her deductions correct? What is the real truth? And what will be the consequences – for Gwenni, her family and her community – of finding it out? Gwenni Morgan is an unforgettable creation, and this portrait of life in a small Welsh town on the brink of change in the 1950s is enthralling, moving and utterly real. Mari Strachan’s debut is a magical novel that will transport you to another time and place.
Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna
TIGER HILLS is a sweeping multigenerational story set in a coffee plantation in Coorg, southern India, in the 19th Century. The novel begins with the birth of Devi, a special child, who befriends a young boy whose mother has died in tragic circumstances. Over the years, Devi and Devanna become inseparable as they go to school together and learn more about the extended family that surrounds them. However things change when Devi meets Muthi, a young man who has killed a tiger and is feted as a hero. Although she is still a child and Muthi is a man, Devi vows that one day she will marry him. It is this love that will gradually drive a wedge between her and her friend Devanna, who has been taken under the wing of a local missionary. She is blind to the fact that Devanna himself has fallen for her. He leaves the village to study medicine, in the hope that when he returns she will see his worth and return his love, but then a tragedy changes the fate of all three, withfar-reaching consequences for the generations to come.
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marion Keyes
Marian Keyes, the No. 1 bestselling author of Rachel's Holiday, is back with her stunning new novel The Mystery of Mercy Close and the return of the legendary and beloved Walsh sisters. Helen Walsh doesn't believe in fear - it's just a thing invented by men to get all the money and good jobs - and yet she's sinking. Her work as a Private Investigator has dried up, her flat has been repossessed and now some old demons have resurfaced. Not least in the form of her charming but dodgy ex-boyfriend Jay Parker, who shows up with a missing persons case. Money is tight and Jay is awash with cash, so Helen is forced to take on the task of finding Wayne Diffney, the 'Wacky One' from boyband Laddz.
Things ended messily with Jay. And she's never going back there. Besides she has a new boyfriend now, the very sexy detective Artie Devlin and it's all going well. But the reappearance of Jay is stirring up all kinds of stuff she thought she'd left behind. Playing by her own rules, Helen is drawn into a dark and glamorous world, where her worst enemy is her own head and where increasingly the only person she feels connected to is Wayne, a man she's never even met. Utterly compelling, moving and very very funny, The Mystery of Mercy Close is unlike any novel you've ever read and Helen Walsh - courageous, vulnerable and wasp-tongued - is the perfect heroine for our times.
Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley
A heart-rending page turner which sweeps from war-torn Europe to Thailand and back again . . . As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park estate, where her grandfather tended the exotic flowers. So when a family tragedy strikes, Julia returns to the tranquility of Wharton Park and its hothouse. Recently inherited by charismatic Kit Crawford, the estate is undergoing renovation. This leads to the discovery of an old diary, prompting the pair to seek out Julia's grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park. Julia is taken back to the 1940s where the fortunes of young couple Olivia and Harry Crawford will have terrible consequences on generations to come. For as war breaks out Olivia and Harry are cruelly separated ...
The Unseen by Katherine Webb
England, 1911. Reverend Albert Canning, a vicar with a passion for spiritualism - and his naive wife, Hester - lead a happy existence in the sleepy parish of Cold Ash Holt, Berkshire. As summer dawns, their quiet lives are changed forever by two new arrivals. First comes Cat, the new maid; a free-spirited and disaffected young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the suffragette movement and with the law. Over-educated for her station, Cat baulks at her life of servitude, quickly finding a place for herself in the secret underbelly of local society as she plots her escape.Then comes Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, with whom Albert has been in correspondence, enticed to visit Cold Ash Holt by the vicar's tales of elemental beings in the water meadows around the village. A young man of magnetic charm and beauty, Robin Durrant soon becomes an object of fascination and repressed passion for Albert.During a long spell of oppressive summer heat, the rectory at Cold Ash Holt becomes charged with ambition, love and jealousy; a mixture of emotions so powerful that it leads, ultimately, to murder.