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Book Group Reading List

WI members may read reviews on the books below made by other members and add their own reviews as well.

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May 2024

MISS BENSON’S BEETLE by RACHEL JOYCE

It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.
Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.

A few of us found plenty to discuss this afternoon and decided we really liked both Marjorie and Enid.
The last chapter takes the story full circle in a way that is heartwarming and charming and feminist and hopeful. It really works and it proves that Rachel Joyce is fully capable of an ending that leaves the reader with a smile.

March 2024

The Lords day by Michael Dobbs

The State Opening of Parliament. The most magnificent royal occasion of the year. The Queen, her Cabinet and all the most powerful people in the land are gathering in one room, the House of Lords. And none of them know they are about to endure the most terrifying day of their lives. Not all of them will survive.Sitting amongst the hostages are two young men, the sons of the British Prime Minister and the US President. It creates the cruellest challenge any leader could face. As the world watches on live television and holds its breath, President and Prime Minister are torn in two between their duty as statesmen, and their love as parents.

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January 2024

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa 

Mornings in Jenin is a devastating novel of love and loss, war and oppression, and heartbreak and hope, spanning five countries and four generations of one of the most intractable conflicts of our lifetime.
 

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September 2023

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

 

The Guardian quotes “ that rare beast; a polished, funny, thought-provoking story wearing its research lightly but confidently and with sentences so stylishly turned it’s hard to believe it’s a debut “

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WI Book Group members' choices

 

The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce                      recommended by Rosemary and Jackie

 

Away with the penguins by Hazel Prior                                               recommended by Emma

 

Big lies, little lies by Liane Moriarty                                                     recommended by Dora

 

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony                                  recommended by Stella

 

Landlines by Raynor Winn                                                                   recommended by Joyce

 

Fried green tomatoes at the Whistletop Cafe by Fannie Flagg            recommended by Vicki

 

Mixed Fancies by Brenda Blethyn                                                       recommended by Enid

 

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason                                                         recommended by Margaret

 

Still Life by Sarah Winman A Room with a View by E M Forster         recommended by Caroline

 

Winter Soltice by Rosamunde Pilcher                                                 recoomended by Yvonne                      

 

A week in Paris by Rachel Hore                                                          recommended by Tessa

 

The one hundred years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Croni        recommended by Judith

At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?

March 2023 A Man called Ove
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May 2023 A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW  BY AMOR TOWLES


This is a “supremely uplifting book, elegant, witty and delightful…..much like the Count himself. We were all charmed by the Count and despite this being a novel with a somewhat fantastical premise set half a century ago in a country very different from our own, yet we still thought the book was very relevant today.

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Athens, 1941. Nazi forces occupy Greece ... and a nation falls apart. Those who are Loved takes you into the darker days of Greek history and, through the eyes of its extraordinary heroine, illuminates the courage it takes to live in peace.

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January  2023 -  Educated by Tara Westover

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Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate until she was nine years old.

At sixteen, to escape her father's radicalism and a violent older brother, Tara left home. What followed was a struggle for self-invention, a journey that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

September 2022 - Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. 

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July 2022  - Plot 29 by Allen Jenkins

As a young boy in 1960s Plymouth, Allan Jenkins and his brother, Christopher, were rescued from their care home and fostered by an elderly couple. There, the brothers started to grow flowers in their riverside cottage. The solace he found in tending a small London allotment echoed the childhood moments when he grew nasturtiums from seed.

Examining the truths and untruths that he’d been told, he discovers the secrets to why the two boys were in care. What emerges is a vivid portrait of the violence and neglect that lay at the heart of his family.

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May 2022 - The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

A powerful and extraordinary novel about the unlikely friendship between two exceptional women during the last years of slavery in the US.

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March 2022 - And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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January 2022 - The Ambassador's Wife by Jennifer Steil

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November 2021 - The Children Act by Ian McEwan

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September 2021 - Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

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July 2021 - Old Filth by Jane Gardam

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