5 Irresistible Reads for Your Weekend

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From the famed Bloomsbury set to tales of betrayal, brutality of war and multi-generational riffs to romantic love lost and found again, these books are perfect companions for a long, lazy weekend of reading


THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Doubleday) by Paula Hawkins

This romantic thriller from Paula Hawkins debuted at the top spot on the New York Times Best Seller List, a feat unmatched by any novel in a decade. The book, widely compared to Gone Girl, looks at the dark side of love and how menace can lurk beneath the surface of the most everyday situations. Set in suburban London, the story follows Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who is prone to imbibing cans of G&Ts on her commuter train, drunk-dialing her ex and the occasional black out. Not helping is the fact her train takes her directly past her old home on Blenheim Road, where her ex-husband now lives with his new wife. But melancholy and voyeurism turn into something more dangerous when she sees something amiss in her old neighbourhood. No longer a mere observer, she is drawn into the investigation of a woman gone missing and long-buried truths about her own marriage.

 THE MARRIAGE GAME: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I (Random House) by Alison Weir

It’s one of the most scandalous and written-about affairs in royal history: the romance between the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth I and her favourite, Lord Robert Dudley. Crowned at age 25, Elizabeth must not only master political intrigues and issues of state, but also her male counselors who believe women aren’t suited to rule. Elizabeth deftly fends off pressure to make an advantageous marriage and produce an heir, while behind closed doors, the charming Lord Robert quietly claims her heart. Alison Weir puts her spin on these famous lovers and the age-old question: Did they or didn’t they?

VANESSA AND HER SISTER (Penguin) by Priya Parmar

This new sizzling saga about the Bloomsbury set provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of the famous sisters Virginia Wolf and Vanessa Bell, and their charmed circle of artists and intellectuals, including E.M. Forster, Rupert Brook, and Maynard Keynes, among others. The novel, told primarily through the fictional diary of Vanessa, follows the glittery champagne-inspired antics of young, single bohemians in pre-World War I London. But it’s mostly the story of two extraordinary sisters, the painter and the writer, and their complex attachment to one another.

A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD (Penguin) by Anne Tyler

As in many of Anne Tyler’s books, marriage and family life takes center stage in the appropriately titled A Spool of Blue Thread. Domestic drama and discord prevail in this multi-generational tale that unfolds in the Baltimore home of seventy-somethings Abby and Red Whitshank. The joys and disappointments of mature love, the pangs of ageing, and the secrets families keep are all fodder for this engaging examination of the nature of family.

THE NIGHTINGALE (St. Martin’s Press) by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale follows two sisters, ordinary French women, caught up in the struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied, war-torn France. When her husband departs for the front lines, Vianne, is forced to make one impossible choice after another just to keep her family alive. Her rebellious younger sister, Isabelle, meanwhile, joins the Resistance, risking her life time and again to save others. It’s a big, sweeping, and ultimately unforgettable, story of the Second World War – the women’s war.